She’s a baddie and a showstopper.
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If you ask anyone the song that was their quarantine national anthem, BENEE (pronounced Binny) Supalonely would be a top answer. Supalonely brought the 23-year-old to international stardom after it gained popularity through TikTok in early 2020. This was followed up by her acclaimed debut album hey u x in November 2020. The track, along with her stable of other fan favorites, was what she performed at her Coachella debut at the Mojave Stage.
A significant life event that shaped the person BENEE is today, she had a simple response to it. “Having quite a switch in my life before I was doing music and now doing music full-time,” BENEE tells NYLON Manila. Even as a full-time musician listened to by people all over the world, the New Zealand singer still keeps close to her roots, such as still owning the green Honda that was passed down by her grandmother. It’s this Honda that served as the inspiration for the title of her new song which opens the curtain for BENEE’s new musical chapter.
THE NEW ALBUM
Green Honda came together to have the right production and energy for it. The lyrics boldly state, To tell you that I don’t want ya // I’m having all these guys over // A baddie now, a showstopper. The empowering lyrics signify that BENEE is over that person and has no regrets. The backstory on the green Honda she still owns is a Honda Integra DC2 named Steve, a familiar sight to some as he’s on the cover of her 2nd EP, Stella & Steve.
While she stayed mum on when the new album was coming, BENEE did make it clear that she was in the thick of making it. “I do like the idea of making [my album] cohesive that the previous work I’ve done,” she commented, as she’s inclined to put something random. “I’m still trying to figure that part out but once I have more songs together, I’ll be able to kind of figure out what the story is being told.” She jokingly adds, “The main stuff would be like heartbreak, heartbreak, and more heartbreak.”
Breakups rarely make for a bad theme for music, not only because it is relatable, but also because it can serve as a way to channel that grief. “I try to think about it as a process of healing.” To further add what BENEE says, “I love a good cry… Like a cry in your room and you release that as you think ‘Okay I can get sh** done.’” It can feel a bit strange sharing your heartbreak through songwriting. At the same time, it can preoccupy your thoughts with understanding and comfort.
As mentioned earlier, she’s inclined to put her music together on whatever fits her album. Instead of focusing her music on a specific genre or mood, she goes by energy. “For me, it’s keeping fun and energy in the music I make—I just love experimenting,” BENEE explains.
Speaking about her Coachella debut, which included a guest appearance from Gus Dapperton, BENEE felt good about her performance. “The sound was good, the band was good, and we had no technical difficulties which sometimes can happen.” Aside from playing her classic hits, she introduced two new songs that she played for the first time: Sports Mode and Rollercoaster. She admits she’s not the greatest dancer but had the time of her life busting dance moves on stage.
“When you’re a child, you look at it as a curse. As you grow older, it’s a strength” said BENEE, who has dyslexia. Being the visual learner that she is, her dyslexia isn’t a hindrance to her music career. “I’m happy that it means that I learn things in other ways. For creatives [like me], we all have little quirks that make us stand out.”
In early 2021, she was diagnosed with OCD and used her song, Doesn’t Matter, to discuss it. But while she has faced her fair share of struggles with the diagnosis, that doesn’t mean she’s letting it bog her down. She can also take heed of the fact that other artists in music share her story. “It’s not uncommon that you meet another artist who has OCD or [someone with a disability].”
This honesty and her other heartfelt reflections told through dreamy alt-pop mixes is exactly why BENEE is loved by so many. The Gen Z artist is living her life, one mile on her green Honda at a time. As fans await a new album coming soon, the New Zealand Native continues to unapologetically be herself. With eye-catching music videos to experimental music styles of electro-pop and alternative rock, she’s the one to keep an eye on.
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