During a time where a lot of creatives have had to hit the pause button on their careers, BENEE’s is taking off at rocket speed. With a whopping 23 million listeners on Spotify, thanks to the success of global smash hits ‘Glitter’ and ‘Supalonely’ exploding all over TikTok, the effortlessly cool Kiwi star’s fanbase is growing every second. Garnering a reputation for her delightfully quirky persona, abstract street-style, and whimsical pop hooks, BENEE is dedicated to staying authentically herself.
BENEE’s relentless pursuit for authenticity has seen her cut through all the noise and pave her own lane in the ever-evolving pop landscape. Adopting the term “BENEE-VISION,” everything she does contributes to a much larger cohesive body of work. Inspired by painter Jackson Pollock, BENEE’s ability to incorporate visual interpretations into her genre-defying sonic palette has seen this world begin to take shape. For the 20-year-old, it’s about more than just the music. From her lyrics and live performances to her EP artwork, merch, and music videos, what was once a blank canvas when the fresh-faced star first arrived on the scene, is now on its way to becoming a fully-fledged masterpiece.
BENEE is always on the lookout to collaborate with artists whose style fits into BENEE-VISION. She’s already sourced pieces from relatively unknown creatives on Instagram including @hotandsad for the ‘Evil Spider’ artwork, Shelley Botticelli on a t-shirt that you probably own, and Ricardo Cavalo for the cover of FIRE ON MARZZ. Whether it’s hand-drawn cartoons in her music videos, everything she encounters being a “Steve,” or lyrical imagery in the form of an evil spider, a monsta offering up a blueberry and a space girl turning into a flower, this otherworldly aesthetic all co-exists together in her BENEE-VISION universe. Because beyond her music that is never void of meaning or a greater purpose, she just wants something f*cking cool for people to look at.
What are three words that best describe “BENEEvision”?
Vast. Colourful. Unique.
You’ve added new layers of paint to what was once your BENEE-VISION blank canvas with the release of two stellar EPs. How does this world look now since the release of FIRE ON MARZZ and STELLA & STEVE?
MORE COLOURFUL! I like the idea of organised chaos & I feel like both of the EPs have definitely added to that!
Your work centres around playful motifs and metaphors using spiders, monsters, snails and space – will we see more of this in your upcoming music?
Yasss!!! I love playing around with weird themes (:
If you were a cartoon character which would you be?
How have you found working collaboratively with the artists who helped create your album artwork and merch, etc.?
I love collaborating! It’s awesome being able to work with someone and pull both of your ideas into making one work.
What inspires you visually? Is there a certain style of art, a place you’ve visited, or a particular movie you’ve watched, etc.?
I think I take inspo from pretty much everything around me that I see and hear! I think even things I look at and don’t like inspire my work in some kind of way! I think paintings and films definitely help to inspire the visual aspects of my work!
How important do you think music videos and album artwork is?
For me very important! I feel like they add so much to the work! They can show an entirely different side to your story & make your messages so much more powerful.
How do you come up with the ideas for your music videos treatments?
I often think in pictures when I’m writing the songs & they often inspire the video ideas I come up with! I make a lot of Pinterest boards then collaborate with directors!!
You’ve once said you find storytelling hard because of your dyslexia, does songwriting help you to convey these stories easier?
Definitely! I don’t always have to be linear. I’ve found this new world with songwriting where I can literally do anything and I can’t “get it wrong” as I could with writing in school.
There’s no doubt your stages will only be getting bigger. Have you thought about how you will incorporate more visual elements and production into your live performances?
Yes I have (::: I love the idea of having a full blown lights and visual show! I think definitely just amping everything up is what I’m going for. I want crazy lights & I’ve recently added a graphic video that plays at my shows!
You’ve gained a lot of traction online and via streaming in such a short amount of time – do you ever think about how these new fans will understand BENEE-VISION?
I think if people like the music I would hope that they would listen to more of it & try to find out more about me! At least that’s what I do when I find music I love.