Vi·sion·ar·y - as defined by Google - is a (noun) person with original ideas who plans the future with imagination or wisdom. With both traits in abundance well beyond her 19 years, New Zealand’s BENEE redefines the word.
“I have what’s called my BENEEvision,” says the Auckland born singer. “It’s the idea that all of my music, visuals and content contribute to a greater artwork. Right now, I have a blank canvas. I want to pick different mediums, smash them all together through music and physical art, and collaborate with as many different creatives as possible. I use the example of a Jackson Pollock painting.”
Layer upon layer, BENEE’s art takes shape. Carving out a space between indie pop and R&B, she deconstructs modern “pop music” to create a sonic landscape all her own.
Citing genre-bending artists such as James Blake as points of inspiration, she conceptualizes diverse soundscapes and lyrical narratives by sourcing diverse material such as funk bass lines and Arabic scales.
“I like the flexibility to cross genres,” says BENEE, “To have the creative space to mix it up and not be confined to one sound.”
Growing up in suburban Auckland, New Zealand among a community of creatives, BENEE was immersed in the arts from a young age when she learned to sing and play the guitar and saxophone.
After releasing a series of covers on SoundCloud she produced on GarageBand, BENEE caught the ear of seasoned producer Josh Fountain and soon began writing and recording at Golden Age Studios her senior year of high school.
Just two weeks after enrolling in university, BENEE dropped out with a now unstoppable and feverish conviction to pursue music full-time. Working two jobs in the interim, as a dishwasher and a pizza chef, BENEE sank her teeth into honing her craft.
Finding a way to maintain cool kid street appeal whilst presenting a seasoned sense of sophistication through the mature and velvet quality of her voice, BENEE paves her own lane through the ‘BENEEvision.’
After releasing her single “Soaked” in 2018, the vision immediately hit home.
“Soaked” climbed Spotify’s Viral Charts streaming over 13 million times, charted on Australia’s Triple J radio Hot 100 and New Zealand’s Shazam Top 100, and was certified Gold in New Zealand & Australia. With endorsements like Zane Lowe and Apple’s Beats 1 radio, BENEE went from playing her first small club gig to her first arena show (opening for longtime role model Lily Allen) in a matter of months.
Inking a deal with Republic Records in early 2019, BENEE now prepares for the world-wide release of her debut EP written and produced alongside collaborators Djeisan Suskov and Josh Fountain featuring “Soaked” and her forthcoming effort “Evil Spider.”
With her direction at the forefront, the young artist is dedicated to staying true to her herself through every aspect of the project. “With the media and societal expectations there is this kind of image that people want to see,” says BENEE. “For me, I never want to be something that I’m not or something that I don’t want to be. I want the whole BENEE project to be my artistic truth.”
Shining through every detail, BENEE’s truth is unmistakable. Employing vulnerability as her strength, she’s unafraid to be outspoken and maintains a relentless pursuit for authenticity.
“I want to be a powerful, strong woman who people can look up to,” says BENEE. “I want to be honest, and I want to be myself.”
Well beyond her teenage rumination, BENEE foresees her future. And the future is bright.