PROFILE
Name:
Ben Lee
Birth Date:
September 11, 1978
Birth Place:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height:
5' 7" (1.70 m)
Nationality:
Australian
Famous for:
Member of Australian band Noise Addict
BIOGRAPHY
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Catch My Disease

Background:

Musician Ben Lee began his career with the Sydney band Noise Addict before gaining success as a soloist. His fifth album, “Awake Is the New Sleep” (2005), rose to No. 5 in Australia and was certified double platinum there. It brought the singer/songwriter his first three ARIA awards (Australian Record Industry Association). “Catch My Disease” (2005), a Top 30 hit single in Australia, also won ARIA Music awards. Other singles Lee has released include “Cigarettes Will Kill You” (1998; #46 Australia), “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” (2002; #67 Australia), “Running with Scissors” (2003; #82 Australia), “Gamble Everything for Love” (2004; #39 Australia), “We're All in This Together” (2006; #59 Australia), “Love Me Like the World Is Ending” (2007; #18 Australia) and “Numb” (2007; #54 Australia). “I Love Pop Music,” the first single from his album “From The Rebirth of Venus” (2009), peaked at No. 86 in Australia. The pop artist has also performed with the alternative act Gerling and the rock group The Bens and has contributed to film and television soundtracks. He was nominated for an AFI award for co-scoring the 2008 movie “The Square.” Also an actor, Lee played the protagonist in the Aussie film “The Rage in Placid Lake” (2003). “Catch My Disease” (2010), a documentary about Lee, is currently in post production. Amiel Courtin-Wilson is the director of the film project.

After creating the music label Ten Fingers, Lee teamed up with fellow Aussie native Heath Ledge to set up the music label Masses Music Co. in 2007. The first artist signed by the label was Australian Grace Woodroofe, a personal favorite of Ledger.

Lee dated actress Claire Danes for 6 years, but their romance ended in 2003 after she began dating Billy Crudup. He is now married to actress Ione Skye and is the father of Goldie Pryia (his first daughter with his wife) and Kate Netto (Skye's daughter from a previous relationship).


Benjamin Michael Lee

Childhood and Family:

Benjamin Michael Lee, who would later be popular as Ben Lee, was born on September 11, 1978, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to a Jewish family. He attended Moriah College, an independent modern Orthodox Jewish school, in Queens Park, an eastern suburb of Sydney. Ben relocated to New York City when he was 18 years old.

On December 29, 2008, Ben married British-born American actress Ione Skye, who is eight years his senior, in a Hindu wedding ceremony in India. The couple had a daughter they named Goldie Pryia Lee on September 24, 2009. He also has a stepdaughter named Kate Netto (born in 2001), who is Skye's child with designer David Netto.

Ben is the son-in-law of Scottish folk singer/songwriter Donovan and model Enid Karl. His is the brother-in-law of Donovan Leitch Jr., who is the vocalist of the American band Camp Freddy.


Awake Is the New Sleep

Career:

Teen Ben Lee co-founded the pop/punk band Noise Addict in Bondi Beach, New South Wales, in 1992. The band soon recorded their first demo and began playing concerts. Thanks to the help of Steve Pavlovic, an executive from the independent label Fellaheen Records, they signed with Sonic Youth singer and guitarist Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace record label. In early 1993, Lee and his band launched a moderately successful EP titled “DEF.” They were then signed to Fellaheen. Noise Addict released their next EP, “The Taste in My Eyes,” which was notable for spawning the popular single “I Wish I Was Him.” The single caught the attention of Mike D of the Beastie Boys, who would later sign the band to Beastie Boys' Los Angeles based record label Grand Royal Records. After recording one more EP with Fellaheen, “Noise Addict vs. Silverchair,” Noise Addict released the acoustic “Young and Jaded” EP in 1994 for Grand Royal. They went on to release their first full length album, “Meet the Real You,” in late 1995 and toured with Sebadoh before breaking up.

Lee began his solo career at age 16 while he was still a member of Noise Addict. His solo debut album, “Grandpaw Would,” was recorded in Sydney and Chicago with producer Brad Wood. It was released on June 22, 1995, with Fellaheen in Australia and under Grand Royal in the U.S. It yielded the singles “Pop Queen” (1994) and “Away With the Pixies” (1995). The album was released in Japan under Toshiba-EMI with three bonus tracks titled “Get Your Sleep,” “The Waiting Game” and “Be a Kid.” The same year, he contributed the song “Don't Leave” from his first album to the soundtrack of “The Baby-Sitters Club,” an American film directed by Melanie Mayron that starred Schuyler Fisk, Bre Blair, Rachael Leigh Cook and Larisa Oleynik.

The sophomore studio album “Something to Remember Me By,” also produced by Wood, hit the music stores on May 20, 1997. No singles were launched from the album except a promo release of “Career Choice” in 1998. Also in 1997, Lee sporadically replaced guitarist Brad Herdson from the group Gerling for the group's show at the Sydney Big Day Out. His brief stint with Gerling ended after the group recruited Canadian Burke Reid as Herdson's permanent replacement. He also recorded the songs “Burn To Shine” and “Portable Walt Whitman” for the films “Best Men,” a comedy directed by Tamra Davis, and “Blackrock,” an Australian thriller directed by Steven Vidler, respectively.

