Ben Lee

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Ben Lee
Ben Lee australia day live.jpg
Lee at the 2008 Australia Day Live Concert in Canberra
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Michael Lee
Born (1978-09-11) 11 September 1978 (age 42)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Indie pop
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, piano
Years active1993–present
Labels
Associated acts Noise Addict, The Bens, Gerling, Jessica Chapnik, Radnor and Lee
Website www.ben-lee.com

Benjamin Michael Lee (born 11 September 1978) is an Australian musician and actor. Lee began his career as a musician at the age of 14 with the Sydney band Noise Addict, but focused on his solo career when the band broke up in 1995. He appeared as the protagonist in the Australian film The Rage in Placid Lake (2003). [1] He has released eleven solo studio albums.

Contents

Career

Noise Addict

Lee's musical career began in 1993 with the band Noise Addict, who were signed to Steve Pavlovic's independent label Fellaheen Records, on the strength of a self-produced and distributed four-track demo recorded in Lee's bedroom. Pavlovic's connections brought the band to the attention of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Beastie Boys' Mike D, both of whom released the band's material in the US. The group put out several releases on the Beasties' Grand Royal Records.

These including the acoustic Young and Jaded EP in 1994, which contained Lee's Evan Dando tribute, "I Wish I Was Him". In 1995, Grand Royal released the band's only full-length album, the Brad Wood-produced Meet the Real You. Noise Addict made a music video for the song "16", toured with Sebadoh, but then broke up. Lee was also briefly a member of the alternative act Gerling. In 2009 Lee recorded a new Noise Addict album, It Was Never About the Audience, with a new lineup; Lou Barlow and Lara Meyerratken.

Solo career

Lee's solo career started at the age of 16, while he was still in Noise Addict. He began recording his first solo album, Grandpaw Would , in both Sydney and Chicago with producer Brad Wood. This was followed by the 1997 album, Something to Remember Me By , also produced by Wood. An alternate version of his song "Burn to Shine", produced by T-Bone Burnett, played over the end credits of the film Best Men . Lee was then featured on the There's Something About Mary soundtrack, with the song "How to Survive a Broken Heart". 1998's Breathing Tornados , released on Pavlovic's new label Modular, marked a new direction for Lee as he introduced synthesisers and increased instrumentation into his sound.

The album was a success in Australia, earning Lee ARIA Award nominations for Best Male Artist and Album of the Year. The album's first single, "Cigarettes Will Kill You", was also nominated for Single of the Year and finished second in that year's Triple J Hottest 100. In 2001, Lee contributed a track ("Sweet Is the Night") to a Jeff Lynne tribute album Lynne Me Your Ears .

Lee's fourth album, hey you. yes you. , was released in 2002. The first single from the album, "Something Borrowed, Something Blue", reached number 67 on the ARIA Charts and number 22 on the 2002's Triple J Hottest 100. The second single, "Running with Scissors", peaked at number 82 on the ARIA charts. In 2003, he also contributed several songs to the Evan Dando solo album Baby I'm Bored.

In late 2004, Lee left Steve Pavlovic's Modular Recordings and started his own record label, Ten Fingers. The first release on the label was the single, "Gamble Everything for Love", followed by the album, Awake Is the New Sleep in February 2005, which went double platinum in Australia. A defining release in his career, the album showcased a much brighter, positive side of Lee's personality, in contrast to his previous darker musings. Awake Is the New Sleep received several nominations for the 2005 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards, and Lee won Best Male Artist, Best Independent Release, and Single of the Year for "Catch My Disease", which Lee wrote with Mcgowan Southworth. "Catch My Disease" also went to No. 2 on the 2005 Triple J Hottest 100.

In addition, the song was featured on the soundtracks to the 2005 films Just Friends and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo , as well as the soundtracks to the television series, Grey's Anatomy , Hidden Palms and Scrubs . In 2006 it was used in a television commercial for Dell Computers. On 26 March 2006, Lee performed "We're All in This Together" from Awake Is the New Sleep at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The single for "We're All in This Together" was released on 8 April 2006. The CD includes cover versions of the song by Pony Up, Holidays on Ice and Gelbison. "We're All in This Together" is being used in commercials for Kohl's (2008), Coca-Cola (Remixed Australian Summer Series Ads in 2007), the South Australian Government (2006), the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal (2007) and Telus Mobility's "My Faves" (2007).

Lee released his sixth album, Ripe , on 18 September 2007 with Benji Madden and Mandy Moore making appearances. Mandy Moore sung a light-hearted, '50s style duet with Lee called "Birds and Bees". "Mandy was very sweet and did her best Olivia Newton-John for me. I'm really psyched about this recording," Lee says. Madden helped out with some backing vocals, along with US band Rooney and Sara Watkins from the band Nickel Creek. "American Television" from the album was used in a VH1 advertisement for Flavor of Love 3 and the song "Ripe" appeared in an episode of One Tree Hill (Season 5, episode 2).

