Benna

Benna

BandAlternative

With 3 recordings to her credit, Benna's aim is to keep making beautiful music while building her fan base. Covering a range of styles within the alternative-pop-rock genre, Benna is a musical explorer who's US tours have taken her to a spectrum of all-ages, coffeehouse and club crowds.

Biography

Described by the Village Voice as "an accomplished popster" with a "glow-in-the-dark voice," Benna's songs are one part confessional, one part observation and one part imagination.

Her first effort 'Tunnel Tunes' was released on her own label Undergirl Records in 1994, when she was performing regularly at the old Sin-e club in NYC and needed to sell something in response to the demand from fans. A collection of songs produced in a lo-fi, luscious style, the release caught the immediate attention of press and music lovers alike. CMJ Futures described 'Tunnel Tunes' as a "striking selection of musical works" and praised it's "alluring melodies".

Her next offering, 'Greetings From Port Authority' (Evil Teen, 1996), marked a new direction. Borrowing fellow musicians from NYC bands-- Alice Cohen (bass) from Die Monster Die, Greg Griffith from Vitapup (lead guitar and producing) and Garry Sullivan (drums), Benna let her new collection of songs come alive with a real band. The hi-lite of working with a band was getting to play a rare string of shows with Benna on electric guitar at a bunch of NYC and regional clubs including CBGB's. Seventeen Magazine enthusiastically praised the release as "Loaded with pop hooks;" and CMJ assured that "when it comes to infectious melodies, Benna's got them in spades."

After a couple of years of shows with and without a band, Benna was ready for a more challenging approach to production, and with an open mind, gravitated in a new direction without a net. One night, following a show at Fez, Benna met producer Louie Lino, friend of a friend, who took an immediate liking to Benna and her music. Offering to put some songs to tape, the two fused a new creative partnership that lasted a few years and resulted in Benna's third release 'What's Meant To Be' (Adult Swim Records).

At Lino's studio on Bleecker Street and Broadway, they created a lab of sorts, fleshing out ideas and going out on a limb creatively using drum loops and programming and indulging in synth lines and layered vocal tracks to create a lush production style to feed the imagination. Benna also loved making her contribution more thoroughly with electric guitar, bass and keyboards. The beauty of having such toys at their fingertips was the ability to take advantage of it when it fit and abandoning it when it just wasn't necessary, leaving some tracks stark with just a minimum of production and acoustic guitar and vocals. With this kind of philosophy, taking track by track as individual entities, 'What's Meant To Be' breathes easily and unpredictably.

Through Lino, Benna befriended Ira, Matthew and Daniel from Nada Surf, becoming mutual admirers. Ira lent his drums on a few tracks as did Paul Garisto (Psych Furs, Jesse Malin, Cantinero). If there was more time, the songs would have flowed even more seamlessly, but eventually, life's demands took over and the project was abandoned in the 11th hour.

With 14 songs in all, Benna contacted friend Jeff Nelson (Minor Threat) at dischord to catch up and let him know about the stuff she had for listening. Jeff and Benna became friendly over time after he caught her shows at Iota in Arlington, VA. Jeff loved what he heard and offered to put the songs out, as is, on his own boutique label Adult Swim, which had also put out early Girls vs. Boys. Working with someone like Nelson truly appealed to Benna, who was determined not to let the songs languish in obscurity; so in January, 2003, they released 'What's Meant To Be' on Adult Swim.

The Washington Post called Benna "a dyed-in-the-wool pop romantic, drawn to wistful reflections and sensuous ballads". Time Out DC said: "To call Benna a more talented and more incisive version of a classic 1970's songwriter (maybe Carol King?) would be to cheat her outright, but her work is possessed of such a timeless sense of beauty and insight that it's hard not to think big when considering her talent."

Embarking on a grand US tour, Benna looped the country all on her own with just acoustic guitar in hand. She hit the road with a furious kamikaze determination, playing all kinds of shows; from coffeehouses to all-ages to clubs and radio stations. She picked up new fans everywhere, promising to return and only wished there were 3 of her so she could tour the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast simultaneously!!

for video performance and other stuff visit:
http://www.benna.com/bmedia.html

Lyrics

Dreams I Say

Written By: Benna

When I go to sleep
and dream of things
I know not of
that don't add up

Is it all a game that I must play?
Is it all my life's a game to play?

In my sleep I dream
a world so cool
so familiar where
I'm nobody's fool

Do you see my dreams the way I say?
Do you see my life as dreams I say?

I can fly so high
Dreams will live in my eyes

I'm awake in ways
that seem so close
In a world so free
that I can hold

It's a crazy maze I bring to you
And I'm not afraid these dreams are true

Do you see my dreams the way I say?
Do you see my life as dreams I say?

All-Star

Written By: Benna

So long all-star tragedy
landslides
lead me now to roam
farewell from a phone
would you make me lie?
we just can’t get high

Calling from your balcony
drowning
in your sugar sweet
whispering defeat
you can play the jock
proud as a peacock

Sweet but not the same
wasted while I dream

I’m just doing what some girls do
spending all my time digging
and now I’m blue, I’m so blue
and I’m so through with your tragedies
and all-star attitudes

Only until everybody knows
then and only then I’ll crawl
through a million blows
snowball in your throws
time to catch the buzz
everybody does

Feel so under the gun
rain falls but I’ll catch the sun

What's Meant To Be

Written By: Benna

I guess I liked the way
you blew right by me, hey
but I didn't know back then
what's meant to be

And now some years gone by
I had to ask you why
if different worlds collide
what's meant to be

Why cry?
I doesn't pay to keep you on my mind
I'll fly so far away
you won't know how to find me

That's what I waited for
to find that open door
I took it all to mean
what's meant to be

Discography

What's Meant To Be (Adult Swim) 2003
Greetings From Port Authority (Evil Teen) 1996
Tunnel Tunes (UnderGirl) 1994

Set List

Set list is tailored to club/audience. ie, aggressive tunes (preferred), less aggressive tunes. Sets are usually 40 minutes, give or take depending on club, line-up. Up to maybe 10-12 songs per set . In some cases I do 2 sets or hour long sets. Not too many covers. A couple in the mill are Tears for Fears 'Mad World' and fellow songwriter Kevin Salem's 'Sleep', also 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again'.

Typical Song List for One Set:

Medicine
Arrive
Rocket
Unlisited
Never Come Back Again
The One For You
All-Star
The Last Time I Saw You
Dreams I Say
Simple Days

more songs in rotation:

Stay In Luv
What's Meant To Be
Goddess Of Getting By
Kiss You Before I Die
Half A Girl
Bloody Red
Little Bit More
Rocket
Luv U So
Margaret's Machine
Animal
Georgia's Book Of Flowers
Sailor Boy
The Lashes
Walk Away