Detroit native Derrick Benford grew up amid the rich tapestry of a musical family, absorbing the influences of multiple genres and the joy of appreciating melodies. Today, alongside a robust roster of academic achievements, he is blazing an innovative path, creating and playing his own groove-based compositions, while advocating for artists and music education.
Derrick earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business (with a Minor in Business Administration, with principle instrument study in jazz piano) from Wayne State University and has a Diploma in Avocational Music from Cass Technical High School.
He currently serves as Founder & Band Leader of Detroit-based band, UpFront, that meshes gospel, jazz, hip-hop and R&B. Derrick is also overseeing the group’s debut album “Upfront - Realized.” In addition, he is the Musical Director for the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ecorse, Michigan, a member of the Gene Dunlap Band where he composes & plays piano and is a former member of The Brandon William’s Experiment.
Among musical honors, Derrick’s composition “The Year Everything Changed” was selected and performed by the Wayne State University’s renowned Jazztet, and is a recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award.
As a pianist and composer, he has performed across the U.S., U.K., and Asia—working alongside the likes of Vassal Benford, Bobby Brown, Jaguar Wright, Brandon Williams, Denaun Porter, Mika Lett, Mike Powell, LRenee, George Clinton (P Funk), Lanar Brantly, Rayse Biggs and Marcus Belgrave.