Pop Star Benee Will Embark On A Sublime Orchestral Crossover

What can you expect from Benee’s upcoming orchestra shows with the APO and NZSO? Even she’s not entirely sure


Benee, aka Stella Bennett. Photo / Frances Carter

Benee’s fizzing. A mere hour before calling, she’d dropped the huge news that she’d be teaming up with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) for two shows in Auckland and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) for another two shows in Wellington.

Even for someone renowned for being bubbly and high energy, her enthusiasm this morning is in overdrive.

“I’m super stoked,” she beams. “I feel like this is a pretty big one for me. It’s going to be so different from any live performance I’ve ever done, obviously, because there’s, like, 66 other musicians that I’m going to have to work with, which will be interesting. But I’ve been talking about wanting to go and watch the orchestra play for, like, two years so I’m now so stoked that it’s me playing.”

Why watch when you can be onstage, right? “Exactly!” she laughs.

These orchestral crossover shows can comfortably be called a big deal.

READ: Rising Star Benee Takes Her Subversive Pop Music To The Next Level

For artists it’s a once-in-a-lifetime honour to have their catalogue reimagined and repurposed to accommodate the full sonic force of an orchestra while for their audience the unique nature of these events ensures they become treasured memories.

As we speak the acclaimed composer Claire Cowan, who is sort of the Benee of NZ’s composition scene, is working on the orchestral scores and arrangements of Benee’s hits Glitter, Soaked and, of course, Supalonely.

So while Benee’s clearly amped, at this early stage there’s not much she can tell us aside from that she wants the evenings to feel dramatic and have a “James Bond-y” vibe.

“I have no idea about anything at the moment,” she says. “I’m hearing the first draft of everything next week, which is going to be exciting. I’m excited to hear my songs differently.”

THROWBACK: The Rise & Rise Of New Zealand Pop Sensation Benee

For Benee these aren’t just shows. They’re a milestone.

“Totally, totally, totally, totally!” she emphasises. “This is the stuff that makes me emotional. Playing ‘You Are Us Aroha Nui — A Concert for Christchurch’ and appearing on Waiata / Anthems… these things. Everything’s great but these things really mean more to me.” Then grinning, she adds, “It’s gonna be sick.”

Benee plays with the APO on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 September at the Auckland Town Hall. Tickets on sale this Friday.

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New Zealand Herald

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