Breakthrough Kiwi singer Benee has captured hearts around the world with her viral hit Supalonely, written as a response to the end of a relationship.
A singer’s job goes right to the heart as they try to capture the essence of an emotion, whether it is through their lyrics, their movements or the feelings they convey with their voice.
For Auckland-born Kiwi singer Benee – real name Stella Rose Bennett – all these facets of a singers craft merged in the creation of her international breakthrough release, a heartfelt anthem to loneliness called ‘Supalonely’.
Benee, who last year crooned her way to success with four NZ Music Awards – namely Single of The Year, Best Solo Artist, Best Breakthrough Artist and Best Pop Artist – spoke about ‘Supalonely’s emotional genesis and how she collaborated with songwriter Jenna Andrews and producer Josh Fountain to create the song on the latest edition of the ground-breaking music origin series, Beat x Beat.
“The inspiration behind ‘Supalonley’ was a breakup,” says the 20-year-old Benee. “I got to L.A. and I was going to be there for a month and I kinda broke up with my boyfriend like a week before going. And I was just feeling super lonely, and I got into a session [last year]with Josh and Jenna and we were like, ‘Let’s make a sad banger’.”
And that’s what the team did, laying down an initial studio version of the song in around six hours. But, skip forward to March this year, and on the night before a coronavirus lockdown and Benne decided the song needed a slower, more intimate feel.
“I just wanted to make it sort of sad and show, like, the mood that I was actually feeling when I was writing the song,” she says.
As it turns out, its that more intimate version that has now provided Benee with a song that not only went viral but established as a singer with both a global audience and limitless potential.
“Quite a few people did reach out in lockdown, messaging me, and sending me like videos of them dancing to my song and stuff. It was really cool to see how they kind of connected to the lyrics when they are kind of lonely, and sad, and stuck at home,” Benee recalls.
Benee says the experience helped sharpen her singing and musical instinct, and highlighted the need to listen to her own emotions when it comes to defining the pitch and tone of a song.
“It’s like a baby,” she says. “And you, like, you kind of put them out in the world and you have no idea what’s gonna happen to them. And then when good stuff happens to them, it’s kind of just, like, yeah. You go little thang. You do your little thang.”
The video is part of the Beat x Beat series, in which Beats reveals how some of the world’s biggest artists create their tracks. Other musicians featured in the series include Selena Gomez, Sampa the Great, Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Bad Bunny, Natanael Cano, Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, Disclosure, Ruel, Ali Gatie, Hamza, Kitschkrieg, Noah Cyrus, Rudimental, JJ Lin and Lu1.
Benee is also the latest musician and first New Zealand artist to join Apple Music’s roster of “Up Next” artists.
Launched back in 2017, Apple Music’s Up Next is a monthly initiative which is geared towards identifying, showcasing and elevating rising talent. Previous artists to be featured in the program include Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, Juice WRLD, 6lack, Daniel Caesar, Summer Walker, Tierra Whack, Koffee, Khalid, Don Toliver, Burna Boy and H.E.R.