In 1998, Lee was featured in the soundtrack of the popular film “There’s Something About Mary” with the song “How to Survive a Broken Heart” from his second album. He released his third album, “Breathing Tornados,” on November 16, 1998, with new producer Ed Buller. Released in Australia with Modular Recordings, Pavlovic's new label, the album became his first record to include synthesizers. His effort paid off when the album made the top 20 on the Australian Albums chart (#13) and brought him ARIA Music nominations for Album Of The Year and Best Male Artist. He picked up an additional ARIA Music nomination for the lead single “Cigarettes Will Kill You” in the category of Single Of The Year. The single rose to No. 2 on 1999's Triple J Hottest 100 under The Offspring's “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).” “Cigarettes Will Kill You” peaked at No. 46 on the Australian Singles chart and was used in the “Playing by Heart” and 2002 Aussie comedy “Crackerjack” soundtracks. Subsequent singles released from the album include “Ship My Body Home” (1998), “Nothing Much Happens” (1999) and “Tornados” (1999). The track “Sleepwalking” was included in the soundtrack of the Morgan J. Freeman dramatic comedy “Desert Blue” (1998).

The follow-up to “Breathing Tornados,” “Hey You. Yes You,” was released on November 15, 2002. The album, which was produced by Dan the Automator, rose to No. 45 on the ARIA Albums chart and was nominated for a 2003 ARIA Music award for Best Male Artist. It marked his last record with Modular Recordings when he quit in late 2004 and started his own record label, Ten Fingers. The lead single “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” peaked at No. 67 on the ARIA chart and No. 22 on the 2002's Triple J Hottest 100. The second single, “Running With Scissors” (2003), rose to No. 82 in Australia.

In 2003, Lee performed the song “No Room to Bleed” in an episode of “Smallville” called “Witness.” Later that same year, he made his feature film acting debut in the Australian comedy “The Rage in Placid Lake,” opposite Rose Byrne, Miranda Richardson and Garry McDonald. Tony McNamara wrote and directed the film, which collected several awards and nominations. Lee also wrote and performed the song “Naked” for the film.

Still in 2003, Lee joined Ben Folds and Ben Kweller in the rock group The Bens. They toured and recorded as a group for their “The Bens Rock Over Australia” tour in 2003. The group produced a self titled EP (released on March 14, 2003) with the track “Just Pretend” making it on 2003's Triple J Hottest 100. They also contributed the track “Wicked Little Town” to “Wig in a Box” (2003), a tribute album to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

After his departure from Modular, Lee released the album “Awake Is the New Sleep” on February 22, 2005, in Australia with Ten Fingers/Inertia and the United States with New West Records. A reunion with producer Brad Wood, the album made the Top 10 on the ARIA Albums chart (#5) and went double platinum in Australia. It won ARIA Music awards for Best Independent Release, Best Cover Art and Best Male Artist and ARIA Music nominations for Album Of The Year and Best Pop Release.

Released in December 2004, the single “Gamble Everything for Love” rose to No. 39 on the ARIA Singles chart and was voted No. 15 on 2004's Triple J Hottest 100. Lee had his subsequent Top 40 hit single with “Catch My Disease” (2005), which came in second place on 2005's Triple J Hottest 100.The song brought him a 2005 ARIA Music award for Single Of The Year and ARIA Music awards for Song of the Year and Single Of The Year (2006). It was featured in the TV series “Grey's Anatomy,” “Scrubs” and “Hidden Palms” and in the films “Just Friends” and “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” (both 2005). Lee released the “Into the Dark” EP in 2005, which went to No. 97 in Australia. It was nominated for a 2006 ARIA Music award for Best Pop Release. “We're All In This Together” (2006), another single from “Awake Is the New Sleep,” rose to No. 59 on the Austrian Singles chart and earned 2006 ARIA Music nominations for Best Independent Release and Best Male Artist. It was used on various television advertisements in Australia and New Zealand, including Coca Cola and The Salvation Army Community Service commercials.

Lee recorded the rendition of “In My Life” for “This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul” (2005), a tribute album that marked the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' 1965 album “Rubber Soul.” Several other artists participated in the project, included Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Nellie McKay, Cowboy Junkies, Yonder Mountain String Band, and The Donnas.

On September 18, 2007, Lee launched the studio album “Ripe” with music producer John Alagia. The album debuted at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart on September 24. It also entered the Billboard HeatSeekers at No. 8 and the Billboard Independent Albums at No. 35. “Ripe” was nominated for a 2008 ARIA Music award for Best Independent Release. The lead single, “Love Me Like the World Is Ending” (2007), featuring Rachael Yamagata, went to No. 18 on the Australian singles chart. The album spawned two more singles with “Numb” (2007, #54 Australia) and “American Television” (2008, radio promo), which was used in a VH1 advertisement for “Flavor of Love 3.”

Lee composed “Theme From Spider,” performed by his soon-to-be wife Ione Skye, for the short film “Spider” (2007). He also produced and wrote the songs “How Lovers Pray,” “The Solution,” “This Life Is Sweet,” “Unloved Letters,” “Feed The Fire” and “Sand” for the soundtrack of the Australian film “The Square” (2008), from which he received a 2008 Australian Film Institute (AFI) award in the category of Best Original Music Score, which he shared with Frank Tetaz.

The seventh studio album, “The Rebirth of Venus,” was released on February 6, 2009, in Australia and February 10, 2009, in the U.S. It rose to No. 21 on the Australian albums chart. Critical reception to the album has been primarily negative. The single “I Love Pop Music” (2009) went to No. 86 in Australia.


Awards:

  • 2008 Australian Film Institute: Best Original Music Score (shared with Frank Tetaz), 2008

  • ARIA Music (Australian Record Industry Association): Song of the Year, “Catch My Disease,” 2006

  • ARIA Music: Most Performed Australian Work, “Catch My Disease,” 2006

  • ARIA Music: Single Of The Year, “Catch My Disease,” 2005

  • ARIA Music: Best Male Artist, “Awake Is the New Sleep,” 2005

  • ARIA Music: Best Independent Release, “Awake Is the New Sleep,” 2005

  • ARIA Music: Best Cover Art, “Awake Is the New Sleep,” 2005

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