New Music Down Under: Ben Lee

Australian recording artist, Ben Lee, was born September 11th, 1978, in Sydney. During his youth, he frequently spent his time listening to the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Roxy Music, in addition to his Jack and the Beanstalk soundtrack. By the time that he reached the age of 14 years, he was making his musical debut with the popish-sounding punk band, known as Noise Addict.

The year was 1993. Shortly thereafter, the group would be ‘discovered’ and taken under wing by the likes of Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys but, when it became obvious that the band was not as driven as he was, Ben kept his eye on his goals and attempted to strike out on a solo career.

His first album, “Grandpaw Would,” was released in 1984, on the Fellaheen label (the Australian version of the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label) and, coupled with a rollicking tour, earned him the support of many talented names, such as Ben Harper, Rufus Wainwright, and Fugazi. Ben was also amassing a steadily increasing fan base and, in 1997, he released his second album, entitled “Something To Remember Me By.” Two years later, 1999’s release, “Breathing Tornados” would go platinum in his native Australia.

2003 saw the release of “Hey You. Yes You,” which was produced by Dan the Automator. Still, this wasn’t enough to keep Ben busy; performing duets with Kylie Minogue and Ben Folds, he also helped out by writing key songs for Evan Dando’s 2003 album, “Baby I’m Bored” and debuted in the title role of Placid Lake, in the Australian comedy, “The Rage in Placid Lake,” that same year.

Most recently, Ben Lee’s 2005 release “Awake is the New Sleep” continues to turn heads and perk ears. Claiming that it is an album about waking up, Ben states, “You go to bed one night feeling that you’ve come to a dead end, that everything has been said and done, that there is no magic in the world…but the next morning you wake up – and everything’s changed.”

He definitely has managed to recapture the magic, if he ever truly lost it in the first place; Ben has just returned home after a very successful tour, where he performed to sold out audiences, across Europe. “The music is inviting me on strange adventures,” says Lee, “It’s asking me to dance. It wants to tell me all about how lucky I am to be at the feet of this awesome mystery called Life.”

His fans are equally grateful to be invited along on this adventure – Not only do they visit the blog on his website faithfully, but they also flock by droves to a Myspace account, set up under the performers name (though it states, clearly, that it is maintained by friends of Ben Lee, rather than by the artist, himself).

Combining sweet boy-next-door looks and heart wrenching lyrics, with a beautifully rich voice, Ben Lee has made his mark in Australia and seems determined to take the world by storm. “Awake is the New Sleep,” his latest release, is now available in stores.

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