My favourite memory

is a day that I spent with my grandmother, Adelaide. She lived in Auckland and had come to stay with us in Palmerston North for a little while. While she was with us she passed away, but I am so grateful for the time I spent with her. During the last day we spent together I realised that she wasn't just an old woman with a quiet life. She had stories and a life full of happiness. We talked about everything, including the time she watched through the curtain as her neighbour's tyres were being stolen and how she thought it was hilarious.

I recently played at a conference on Hamilton Island in Australia. They asked me if I would be comfortable performing on the back of a truck. Sounds harmless, right? The truck was decked out with the most colourful flashing lights I've ever seen - imagine a strobing rainbow. I sat on a chair that was strapped to the floor of the truck. The plan was to take it through the resort, meet the guests and then they would follow me into town, walking on the road while I played some tunes. The speed limit is 20km over there, so they got a few songs out of me. People were drinking, the firetruck was sounding its siren, guests in golf carts followed the truck. It really was a hilarious situation. I can now say that I've done a show looking like a flashing Christmas tree on a small island.

When I was 5 I had a rat's tail and after that I had long hair for a good 10 years. I got mistaken for a girl a lot at intermediate. I decided to cut it because all my friends were using gel and I wanted to be cool and spike up my hair.


I got into trouble a little bit at school, mainly for being a "distraction" to others. Letters were sent home about me wearing socks and sandals. I was put into the withdrawal room at high school for wrapping a hose around the rails of a staircase and then switching the tap on. But I did pass all my levels, so I did learn a few things in between.

My most difficult time was when my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer. It was pretty hard seeing your hero being brought down by something so deadly. She was very weak and fragile and had to have a lot of chemo and radiation treatment. She's all better now though. My love goes out to all the families that have dealt with or are dealing with cancer. It's such a hard time and all you can do is support and love with your whole heart.

I'm not a huge fan of wasabi. When I was around 13 years old my brother gave me a teaspoon of it. He said, "Here try this. It's candy apple lollie mixture."

Of course it burnt my tongue. So I've kinda avoided it ever since.

I stayed with a family on the outskirts of Edinburgh in 2011 through the Couchsurfing hospitality exchange. Little did I know that I was staying with an ex-convict who had just been released from prison. It was pretty much an apartment block of ex-criminals. When I arrived the place reeked of weed. They had a daughter who had autism and they couldn't figure out why she kept trying to climb the walls.

Seeing my mum and dad get married was one of the happiest moments of my life. They got married in Rarotonga (which has to be one of my favourite places) and my whole family was there. I was my father's best man and we both wore kilts.

I'd really hate it if someone caught me walking around the house in bare feet. I tiptoe for some reason.

Benny Tipene's album, Bricks, is out now. It is the 24-year-old singer-songwriter's debut album, after finishing third in the New Zealand series of The X Factor last year.