Emerging from her mysterious past six months, BENE is set to perform her debut headline performance this Friday. The local teen released her debut single ‘Tough Guy’ late 2017, followed by a dreamy video for the track early this year. With both Sniffers and A Label Called Success plugs, her track ‘Tough Guy’ gained positive feedback from day one. This Friday she will perform live at Neck of the Woods, revealing her body of music, live stage presence and IRL attitude. We caught up with the Grey Lynn local to chat about where she's at.
The gig this Friday will be BENE’s debut headline performance, how are you feeling about it?
I’m pumped! The support so far has been unreal. I have an awesome, talented group of musicians playing with me and I love the intimacy of live performance. I can’t wait to give my supporters a raw, honest show and let them in on what I’ve been working on for the past eighteen months (:
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background? What are some of your earliest memories of music?
My family has always been really musical. My mum sings, and theatre also runs in the family so I’ve always loved the idea of getting up and performing. My first instrument was the saxophone which I played from primary to high school and I also learned guitar as a child. Growing up with a wide range of music allowed me to appreciate how music transcends so many boundaries ... musicians can be as crazy and creative as they like ... hopefully, there will always be someone, somewhere who appreciates what they're doing! Road trips always had music by artists like Aretha, James Brown, Radiohead, Beirut, Groove Armada and Bjork on repeat so I was encouraged from an early age to listen widely.
How did BENE come about?
It all started with a few Soundcloud covers. I put them out for a bunch of mates and the response that I got, not just from them but from other artists and industry people reaching out to me, really gave me the push to give music a solid go. It was always kinda just a fantasy idea for me, and just doing it I guess paid off. I want music to be the thing that drives my life. I find writing really comforting and a great emotional outlet. It helps me through difficult times. Because I love listening and relating to other people's music and lyrics so much It feels incredible to be able to make my own and have people respond to it positively.
Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the name BENE?
The search for the name was long and slightly painful as I needed something that stood out but was personal as well. So it’s simply just part of a nickname that I’ve always had spelt differently which is taken from my last name. Turns out it also means well and good in Latin which is kinda funky.
You released your debut track ‘Tough Guy’ at the end of last year, followed by the video in the new year. How did you feel about releasing your music and visuals, without playing shows yet?
I mean It was a pretty down-low release as no-one knew who I was. I felt pretty nervous as no-one had ever heard the song or any of my other music except for close family, my manager and my killer producer, Josh Fountain.
We are excited you asked RANDA to open for you this Friday. Locally, what musicians do you admire or listen to?
I’m so excited to see RANDA play live; he has some seriously cool beats! NZ is honestly filled with musical legends and it’d be hard for me to name just a few but some music peeps that I’ve been seriously loving lately are bands like Marlin's Dreaming, Jack Berry Band and Fat Freddy’s (always!). I’ve seen all of these bands live and it’s just the best thing in the world going and feeling fully satisfied afterwards, after hearing some mad song crafting skills with lyrics that speak to me. I’m also seriously into LEISURE and having worked with crazy skilled musicians from the band (Josh Fountain, Djeisan Suskov, and Jordan Arts). It’s so awesome that I’ve had the chance to collaborate with such talented musicians. I’ve also been really into Matthew Young’s music too … the list goes on ... there are too many. The NZ music community is seriously popping and they neeeeeeed to be heard by the whole world!
What's lined up for the rest of 2018?
Another song and music video are coming out a few weeks after the gig. I have another possible live performance at the end of the year … and I have a heap of songs I can’t wait to release.