After teasing audiences with two very brief showcase club performances in Sydney and Melbourne in 2011, New Zealand soul and R&B fans will be ecstatic to learn that Eric Benét will come to New Zealand for his first ever concert this November. Benét will have his full band in tow, and perform one night only at Auckland’s Studio on Friday 24th November.
From barefoot dreadlocked troubadour to suave standard-bearer for contemporary R&B, Eric Benét may have changed his look, but one thing has remained consistent: his dedication to crafting authentic music that engages the soul. “I’m not chasing any current whatever’s” says Benét. “It’s about music that gives me goose bumps and touches my soul. That’s always been a good barometer for me.”
Kicking off his career in ‘80s pop group, Gerard, and then forming the group Benét with his sister and cousin in the early ‘90s, Benét came to prominence as a solo artist in 1996 with the release of his debut album, True To Myself. But music fans and the industry were truly put on notice with the release of his second album A Day In The Life in 1999, which boasted the monster tracks ‘’Georgy Porgy’’ and Benét’s first Number 1 R&B single, ‘’Spend My Life With You’’ featuring Tamia. Four Grammy Award nominations later, he has gone on to release five more studio albums, with his most recent eponymous release in 2016 and has enjoyed having many hits including: ‘’You’re The Only One’’, ‘’Chocolate Legs’’ and ‘’Sometimes I Cry’’.
Away from music, Benét has been active as an actor with his debut movie role in Glitter, alongside Mariah Carey, feature film Trinity Goodheart and roles in television; For Your Love, Kaya, Half & Half and The Real Husbands of Hollywood. Benét is also heavily involved in two charitable organisations: Mission Save Her, a charity fighting against human trafficking, slavery and sexual abuse of women and girls around the world, was co-founded by Benét and actor/singer Reggie Benjamin. In A Perfect World, established by Benét’s wife, Manuela Testolini, is another of Benét’s charitable interests and pushes to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in economically poor countries. Now in its tenth year, 30,000 children and teens have benefited from the charity and the organisation has just built its 30th school.
Twenty years into a career which shows no sign of stopping, Benét believes, one thing accounts for his ongoing success. “When my sister and I recorded our first album as Benét, we had some control creatively but not all. The label put out a single and then dropped us right away. I told myself then that if I ever got the chance to do another record, I was going to have complete autonomy. That I was just going to do music that made me fall in love with music.”
On his show, Benét says, ‘’The conversation that happens between me and the audience while I’m performing compares to almost nothing. At the end of the day, my heart lives in R&B and Soul’’.
For the first time ever in New Zealand, multi-platinum and Grammy nominated R&B legends SWV (Sisters with Voices) have announced one NZ show. Joining SWV will be fellow New York natives Allure, also on their first visit to New Zealand.
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