Stella Rose Bennett, who records as BENEE, grew up in Auckland, New Zealand on a steady diet of downer Soundcloud rap, James Blake breakup hymns, and artists who valued experimentation like Bjork, Groove Armada, and Radiohead, which her parents exposed her to at an early age. It was this boundaryless existence that planted the seeds for the songs she now makes, and set her up for a career in music, even if she didn’t know it at the time.
Hey u x is a fascinating album that exists in two opposing eras of modern society: the (relatively) carefree pre-pandemic era, and the post COVID world, where lockdowns and intense isolation are now a regular part of life. Each of the songs on the album offer up a discrete universe of heartbreak, loneliness, and personal growth, shot back to the listener as quiet communiques. “I’m writing music for one human listening to the music,” Bennett says. “I want them to feel as connected as they can to my mind. Like a message that you send to a friend.”