I STILL dislike those conversations: “When a person first finds out because you realise they need to adjust,” says Ben Westwood.

“I’ve had the conversations dozens and dozens and dozens of times.”

The University of Brighton Lecturer is referring to the moment he has to tell someone he’s a widower.

“I don’t like to call myself a widower, I hate the word. I see myself as a single dad, the fact is, as a widower you’ve lost somebody, as a father you have two people.”

Part of Ben's debut album is about young widowers and how they can get through their loss. The album is called Sing Like Your Life Depends On It and comes out on February 24.

It takes us through Ben’s life from finding love, to trauma and grief, and coming to terms with the tragedy and finding solace.

Ben, 40, hopes people will not only enjoy his music but find deeper meaning with it too: “I’ve always been affected by music that has more to say”.

He insists Adele’s 21 album had a huge influence on him in terms of raw emotion including others.

“I really got into the Beatles and John Lennon when I was a teenager and in his first solo album he expressed a lot of very deep rooted feelings about the loss of his mum.”

Ben studied music at undergraduate level but did not envisage himself making a career out of the industry and chose to continue his passion for writing.

He ended up doing a lot of student journalism where he found himself working at The Independent under BBC’s Andrew Marr.

After he graduated he chose to teach English abroad, as many of his peers had done the same.

“I didn’t want to just teach English in Spain, I was looking at South America or Asia and managed to get a job in Ecuador.”

Both at the tender age of 22, this is where he met his late wife Carolina and they hit it off almost immediately.

“We got married relatively quickly after meeting it was around eight months, it was quite a whirlwind romance really.”

He then returned to London to train as a journalist and worked at The Telegraph specialising in travel. In 2007 the pair chose to return to Ecuador and emigrated there, where he taught at University and wrote several travel guides of Ecuador and Peru.  

But in 2011 it all came crashing down.

In October 2011, Carolina was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ben said: “It was a massive shock and our kids were so young at the time, Jake was aged six and Isabella aged four. Often when young women have cancer it is a lot more aggressive.” She died in June 2013.

Ben had been writing music on and off before his wife’s death.

Ben said “I’d known Carolina for nearly 15 years, to lose somebody in that way and for your children to lose their mum, for me, that’s the hardest part of all of this.

“When Carolina was diagnosed I continued writing songs for her, one of which is on the album it’s called I Will Never Leave You.

He said: “But when she got really ill I stopped completely, we’re talking four years without writing a note.”

He said the start of the process came out of nowhere.

“The songs only started flowing out last year. The first one I wrote was I Miss You which is one of the most intense on the album and then I wrote Up Again. I wrote a song called Time Heal, Me which is all about trying to recover and hopefully over time you can heal.”

Ben describes how he came to find himself with all these songs and needed to find a way to piece them all together.

“I actually recorded 16 tracks in the space of about three months, half of which were older songs and half of which were new.

“By the time I had got all those songs I thought I’ve got to try and order this, it made sense to have one side of the album to be the songs I wrote before everything went wrong, the themes of nostalgia, love songs, family life, marriage and when you first meet someone, that first kind of excitement.”

Ben got some help from Stuart Epps who helped produce music for the likes of Elton John, Oasis and Led Zeppelin and helped produce We’ve Got It Made on the album.

Once finished he took a step back and waited a year to plan the launch of his debut album.

“I decided to take some time over planning how to launch it and I got in touch with quite a few different charities because I realised it would seem a bit strange to just launch an album and to try and carve myself out a music career talking about so many serious issues.”

He has selected Winston’s Wish and Widowed & Young to receive a share of the proceeds from the album sales.

Winston's Wish and Widowed and Young are charities which support children, young people and their families after the death of a parent or sibling.

Ben said: “Because it’s hard when you’re younger, young people don’t know how to relate to you. Whereas when your older it happens in your peer group, people lose someone. Those charities do some very important work.”

Ben will be performing in Eastbourne at Printer's Play House on February 25.

For more information on Ben’s album and about his life go to benwestwoodmusic.com.