Now, the song (which features Gus Dapperton) is enjoying an 11-week run on the Billboard Hot 100, recently reaching No. 39. “It’s been pretty insane, “says BENEE, who has watched the track take off on TikTok and U.S. radio over the past few months. “I was like, ‘What the heck is happening?’”
Growing up in Auckland, BENEE (born Stella Rose Bennett) played classical guitar and saxophone while singing in the school choir. By the end of high school, she was recording covers of artists like Gnarls Barkley and sharing them online for fun among friends.
To her surprise, she caught the attention of her now-manager Paul McKessar and producer Josh Fountain, who frequent Lorde collaborator Joel Little chose to take over his Auckland recording studio. In December 2017, BENEE released her first team-up with Fountain, the sultry "Tough Guy.” “That was when I knew that music was something I wanted to at least try out," she says, "and then I figured out what music I wanted to make.”
By 2018, the record labels were circling. When McKessar told BENEE there was interest from multiple labels, “that was the best thing I could possibly hear, because it meant I could quit my other jobs” -- making pizzas and washing dishes -- “and only do music. That was something I didn't really think would happen,” she says.
Among the labels eager to meet with her was Republic Records, whose A&R manager, Daniel Vayness, got in touch with McKessar. Republic flew McKessar, BENEE and her mom to New York City for a meeting, and the singer recalls being impressed by the straightforward approach from the label’s executive vice president, Rob Stevenson. “They were super honest with me -- they threw me into the deep end and Rob gave me no bulls--t,” BENEE says. “I like when people are super straight up, to the point where it could be a little bit scary.” Thrilled to share a label home with powerful female superstars like Ariana Grande in particular, BENEE signed a recording contract with Republic in early 2019.
By that June, the bubbly Fire On Marzz EP -- BENEE's first release with Republic -- enjoyed press attention from outlets back home. But it was her second EP, Stella & Steve, released at the end of 2019, that caught on stateside thanks in large part to “Supalonely.”