(Taken from Bic's official site)
10 december 1999
Bic Runga makes music the way a spider spins webs: instinctively, alone with a simple beauty and seeming ease belying the strength of her creations. "I remember the first song that I wrote" says Bic, who started on drums at age 11 and picked up guitar at 14. "I remember bringing it to a band and suddenly thinking it wasn't my song anymore. That's when I decided that I wanted to do my own thing."
When the native New Zealander says
"do my own thing", she means it - in every way. Bic Runga penned every
song on her debut album Drive (released throughout the world through 1997
and 1998), played an assortment of instruments and produced it as well.
And it will be the same successful formula for Bic's second album (in pre-production
right now). Although Bic comes from a family of musicians (her mother sang
in Malaysian nightclubs, her sister Boh fronts the band "Stellar*" and
her other sister Pearl sings as well), Bic is the first to point out how
unusual her position is:
"People find it hard to believe and I understand why. I'm 22 and just starting and there aren't many 22 year-olds who write, play and produce their own albums, but I like to take control and feel like it's all mine."
The result so far has been an album of beguiling and unique songs: the charming jangle of "Sway", the eerily appealing "Swim", the thunder-in-a-jar percussion of "Sorry". The quiet intimacy and less-is-more nature of "Drive" portray Bic as a special, yet accessible, artist.....human but with a somewhat otherworldly edge.
At the age of 18, Bic left her hometown
of Christchurch in New Zealand's sparsely populated South Island, for Auckland
in the North. Absorbing the sounds around her in Auckland, Bic began writing,
playing cafe gigs and recording with characteristically steadfast conviction.
"Eventually, I got a demo tape together and took it up to Sony and they liked it" says Bic.
"The first single that came out in New Zealand was one of those demo tracks - they released it as it was."
Remarkable? Even more so is the fact that said single - since re-recorded as the delicately powered title track of Drive - was written just minutes before her first solo performance in Auckland. "I didn't have enough songs to make up a 40 minute set" she recalls. "I feel the best songs write themselves, in a sort of stream of consciousness way - they aren't laboured over."
With a little pre-production help from legendary producer Peter Asher (now a senior Vice President at Sony Music), Bic recorded Drive in New Zealand in mid 1997. Having finished tracking the recordings in studios in Auckland, Bic then took her work to Los Angeles, hooked up with Matt Wallace (Faith No More, John Hiatt) and Wallace mixed the album - with Bic looking over his shoulder the whole way. The album was initially released in New Zealand in August 1997 and throughout the rest of the world in the year following. The album entered the New Zealand charts at #1, where it remained for a month. By the end of 1997, Drive had been in the national top ten for 20 consecutive weeks. To date it has sold over 6 x Platinum, has been a fixture in the national top 40 charts for over 70 weeks and has garnered Bic Runga considerable critical acclaim: at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards, Bic won seven major awards including Album of the Year, Single of the Year ("Sway"), Best Female Vocalist and Best Songwriter. Drive is the biggest selling album in New Zealand by a New Zealander ever.
Bic spent the majority of 1998 and early 1999 on the road, relentlessly, exhaustingly promoting herself and her record in all corners of the world - from Australia to Denmark, Tunisia to Hong Kong. Bic played over 200 performances around the world during this time - sometimes solo acoustic (as on the 1998 Lilith Fair tour across the USA) and other times with a full backing band. Whichever way, her live shows are as acclaimed as her records: intense and mesmerising, her voice as powerful and and as perfect in the live setting as it is on her recordings.
Returning to New Zealand in April 1999, Bic's work in the international arena was recognised with another New Zealand Music Award - this time the 1999 award for International Achievement - to go with the Gold Record award she had recently achieved in Australia (for 'Sway').
As for the new album, Bic promises
"something new but more of the same" for the second album - while her sense
of pop, her love of uncluttered arrangements, clear and powerful vocals
and provoking lyrics will still be to the fore in the new music, Bic also
wants to show how much she has learned and grown in the years since writing
and recording her debut album. And she promises it will be worth the waiting!