Kiwi musician Benee blew up internationally after her tunes became insanely popular on TikTok. These days, she's becoming just as well known for being an advocate for taking care of your mental health.
Bringing together her undeniable vocal talents and her outspoken attitude to dealing with anxiety, Benee has just released 'Bagels' - a song scientifically designed to relieve anxious feelings.
Benee and her music producer teamed up with Youthline and ASB to enlist the help of neuroscientists from AUT along with some of New Zealand’s best animators to create something pretty special.
The song was made using musical phrasing, melody, tempo and chords based on specific data and scientific principles, and then checked over by the experts who confirmed it does what it's supposed to.
"The science that they put behind all of this was definitely a surprise," Benee said about the process.
"THERE'S A LOT MORE THAT GOES INTO IT THAN YOU THINK."
ASB and Youthline were keen to collaborate on Bagels with Benee as part of ASB’s commitment to youth mental health, which is a massive issue for young people in Aotearoa.
Youthline's research found that anxiety among rangatahi in NZ is increasing, and their hope is that Benee's song will be a free tool for people to use before an exam, when they can't sleep, or when the dreaded overthinking cycle is too hard to break.
Before the song dropped, AUT carried out neurological and physiological testing on people aged 18 - 25 to see how their minds and bodies responded to the track.
The results showed that Bagels legit did shift young people into a calmer state - how good?
"I'm always wanting to get involved when it's to do with mental health because that's something I'm passionate about," Benee said. "It was just a different way to make a song."
The good stuff doesn't stop at your ears though - the music video is also designed to combat overthinking and anxious spirals.
Made in collaboration with one of NZ's top animation companies, the video uses elements that draw your eye from left to right, which mimics a therapeutic technique you might have heard of - EMDR (Eye movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).
Geet Vashista, a post-grad AUT student who worked on the project explained that by stimulating the viewer in certain ways, the visuals can actually "influence your body and your physical state in a positive way".
Now I'm no scientist, but we chucked the music video on the big screen at Mai on a particularly wild afternoon, and the whole team felt the positive chill vibes. Plus, we were all able to be way more productive after a break to quiet the mind.
All the proceeds from streaming the track will be donated to Youthline, so you're not only having a lil self-care moment for you, but you're supporting a good cause in the process. Dream scenario!