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Benee's Supalonely resonates with people under quarantine

Pop singer Benee's disco-tinged Supalonely sparked off a TikTok dance craze, including one featuring a hamster seemingly dancing to the song.
Pop singer Benee's disco-tinged Supalonely sparked off a TikTok dance craze, including one featuring a hamster seemingly dancing to the song.PHOTO: IMOGEN WILSON/UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE

The world is catching on to the catchy pop tunes of Auckland-born singer Benee, thanks to the hit song Supalonely.

The 20-year-old, who released debut single Tough Guy in 2017, is one of New Zealand's rising music stars.

She won four prizes at last year's New Zealand Music Awards, including for Best Solo Artist and Best Pop Artist.

Growing up in a musical family, she picked up the saxophone and guitar at the age of eight.

"It was always kind of a fantasy idea for me," she says of making music full time after dropping out of university. "I didn't think I'd make it because, you know, New Zealand is so small and there are so many people in the industry."

1 Her name is pronounced "Bee-nee"

Born Stella Rose Bennett, she previously used the stage name Bene, but added the extra "e" at the end as people kept mispronouncing it.

She also got tired of people sending her photos of eggs benedict - called "bene" in some cafes - especially as she does not eat eggs.

2 Her breakout single Supalonely is in Top 10 charts all over the world, including in Singapore

"It's insane," she says in a telephone interview from her home in Auckland, where she is staying in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "It has obviously never happened to me before."

The song, one of the tunes in her second EP Stella & Steve (2019) and featuring American singer Gus Dapperton, has since taken on a life of its own.

"It's so cool how it's opened doors to places that didn't previously know about my music."

3 Supalonely has become an anthem for many under quarantine

Benee says she originally wrote it as a break-up song as she was feeling low after the end of a relationship.

 
 

"Instead of making a kind of sad break-up song, I wanted to put a spin on it and be self-deprecating and poke fun at myself for being sad and lonely at the time.

"I think that's why it's resonating so well with everyone now because it is a weird time - a lot of people are probably feeling quite lonely."

4 Her song has sparked close to 10 million TikTok dance videos

 

The disco-tinged Supalonely sparked off a TikTok dance craze that has been done by stars such as singer-actress Jennifer Lopez.

But Benee's favourite TikTok video is one that features a hamster seemingly dancing to the song.

"We don't have hamsters in New Zealand, unfortunately, but I love animals," she says.

5 She has been working on new songs while under quarantine

She has been improving her guitar-playing and has come up with new songs on it.

She describes them as being somewhat mellow. "I've made a couple of quite slow ones with the guitar. I think being in isolation kind of brought out that chill, indie vibe."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2020, with the headline 'Benee's Supalonely resonates with people under quarantine'. Subscribe