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by Russell Baillie

Benee: New Queen of Quarantine

by Russell Baillie

Benee: New Queen of Quarantine

She may have had US and European tour plans disrupted by the global pandemic but Grey Lynn pop wunderkind Benee is still having an international breakthrough – and it may be that Covid-19 is helping.

Her song Supalonely (featuring Gus Dapperton) is climbing the Billboard Hot 100 and now sits at 62 after entering the chart three weeks ago. The Los Angeles Times has dubbed the song “a kind of quarantine anthem”. In an interview with the singer, it notes it has racked up more than 100 million streams on Spotify and Youtube, “a healthy percentage of which have no doubt come from people on lockdown over the past few weeks”.

However, the sunny, charmingly sweary track was written before the virus and inspired by a split with a boyfriend. The 20-year-old, born Stella Bennett, told the paper she can see why it is resonating now.

“I wrote it about my breakup, but now everyone’s relating it to being isolated and not being able to see their friends. I guess we’re all lonely bitches now.”

Benee and New York singer/songwriter Dapperton co-wrote the song with Benee’s Kiwi producer, Josh Fountain, and Canadian singer/songwriter Jenna Andrews. Fountain and Dapperton produced the track.

Like its late-2019 hit predecessor, Glitter, Supalonely has also been propelled by Tik Tok videos which have been used more than four million times on the app, reports People.com, the website of American celebrity magazine, People.

Those creating short dance sequences to the tune include Jennifer Lopez and family, who, along with Tik Toks by other stars on the platform have amassed some 30 million likes.

Another fan of the tune is Sir Elton John who, when he was in New Zealand in February had Benee as a guest on his locally recorded podcast, along with Six60’s Matiu Walters.

Supalonely by @beneemusic is my top tip for the next global smash,” he wrote on an Instagram pic of the two of them. “Love her and her music.”

“He just knows so much about music and it’s really interesting being able to talk to him about it,” she told People about the veteran star who has long championed new artists. “Growing up, I knew he was an icon, but my parents, they were like ‘Oh my God. This is actually insane’.”

Benee also featured last month in US pop industry bible Billboard, in its “Emerging Artists Spotlight”. The story noted that the song’s parent EP ‘Stella & Steve’, released by Universal subsidiary Republic Records in the US, had debuted at number 10 on the Billboard alternative albums chart and at number 2 on the heatseekers albums chart.

With her earlier homegrown hit, Soaked, Benee dominated last year’s NZ Music Awards, taking away four Tuis, including Single Of The Year and Breakthrough Artist. Benee was due to be touring the US this month and next before heading to Europe and the UK in late May for a country-hopping run of club and festival dates. Many of the shows have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic she is now helping to soundtrack.