Back in the 1980s, American singer-songwriter, Madonna Louise Ciccone launched herself onto the music scene calling herself simply ‘Madonna’. With the solo name, she went onto become one of the most successful singers of the late 20th century and was crowned ‘Queen of Pop’ after a succession of top selling albums. Since then, a number of singers have adopted a single name and have risen to the top of the pop world, Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, Eminem to name a few.

Following this solo name idea, Kiwi teenage singer-songwriter, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor for obvious reasons, decided on a shorter stage name and came up with ‘Lorde’. She went onto become an international sensation winning a number of awards to reach the status of a top performer doing two world tours between 2013 and 2018.

Benee (

Now, another young Kiwi singer-songwriter is following in the footsteps of Lorde and is making waves internationally. Stella Rose Bennett has chosen the solo name ‘Benee’ and has already recorded two EPs and some successful singles. She is currently developing a new album and has a tour planned when the world re-opens to travel. Her bright, breezy songs have resulted in her receiving Single of the Year, Best Breakthrough Artist, Best Pop Artist and Best Solo Artist awards at the last New Zealand Music Awards.


Benee’s single Superlonely from her EP Stella and Steve went platinum and was the song that propelled her to stardom. According to New Music Express, the song resulted in 5.8 billion views on Tik Tok with 8 million videos being uploaded to the app as a result of her own Superlonely video. She performed it live on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the USA. She even impressed Elton John when he interviewed her on the Apple Music Radio Show in May. Her eye-catching video for Glitter has just under 9 million views. From there, her catchy, breezy, low budget Superlonely You Tube vid has had a staggering109, 580,189 views at time of writing.

Benee wrote Superlonely when she was in Los Angeles and experiencing life in the international music scene for the first time. The popularity of the song brought her to the attention of another Kiwi. Zane Lowe is the Creative Director of Apple Music Global and asked the young fellow Kiwi to appear on the influential monthly music programme. Khalid and British songstress Billie Eilish (thank goodness Benee’s songs are not as depressing as those mumbled by Billie) had their careers boosted after appearing on this music programme.


New Zealanders have historically focused on the bleak and gloomy when it comes to entertainment. Just look at the majority of kiwi films made over the past 20 years. The over-riding themes have been loneliness, depression, violence, man-alone-against-the-world and mental isolation. These themes have also been evident in Kiwi songs. At last, Benee has broken away from this stuff. Not only are her songs bright, but her style of dress also reflects the bright side of life. She has not followed other Kiwi female artists with drab outfits, rather her clothing is urban chic with a mixture of eye appealing colours and designs. Harrah!!

I like her songs and am so pleased she is bringing some joy to the local (and international) music scene. With the world in a state of flux, people of all ages are seeking positive experiences to lift them out of the gloom that has descended at this time.

I’m confident, Benee will be up there with the likes of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry who have generally embraced upbeat songs and colourful clothing.

Ceidrik Heward

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