Briolette Kah Bic Runga
MNZM (born 13 January 1976 in Christchurch, New Zealand), recording as Bic Runga
, is a New Zealand singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist pop artist. Her first solo album, Drive
(1997), debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40 Album charts.Runga has since become one of the highest-selling New Zealand artists in recent history. She has also found success internationally in Australia, Ireland, and, to some extent, in the UK.1993–1997: Early career and Drive
Under the name of "Love Soup", Runga and Kelly Horgan entered the 1993 Smokefreerockquest in Christchurch, winning third place and a music contract with Pagan Records. Using a QE II Arts Council grant, Runga recorded the first Drive
EP in Wellington. Unsatisfied with the direction that her music was being taken, she moved to Auckland in 1994 and spent a year writing and performing.In 1995, she sent a new demo of "Drive" to Sony Music, who signed Runga in September of that year and bought her Wellington recordings from Pagan Records. Sony had her re-record the song with more instruments, but it was eventually her demo that was used on the upcoming album. It entered the Top 10 in New Zealand and won her the Silver Scroll Songwriting Award in 1996.Runga then released "Bursting Through", the first single from her upcoming album, also entitled Drive
. The success of the singles led to the release of her debut album, Drive
, in 1997. Runga's song "Sway", along with a duet with Dan Wilson of Semisonic called "Good Morning Baby", were used in the films American Pie
, and Cruel Intentions
. Six singles were released from the album, while "Sway" was released in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany.Runga has recorded two songs called "Drive". The first was her own, which appeared on her debut album of the same name. The second was a 1999 collaboration with fellow New Zealanders Strawpeople, providing guest vocals for their cover of The Cars' classic 1984 hit.
2000–2008: Beautiful Collision, Birds, and Little Fish cameo
In 2000, Runga toured with Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn, resulting in a release of a live album of the tour.Runga released her second solo album, Beautiful Collision
, in 2002. It entered the New Zealand charts at number one.Her third studio album, Birds
, was released in New Zealand on 28 November 2005. New Zealand artists Neil Finn (piano) and Anika Moa (backing vocals) contributed to the album. The first single, "Winning Arrow", was released on the same day. It was her third consecutive studio album to enter the New Zealand charts at number one. Birds
was certified triple platinum.Runga played a 'Vietnamese lounge singer' in the 2005 film Little Fish
, and covered Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart".Released on 24 November 2008 in her native New Zealand, Try to Remember Everything
contains 14 unique recordings. Three years on from the recording of Birds
, Try to Remember Everything
brings together a collection of unreleased, new and rare Bic Runga recordings from 1996 to 2008. The album was certified Gold in New Zealand on 14 December 2008, selling over 7,500 copies.
2011–present: Belle and recent work
Runga contributed to the score and soundtrack to New Zealand filmmaker Roseanne Liang's debut feature film My Wedding and Other Secrets
(2011). In addition to featuring "Say After Me" from Birds
, the film also included two tracks ("Hello Hello" and "This Girl's Prepared for War") from her fourth album Belle
was released in November 2011. The first track from the album, "Hello, Hello", was released as a free download in early September. Runga toured New Zealand extensively in November and December.A greatest hits album, Anthology
, was released on 1 December 2012.
Runga, born in New Zealand, has lived in New York for two years, Paris for a year, and London for a year. She has since returned home to New Zealand, where she lives with her son Joseph, and partner Kody Nielson. Bic is due to give birth to her second child in 2013."'You say it Bec, rather than Bic,' explains New Zealand singer-songwriter Bic Runga. 'It's Chinese, it's a strange vowel sound which doesn't seem to translate in Australia. It means the colour of jade, which might mean green.'" The "strange vowel" is a checked tone. For the meaning of "colour of jade", Bic is "?" in Chinese characters.
In January 2006, Queen Elizabeth II made Runga a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Zealand New Year's Honours List.