Ben Lummis

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Ben Lummis
Birth name Benjamin Lummis
Born (1978-06-01) 1 June 1978 (age 39)
Origin Wellington, New Zealand
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer fitness instructor
Instruments Singing
Years active 2004–present

Sony BMG (2004)

Soul'd Out[1] (2007 – present)
Associated acts Rosita Vai, Matthew Saunoa
Website Official Site

Ben Lummis (born Benjamin Lummis on 1 June 1978) is a New Zealand R&B/Pop recording artist who rose to musical fame as the winner of the First season of New Zealand Idol in 2004. He is of Māori (Ngati Porou) and Pākehā (European) and Tongan descent. He is very close to his family, and has five sibling


New Zealand Idol 2004[edit]

Lummis auditioned for the first season of New Zealand Idol in early 2004, and after passing through the theatre rounds, he qualified for the semi-finals, where the public voted him through to the Top 10. Lummis's first few weeks in the Top 10 were shaky, as he landed in the bottom 3 contestants on three separate occasions. However, from the top 6 onwards, he was never in the bottom three again, and on 10 May 2004, he was crowned as the first New Zealand Idol, defeating Michael Murphy, who had never been in the bottom three throughout the entire competition. Ben is one of only two Idol winners worldwide to land in the Bottom 3 in the first week of their season's finals. The other is 2005 Canadian Idol Melissa O'Neil.

New Zealand Idol Performances[edit]

  • Top 36 - "Suspicious Minds", Elvis Presley
  • Top 24 - "Back at One", Brian McKnight
  • Top 10 - "Never Too Much", Luther Vandross - Bottom 3
  • Top 9 - "Oughta Be In Love", Dave Dobbyn - Bottom 3
  • Top 8 - "Hang on in There Baby", Johnny Bristol
  • Top 7 - "Can Love You Like That", All-4-One - Bottom 3
  • Top 6 - "Kiss From A Rose", Seal
  • Top 5 - "Treat Her Like a Lady", The Temptations
  • Top 4 - "American Woman", The Guess Who
  • Top 4 - "Livin' on a Prayer", Bon Jovi
  • Top 3 - "The Power of Love", Huey Lewis
  • Top 3 - "Rhythm of the Night", El De Barge
  • Top 2 - "Kiss From a Rose", Seal
  • Top 2 - "I Believe I Can Fly", R. Kelly
  • Top 2 - "Livin' on a Prayer", Bon Jovi
  • Grand Final - "They Can't Take That Away" (Winner's single) - Declared 1st New Zealand Idol

Post Idol Career[edit]

2004-2005: One Road[edit]

Immediately after his victory, Lummis signed a recording contract with music giant Sony BMG and released his debut single "They Can't Take That Away", which debuted at number one on the New Zealand Singles Chart. It held the position for seven weeks and was certified 4xPlatinum, selling 40,000 copies. Lummis completed a nationwide New Zealand Idol Live! tour with his fellow finalists, and then on 15 June 2004, just four weeks after his Idol victory, Lummis released his debut album, One Road. Although the album sold 45,000 copies[2] and was certified 3xPlatinum, it was badly received by the music industry. Paul Ellis, the album's producer and New Zealand Idol judge later described it as "the worst-sounding album of my entire career".[3]

Three months after the release of his album, Lummis suddenly left his record label Sony BMG under mutual disagreement.[4] Many music industry observers stated that the move was interesting, as Lummis had held the top spot on the albums and singles chart simultaneously for more than a week with strong sales, but was dropped by his label nevertheless.

2006-2007: Independent Music and Pop's Ultimate Star[edit]

Having taken a career break following his debut album and departure from Sony BMG, Lummis released the single "Gotta Move" in 2006, independently and exclusively through his personal website. Although well received by fans, the single was unable to chart as its sales were online only and at the time, not tracked by the RIANZ.

After another short break, Lummis was announced as one of the ten contestants on Pop's Ultimate Star, a new New Zealand reality television show whose aim was to take contestants from past singing competitions and pit them against one another in order to discover the country's favourite reality show singing star. The show debuted on 29 May 2007, and after passing through the first four weeks without falling into the bottom two at all, Lummis made it to the final six. At this point he fell into the bottom two alongside Emily Williams, the runner-up from the third season of Australian Idol, and was voted off on 1 July after an elimination duel with Williams, finishing in sixth place. After this, he announced his intention to release more new music independently.[5]

2007 – present: New Album[edit]

Lummis announced in late 2007, that he had intentions on writing more of his own music, and releasing songs independently on a new album. Since then Lummis has been working on a new album, right throughout 2008. He has also appeared on the TVNZ morning show, Good Morning, where he made a live performance of one of his new tracks called, "Smooth Lady", the first song from the album.

Religious faith[edit]

Lummis is a devout Pentecostal Christian and belongs to and attends the ARISE Church in Hamilton, New Zealand. He credits his success to God, with the understanding that, however far it takes him, he will always be able to remember his time in the spotlight.[citation needed]


Ben Lummis discography
Studio albums 1
Music videos 3
Singles 2
B-sides 1
Other charted songs 1
Collaborations 1
Tours 1

The following article is a complete discography of the albums and singles released by New Zealand R&B/Pop singer/artist Ben Lummis.


Year Information New Zealand Certifications
2004 One Road
  • First studio album
  • Released: 16 June 2004
  • Label: Sony BMG
  • Format: CD
  • NZ: Platinum x2[6]


Year Song New Zealand Certification Album
2004 "They Can't Take That Away" 1 4xPlatinum One Road
2006 "Gotta Move" 1 Single Only
  • ^1 "Gotta Move" was released only through Ben's official website and was therefore not eligible to chart

Other Albums/Singles[edit]

Statistics Singles
Home Grown (With the Top 10 of NZ Idol)
  • Released: 21 April 2004
  • Label: Sony BMG
  • Peak chart positions:
    • #3 New Zealand
  • New Zealand sales: 7,500
  • RIANZ Certification: Gold
  • "Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life"
    – #4 (Gold)
    (With the Top 10 of NZ Idol)
Preceded by
NZ Idol winner
Season 1 (2004)
Succeeded by
Rosita Vai


  1. ^ New Zealand Reality TV: Ben Lummis Scores a Record Deal[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Entertainment picks: The business of being a NZ Idol". The New Zealand Herald. 17 October 2005. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Trevett, Claire. Record giant scratches NZ Idol. 1 June 2006. Accessed: 3 July 2007
  4. ^ Trevett, Claire Idol split hits sour note with fans. 25 May 2005. Accessed: 3 July 2007
  5. ^ TVNZ. Bye Ben!. Accessed 3 July 2007.
  6. ^ "Gold and platinum New Zealand albums to 2013". Te Ara. Encyclopedia of NZ. Retrieved 19 July 2015.