Her music speaks for itself - indie-pop, eclectic, and a worldwide smash; but there's something more intriguing about singer-songwriter Benee - born Stella Rose Bennett - than that and her whirlwind rise to fame.
And that's since releasing her debut album titled Hey U X 18 months ago, the 21-year-old Aucklander, who is performing in Tauranga on August 20 as part of an eight-stop regional Aotearoa Tour; says she's more sensitive in her work and to public perception.
"With every bit of music I release, I just become a little bit more sensitive," she says, adding something else fans might be surprised to learn is that she battles with anxiety.
Having also previously revealed she has dyslexia, Benee likes to think she can inspire other creatives wrestling with insecurities to chase their dreams.
Her hit single Supalonely has raked in more than 2.5 billion streams worldwide and Elton John declared it music's "next global smash," which was "surreal" and "the weirdest thing ever", she says.
"I did not kind of ever imagine that that would happen."
She was just 19 when Supalonely blew up on TikTok, recalling it as "a bit weird" when people started following and subscribing to her social media pages, then dropping off when the hype ended.
"It's nice to know I did have a solid, loyal group of people who were there from the start, and found me from my first EP [Fire on Marzz, 2019].
"It's nice to know Supalonely wasn't the first song that I ever released, and went viral."
Since Supalonely, she has appeared on television overseas, including in the United States, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
She was judged an Apple Music Up Next artist and an MTV Push artist, and was nominated as a Best New Artist by MTV's VMAs and EMAs as well as E!'s People's Choice Awards; named on Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2021 list; not to mention the winner of the APRA Silver Scroll and eight Music Award Tuis.
When we came out of Covid-lockdown last year, she kicked off a sold-out headlining tour across the country. That concluded with two shows at Auckland's 12,000-capacity Spark Arena.
Now, embarking on a regional tour accompanied by her support band, she'll play some new songs for fans; surprise them with a new stage layout; and is in the midst of outfit planning with Kiwi stylist Zara Mirkin, who lives in New York.
She loves fashion, and for our interview over Zoom, wore an oversized fluffy jumper and several oversized jewelled rings.
Having only ever spent "a little bit of time" in Tauranga, Benee is looking forward to exploring the city's "good spots" with the help of her bass player and Tauranga-local Dylan Clark.
"I was there for New Year's when I was 15," she recalls of the city.
Asked if it was memorable, she smiles sheepishly: "Ah, you know, kind of. Yeah, it was fun."
She then muses: "I've definitely passed through Tauranga a couple of times [since then]. My ex-boyfriend, he's from Gisborne, that's why."
As a side note, she's currently single.
"I broke up with my other boyfriend last weekend ... I'm not looking for anything for a very long time."
Emotions, particularly those that come with relationships, make for good songwriting.
Fame, however, doesn't come so easily.
"Fans probably don't know how anxious I get when I'm out and doing anything.
"I can't go to a shop by myself. That's a fun fact.
"It's weird, because I was kind of anxious before, anyway. I'm not sure why."
Asked if she's sought guidance on handling fame from other artists, she says no, but has exchanged text messages with Lorde, real name Ella Yelich-O'Connor, who likewise had a meteoric rise to stardom.
"She was like: 'If you need any advice or whatever', she's happy to talk to me, which was really lovely.
"It's just nice to have people reach out who know exactly what it's like."
No matter how anxious she gets though, Benee insists she loves meeting her fans.
"I love when people come up to me, it's always nice.
"It can be weird when you're eating dinner at a restaurant, but, I mean, I know what it's like to see an artist that you love and want to go up to them.
"You really feel like you've missed out on something massive when you don't, so I can respect their confidence."
Confidence is something she exudes whilst in "Benee mode", but recently went "bright red" as Stella, reading a speech at her friend's 21st birthday party.
"I've found a new kind of confidence on stage, compared to when I'm in a room of 20 people that I have to talk in front of.
"It's so different, and you wouldn't think it'd be that different.
"What I've found with the whole music thing, is if you're making stuff that you love, that is honest, you just have to release it and not care, and not think about it too much.
"[But] when you're out, you do have to think about what you're doing.
"People do take photos of you when you're not looking. If I'm out at a club, someone's going to be recording me from the other side of the room. You just have to think about more things. I guess it's just part of it."
Benee only started to look at performing professionally when she was in her late teens.
At the time, she was working to get a communications degree from the Auckland University of Technology.
She told Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year: "I knew I wanted to do something in the creative industry, but I wasn't 100 per cent on anything. I came home on the Friday of my second week and had a meltdown. I just cried to my parents, and they basically told me to focus on the music and give it a solid shot. That's when it clicked."
One of two children (she has a brother Ollie, 18), mum Tania is now her personal assistant, and dad Ian helps out too.
New music is, initially, only played to her parents and her manager.
"I feel like I try to play it to as few people as possible, and close off anything for anyone to put any input into it."
She describes her style as "indie-pop but I do like to keep it quite eclectic".
"Genre blending is definitely something that I kind of try to do a lot," adding she does most of her songwriting at home and some at Golden Age Studio in Auckland, where she'll sit, make a beat, then spend 45 minutes writing lyrics and recording.
What's next for Benee in 2021, is making use of the travel bubble with Australia.
"I'd really like to get out and do some travelling, and obviously hoping to play some shows - probably more like next year for other parts of the world," she says, adding while last year would have been a great time to tour, all artists are on a level playing field with Covid restrictions.
She's also recently launched a female-run record label called Olive. She launched the company with the signing of fellow Kiwi artist and friend Muroki, who's also featured on her song All the Time. And she's currently in the process of signing a second artist.
She enjoys A&R work, promoting and raving about undetected artists.
Fame for down-to-earth Benee is not just about what it does for her, but what she can then do for others.
"I feel like the whole music industry for artists is a big thing of boosting one another," she says.
"Elton [John] put me in front of a bunch of people, and every artist who shares your music on social media is putting you in front of more people. So, it's all the same, you know?"
Benee is coming to Tauranga on August 20 at Trustpower Arena, supported by the opening act There's a Tuesday.
Tickets start from $49.90 and VIP experiences from $139.90.
For complete tour, ticket, and VIP information, visit Benee's website and livenation.co.nz.