In 2007, Lee performed a cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Our House" for Landmarks on The DL. [2]

In February 2009, Lee released his seventh studio album, The Rebirth of Venus , which received mixed reviews. [3] It featured guest performances from the likes of Missy Higgins and Patience Hodgson, and peaked at No.21 on the ARIA Charts. [4]

Lee's eighth studio album, Deeper into Dream , was released on 11 October 2011. It was Lee's first attempt at a concept album, basing the entire 12 tracks around the dream state. Despite not charting, [4] it was received fairly favourably by critics.

In April 2013, Lee released his ninth and arguably his most experimental studio album entitled Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work , [5] with collaboration from Jessica Chapnik. The album is based upon his personal experience with the psychoactive South American drug known as Ayahuasca. Lee featured as the mentor for Joel Madden's team on the 2013 season of The Voice Australia . [6]

In June 2015, Lee released his 10th solo album, Love Is the Great Rebellion , his first on a major label, Warner Bros. Records. [7]

According to Radio National's Geoff Wood, Lee invented the term "electro-yoga" to describe a new form of music dedicated to the practice of yoga. [8] Lee has since followed up this release with an acoustically-oriented album, entitled Freedom, Love and Recuperation of the Human Mind, in 2016; as well as a children's album, called Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam for the Whole Family, in 2017. Together with former How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor, Lee formed an indie-folk duo called Radnor and Lee, and released their debut self-titled album in November 2017.

2018 saw the release of B Is for Beer , a soundtrack to the musical based on the novel of the same name written by Tom Robbins. Lee and Robbins had collaborated for ten years to develop the musical. Funding for the album's development came via crowd-sourcing at Kickstarter.

Lee released Quarter Century Classix in 2019, a collection of cover songs he was influenced by during his teenage years. In 2020, Radnor and Lee released their second collaborative album, Golden State.

Personal life

Lee was born in Sydney and was raised in a Jewish household, but did not consider himself religious as a child. [9] Lee was educated at Moriah College, an independent, Modern Orthodox Jewish, co-educational, day school, located in Sydney's eastern suburbs. [10]

Lee dated Claire Danes for several years but their relationship ended in 2003, and he later married actress Ione Skye on 28 December 2008, in a Hindu wedding ceremony in India. They have one child. [11] [12]

Lee stated that he follows a pescatarian diet. [13]

Discography

Albums

TitleDetailsPeakCertification
AUS
[4]
Grandpaw Would
  • Released: 22 June 1995
Something to Remember Me By
  • Released: 20 May 1997
Breathing Tornados
  • Released: 16 November 1998
13
hey you. yes you.
  • Released: 15 November 2002
45
Awake Is the New Sleep
  • Released: 22 February 2005
5
Ben Lee Sings Against Me!'s New Wave
  • Released: 19 August 2007
Ripe
  • Released: 18 September 2007
11
The Square (Motion Picture Sountrack)(with Jessica Chapnik Kahn)
  • Released: 31 July 2008
The Rebirth of Venus
  • Released: 6 February 2009
21
Deeper into Dream
  • Released: 11 October 2011
Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work
  • Released: 22 April 2013
A mixtape from Ben Lee
  • Released: 24 February 2015
Love Is the Great Rebellion
  • Released: 29 May 2015
71
Freedom, Love and The Recuperation of the Human Mind
  • Released: 21 October 2016
Ben Lee Sings Songs about Islam for the Whole Family
  • Released: 3 March 2017
Radnor & Lee(with Josh Radnor)
  • Released: 10 November 2017
B Is for Beer: The Musical (with Tom Robbins)
  • Released: 12 October 2018
Quarter Century Classix
  • Released: 22 November 2019
Golden State(with Josh Radnor)
  • Released: 19 June 2020
I'm Fun
  • To be released: 2021
TBA

Extended plays

Singles

TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
AUS
[4]
UK
[15]
"Cigarettes Will Kill You"19984692 Breathing Tornados
"Ship My Body Home"
"Nothing Much Happens"199913695
"Tornados"
"Something Borrowed, Something Blue"200267 hey you. yes you.
"Running with Scissors"200382
"Gamble Everything for Love"200439 Awake Is the New Sleep
"Catch My Disease"200527
"Into the Dark" [A] 97
"We're All in This Together"200659
"Love Me Like the World Is Ending"200718 Ripe
"Numb"54
"I Love Pop Music"200986 The Rebirth of Venus
"Rise Up"
"Song for the Divine Mother of the Universe"2010
"Big Love"2015 Love Is the Great Rebellion

Notes:

Promotional singles

TitleYearAlbum
"Career Choice"1998 Something to Remember Me By
"Dead or Anything"
(as part of Dando Lee Petersson Schwartzman)
2002Dando Lee Petersson Schwartzman
"In My Life"2005 This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul
"American Television"2008 Ripe
"What's So Bad (About Feeling Good)?"2009 The Rebirth of Venus
"Forgiveness"2015 Love Is the Great Rebellion
"The Body of Love"
"Goodbye to Yesterday"

Other appearances

Awards and nominations

Awards

Nominations

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