Bennie K

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Bennie K
Origin Japan
Genres Urban
J-pop
Years active 2001 - present
Labels For Life Music
Website http://www.benniek.jp
Members Yuki
Cico
DJ Hi-Kick

Bennie K (often stylized as BENNIE K) is an urban female duo formed in 1999 that consists of vocalist Yuki and rapper Cico. They met while Yuki was in Los Angeles undergoing voice training with Roger Burnley. They made their debut in January 2001 with the single "Melody," released on the For Life Music label.[1]

Bennie K's 8th single "Sunrise" reached the top 10 of the Oricon singles chart in 2004, and their 9th single "Dreamland" reached #2 in 2005. Their 4th album "Japana-rhythm" debuted at #1 on the Oricon albums chart.[2]

Bennie K's songs usually combine Japanese and English. Their sound is primarily urban, but they often use a variety of diverse musical styles, including Latin and country.

Members[edit]

Yuki (ユキ)[edit]

  • Full Name: Yamamoto Yukiyo (山本ゆきよ)
  • Birthday: 2.23.84

Yuki was born in Osaka Prefecture, but grew up in Kashima (鹿島市), Saga Prefecture, located in Japan’s Kyūshū region. She has a brother who is 4 years older than she is. Yuki is a graduate of Kashima City’s westside public junior high school. At the age of 14, Yuki successfully passed an audition as her graduation date approached. She subsequently did not appear at her junior high school graduation ceremony so that she could go over to America. While living in Los Angeles, California, she went back and forth between attending a local prep school, formal voice training, and dance lessons.

Cico (チコ)[edit]

  • Full Name: Yamamoto Chieko (山本知恵子)
  • Birthday: 1.7.78

Cico grew up in Suita (吹田市), Osaka Prefecture, located in Japan’s Kansai region. She has an older brother and sister. Her alma mater was Osaka Kunei Senior High School. At one time, she was enrolled in Ritsumeikan University’s college of international relations, but dropped out mid-semester. Cico eventually went over to Los Angeles to begin producing rap and hip-hop.

DJ Hi-Kick (ハイキック)[edit]

Hi-Kick is Bennie K’s manager and DJ. His hometown is in Nagano Prefecture, located in Japan’s Chūbu region. He graduated from Tokai University in 1950.[3]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

During the summer of ’99, Yuki and Cico had a chance encounter. Yuki was on a homestay in Los Angeles, and her residence happened to also be that of Cico’s aunt. While sharing the same quarters, the two really hit it off. Returning to Japan separately, they continued their musical endeavors. Not too long after, they had the opportunity to join forces at a Christmas event, and decided afterward to unite and devote themselves to music.[3]

Name origins[edit]

In the new year after deciding to work together, Yuki and Cico went to Kyōto (京都) and prayed for future success at the Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社), a shrine famous for Inari, a god of business and harvest. On their way back, they came across the Gojō Bridge, recalling it as the site of a famous Japanese legend — the battle between Benkei (弁慶) and Ushiwakamaru (牛若丸). The powerful Japanese warrior monk Benkei is said to have posted himself at this bridge, fighting and winning consecutive duels with 999 passing swordsmen. His 1,000th duel was with Ushiwakamaru and did not end in Benkei’s favor. Benkei joined Ushiwakamaru as a retainer and they had many successful missions together.[4] Yuki and Cico noticed similarities between the legendary duo and themselves — despite an age difference between the two of them, they both seemed to have their sights aimed high. The duo considered “Benkei and Ushiwakamaru” as a name for their act, but later felt it was too unoriginal to just use the names of other people. When Yuki began learning guitar, she started out with Ben E. King’s "Stand by Me." Being that this was the first song the duo ever sang together, they decided to combine Benkei with Ben E. King — and the name Bennie K was born. To Yuki and Cico, Benkei is a symbol of power; they feel that this name choice reflects their commitment to putting out music that expresses themselves as powerful women.[3]

BK Project[edit]

Following the release of "The “Bestest” Bennie K Show," Bennie K went off the radar for many months. On 8.19.09, Yuki and Cico updated the official Bennie K website, announcing that they would be starting a new venture called BK Project. The duo apologized for their delay in dispelling any rumors about their absence that may have stirred up anxiety in fans. Yuki has decided to put her singing on hold — and will shift to the role of producer — desiring to take on a greater goal of supporting other amateur and professional musicians. Yuki and Cico both recognize that they have received a great deal of help from other artists over the years — which greatly contributed to their successes — and feel that now is the time to show their gratitude by giving back to the music community. They will be working with American singer Becca for their first production under the project — a single entitled "Dreamer" that will be released under the name Bennie Becca on 11.4.09.[5]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Mini-albums[edit]

  • [2004.05.08] The Bennie K Show (ザ・ベニーケー・ショウ) - #48
  • [2006.08.02] The Bennie K Show: On the Floor Hen (ザ・ベニーケー・ショウ: On the Floor編) - #5

Best albums[edit]

  • [2008.04.23] Best of the Bestest - #1 (Billboard Japan); #2 (Oricon)
  • [2008.10.29] The "Bestest" Bennie K Show

Singles[edit]

  • [2001.01.24] Melody
  • [2001.05.23] School Girl
  • [2001.10.31] Sunshine
  • [2002.04.24] Nai / P-Dad
  • [2003.03.05] My Way
  • [2003.07.23] Better Days
  • [2003.10.22] Tegami / Nagori Natsu (手紙 / なごり夏; Letter / Traces of Summer)
  • [2004.09.22] Sunrise (サンライズ) - #10
  • [2005.06.08] Dreamland - #2
  • [2005.09.21] Sky - #9
  • [2006.11.08] Joy Trip - #5
  • [2007.03.07] 1001Nights - #17
  • [2008.02.20] Monochrome (モノクローム) - #9
  • [2008.09.03] Music Traveler / with SOFFet

BK project singles[edit]

  • [2009.11.04] Bennie Becca - Dreamer

BK project albums[edit]

  • [2010.4.09] Bennie Becca - Bennie Becca

Collaborations and other works[edit]

  • [2004.12.15] 2Backka feat. Bennie K - Orugooru Tokei (オルゴール時計; Orgel Clock) (found on 2Backka indie album "Turn")
  • [2005.08.24] M-Flo Loves Bennie K - Taste Your Stuff (found on M-Flo studio album "Beat Space Nine")
  • [2005.10.12] Seamo with Bennie K - a love story (found on Seamo single "A Love Story" and studio album "Get Back on Stage")
  • [2005.11.02] M-Flo Loves Bennie K - Taste Your Stuff (Happy Drive) (Remix by Kevin Blechdom) (found on M-Flo remix album "Dope Space Nine")
  • [2007.10.24] 2Backka + Bennie K - Home (found on 2Backka single "Home" and studio album "Touch")
  • [2009.04.29] 2Backka + DJ Hi-Kick - Orugooru Tokei feat. Bennie K '09 Remix (オルゴール時計; Orgel Clock) (found on compilation album "Sparks")

DVD[edit]

  • [2006.05.10] Trippin' Channel: Live Japana-Rhythm
  • [2006.09.06] The Bennie K Show: On the Floor Hen? (ザ・ベニーケー・ショウ: On the Floor編?)
  • [2007.11.07] THE "New" World: World Tour!? in Japan

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bennie-k-mn0001499574
  2. ^ "Bennie K、初のNo.1獲得!自身の初動売上記録を大幅に更新!". Oricon. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bennie K". Wikipedia Japan. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  4. ^ "Benkei". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  5. ^ "Bennie K新プロジェクト発足!Yukiはプロデュースに専念". natalie. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 

External links[edit]