At the 2019 New Zealand Music Awards the buzz was all about Benee. The teenage pop sensation scooped up four awards last night, representing a clean sweep, taking home best solo artist, best pop artist, best breakthrough artist and single of the year.

So in honour of the achievement we've put together this handy guide, to quickly fill you in on everything you need to know about Benee, as well as some stuff you didn't but is still fun anyway.

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First the name. Pronounced Benny, she originally went by Bene but found people didn't know how to pronounce it, so she recently added an extra 'e' to make it easier and to lose the association with a cafe brunch staple...

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Award winner Benee during the New Zealand Music Awards held at Spark Arena, Auckland. 14 November 2019 New Zealand Herald photogrh by Dean Purcell.
Award winner Benee during the New Zealand Music Awards held at Spark Arena, Auckland. 14 November 2019 New Zealand Herald photogrh by Dean Purcell.

"You don't know how many people have sent me photos of the chalk signs outside cafes with "BENE" in capital letters," she told the Herald's entertainment magazine, TimeOut. "I don't eat eggs."

Instead, it's just a nickname she had growing up based on her name Stella Bennett.

The 19-year old teenager burst onto the scene with her debut EP Fire on Marzz earlier this year, which won people over with the laid back pop-funk of its now award winning single Soaked.

The song's typically quirky music video, which features a raincoat clad Benee fizzing about on a jet boat, has racked up over half a million views on YouTube, while over on music streaming service Spotify its been spun over 12 million times.

She revealed in TimeOut that she dropped out of AUT after only two weeks, saying she'd had a "quarter life crisis" that left her "just bawling, crying my eyes out," before confiding in her mum.

Her mother proved fully supportive of her daughter's decision to concentrate on music fulltime, encouraging her to chase her dream.

"That was the best thing ever – I was like, 'f*** yeah I can do this, I'm going to do it.," she said. "Taking risks is the best thing ever, and that's what gets you anywhere."

She also told Billboard that she is dyslexic, when she was asked about her live show and the "odd storytelling" between songs.

"Honestly, I'm the worst storyteller ever. Like, I just take so long. I'm dyslexic, and I was reading that storytelling is actually [harder] with dyslexia, so I'm going to use that as an excuse," she joked.

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Her break came after posting four tracks on the music sharing platform Soundcloud. These caught the attention of producer and member of Leisure, Josh Fountain.

They worked together and released her first single, Tough Guy, which was quickly followed by Soaked and a spot on the Laneway Festival bill.

Benee also saw Soaked be nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award earlier this year, before her clean sweep at the VNZMAs last night.

She has just released a new EP titled Stella and Steve, featuring new single Find an Island.


Talking about the EP with Billboard magazine she said that she is the Stella of the title and Steve is... well, Steve is everyone/thing she encounters.

""I call everything Steve. Since I was little, I'd go on, like, holiday and call hermit crabs Steve," she said. "And I still do. I'll name a snail Steve. Everything is called Steve in my world. My car is also called Steve."

It is this car that she is standing on in the EP's artwork.

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