Fresh of The Boat: BENEE – not your typical uni drop-out and pizza girl


Credit: Billboard

Yen Dang

Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, BENEE, AKA Stella Bennett, is ready for your ranting hours as well as your comfort hours no matter what the time zone is with her kaleidoscope of breezy and sun-soaked groove to the emotionally wrought and nostalgic sounds. So, whatever problem you are forced to deal with or so desperate to vent about, your girl BENEE is here for the tea.

Like any other restless and always-so-confused 19-years-olds around the corner, BENEE also hit that infamous rock-bottom of adolescence called “the quarter-life crisis” where girlie decided to drop out of college after barely two weeks in and went serving pizzas to make music (disclaimer: don’t really try this at home kids unless you’re pretty damn talented and positive about it…or not). Yet, it was through this messy period that the 19-years-old Auckland-born has finally found her vision in music.

Credit: NicheMusic

BENEE debuted with “Tough Guy” which basically calls out the well-guarded facades a lot of teenage guys, including the douches back in her high school, are putting up for everyone around them when really, under all of it, they are also made up of the same amount of sensitivity and insecurity as everyone else is. “Tough Guy” is different from a lot of her other songs as it carries this heavier feel of slow-tempo R&B, much like The Internet, compared to her newer releases, which does, in fact, deliver the matured message of the song in a closer proximity to her audience.

Though, the 19-years-old didn’t quite make it out there until the release of “Soaked” which beautifully showcases her uniquely quirky and sonorous voice over the earwormy instrumentals of alternative-indie pop with sprinkles of R&B and took the charts by storm. For this one, BENEE goes a bit deeper into her personal space, back to all those regrets of not saying what needed to be said or not doing what needed to be done at a pivotable moment. “Wishful Thinking” is another song which is created upon BENEE’s journey to digging back at her heartbreak then getting annoyingly clingy over that same old ex and regretting about it right after – something that all of us have done once or twice if not more before whether we like to admit or not.

This is the reason why BENEE’s music is just damn addictive: under the upbeat and peppy synth-licked pop music, it delves into the darkest corners of our minds and taunts us about our regrets, our shoulds and shouldn’ts, our could-haves and couldn’t-haves. And I personally think that BENEE and her songs are just about the right combo as the listener for your rants and the wake-up call for your quarter-life dilemmas.