Ben Sollee is a fascinating guy. Cellist, songwriter, composer, activist, virtual-reality-music-app-creator, cyclist (yes, he sometimes tours by bicycle) …we’re probably leaving something out. But you get it, he’s incredibly multi-talented and stays plenty busy.
When he’s at his Louisville abode, he’s also just Ben—husband, father and a genuine guy full of passion for his craft and love for his old Kentucky home.
We thought Ben would make a perfect fit to craft the soundtrack to videos around the launch of Cocoon™ by Sealy. Thankfully, he obliged us as we asked him to help us capture the emotion behind #myhappyplace—a comfortable bedroom, a place that is all yours, a retreat and refuge.
And of course, he nailed it.
We thought it’d be interesting to see how Ben and family go about creating their own happy space at home, all while adding an upgrade to a new king-sized Cocoon™ by Sealy mattress to the bedroom. Among their favorite features of the bed seemed to be the ability to move around without disturbing each other at night.
We were delighted to find that the Sollee residence is filled with all kinds of interesting family heirlooms and relics, pets, his wife Caitlin’s art and as you might expect, an incredible arsenal of musical instruments. It’s a beautiful space and a home in every sense of the word, and we were happy to spend some time chatting with Ben shortly after the arrival of the new bed.
What were your initial thoughts on the Cocoon by Sealy bed?
When our Cocoon by Sealy arrived at our house I was surprised at how small the package was for a King bed. I mean, I was prepared for a shrunken, vacuum-packed bed but geez, Cocoon by Sealy really gave it a tiny footprint.
Which feel (soft/firm) did you choose? Why?
Firm. That’s just how my family and me like our mattress.
What did you think after sleeping on it a few nights?
First of all, this was a huge upgrade for us Sollees. We still sleep communally and my son Oliver piles in almost every night with us. Having been in a Queen for years, the extra space (of a King) made a huge difference! After a couple of nights, we noticed that we were getting better sleep thanks to how the mattress mutes the movements of each person. Really enjoying the comfort of not being disturbed by bed neighbors rolling around. Plus, with my touring schedule, it was nice to be able to slip out of the bed without disturbing either Oliver or my wife.
What was it like to develop the soundtrack for the Cocoon by Sealy campaign launch? How did you interpret the idea of #myhappyplace?
Composing for the campaign was pretty satisfying. Creating a sense of security in the music was my starting point: feathery, plucked cellos with some warm, rooted bass tones. Then I tried to create an air of playfulness on top: light bells, taps, claps, and strummed guitar. Lastly, I layered what I think of as the sound of satisfaction: string pads! Of course, I’m a cellist, so maybe I’m biased. But it all seemed to come together to create a musical space that folks might want to hang out in for a while… just like their Cocoon by Sealy bed.
What kinds of things do you do to make your bedroom more comfortable?
My wife Caitlin is a visual and textile artist. I love having her art around on the walls and bed. And then have lots of artwork from other friends.
How would you describe your style?
Kentucky Urban. Natural fabrics and materials like wood and leather. Objects that have stories: old photographs, weird instruments, scraps of old textiles…
What are your 5 favorite pieces in your bedroom? Why?
I have an up-cycled PO Box door from that 1920’s art deco era that is a beautiful coin bank. An old walnut mirror my grandmother passed down to me. A pencil drawing by our artist friend Ming Hong. And, we have a growing collection of turtle objects. Turtles are kind of the Sollee spirit animal… we love them and often gift each other with neat sculptures and figurines of them.
What about your bedroom makes you happy?
Being there with my family. Feeling safe to be silly, intimate, bored, or contemplative.
How important is sleep for you? How does it affect your day-to-day?
Sleep is really important to me. Still, I sacrifice too much of it to travel, creativity and general FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I’m getting better though… it’s nice to have a comfy bed to sweeten the deal.
Morning person or night owl?
I’m totally a morning person. Ironically, most of my work happens late in to the evening.
What’s your morning routine like?
When I’m home I’m usually the first up. I sneak out of the bedroom to the kitchen to make coffee. One of the few rituals I maintain outside of music is my coffee making. Put the water on. Grind the beans in an old, turn-of-the-19th-century coffee mill. As I crank that by hand, all of our animals come to visit. First, our boxer Jude, then an ever-talking cat Chaley and then our youngest, Magma Cube, who gently walks his front paws up my leg to stretch out. I give him a rub behind his ear. Then I set up the pour over, which is a remarkable piece of pottery made in Berea, KY. As I’m slowly pouring the water I usually flip on NPR on my phone… predictable? Maybe. But that’s what routines are for.
Is your bedroom a creative space? Do you like to write music in the bedroom?
My bedroom is a very creative space. It’s rare for me to actually bring instruments in the room but I do make a lot of music in my mind. Especially in those moments between wake and sleep, morning and night.
You’re out on the road a lot, how does it feel to return to a comfortable home and bedroom? How important is that?
Home and family only become more precious as I travel. Distance, time away, and always being in motion means that when I’m home, in my bed, with my family snuggled up… I’m satisfied. I don’t feel the need to fly off to another place or adventure.
What tips would you give someone to make a bedroom their very own happy place?
Let the light in! Natural light is beautiful and does so much for your mood and health.
CONTENT RELFECTS BEN’S HONEST REACTION TO A BED PROVIDED BY COCOON BY SEALY.