Bic Runga

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Bic Runga
Runga2 small.jpg
Bic Runga performing on the 2010 Winery Tour, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Background information
Birth name Briolette Kah Bic Runga
Born (1976-01-13) 13 January 1976 (age 40)
Origin Christchurch, New Zealand
Genres Pop rock, folk rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums
Years active 1996–present
Labels Sony New Zealand

Briolette Kah Bic Runga MNZM (born 13 January 1976), 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.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Runga was born in Christchurch. Her mother, Sophia Tang, was a Chinese Malaysian lounge singer in Malaysia when she met Joseph Runga, a Māori. They moved to New Zealand to live. Runga is of Ngāti Kahungunu descent.[1]

Runga grew up in Hornby, Christchurch surrounded by a musically-inclined family, and started recording songs with her sisters, Boh and Pearl, when she was four years old. Runga's older sister Boh is now a vocalist in the New Zealand rock group Stellar, while Pearl is a session singer.

She learned how to play drums at the age of eleven, and guitar at about fourteen. Runga also learned to play the keyboard around this time. She attended Cashmere High School,[2][3] joining high school bands and performing with local jazz groups by her mid-teens.


1993–1997: Early career and Drive[edit]

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[edit]

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.[4]

2011–present: Belle and after[edit]

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.

Belle was released in November 2011.[5] 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.[6]

A greatest hits album, Anthology, was released on 1 December 2012. June 2015 saw the release of a new single, "I dreamed a dream"[7]

Personal life[edit]

Runga was born and lives in New Zealand with her children and partner Kody Nielson.[citation needed] Bic gave birth to her second child in 2013.[8] Bic was expected to give birth to her third child in 2015.[9]

"'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.'"[10] The "strange vowel" is a checked tone. For the meaning of "colour of jade", Bic is " " in Chinese characters.[11]


In the 2006 New Year Honours Runga was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.[12]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1997 Drive
  • First studio album
  • Released: August 1997
  • Format: CD
1 49
2002 Beautiful Collision
  • Second studio album
  • Released: 1 July 2002
  • Format: CD
1 41 7 55
  • RMNZ: 10× Platinum[19]
2005 Birds
  • Third studio album
  • Released: 28 November 2005
  • Format: CD
1 26 20 154
  • RMNZ: 3× Platinum[19]
2011 Belle
  • Fourth studio album
  • Released: 14 November 2011
  • Format: CD
5 97 96 50

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
2008 Try to Remember Everything
  • B-sides, outtakes, demos and live tracks
  • Released: 21 November 2008
  • Format: CD
28 72
2012 Anthology
  • Best-of compilation
  • Released: 23 November 2012
  • Format: CD

Live albums[edit]


  • Drive "Lovesoup" EP (1995)
  • Live in Concert with the Christchurch Symphony EP (2004)


Year Title Chart positions Album

1995 "Drive" 7 Drive
1996 "Bursting Through" 33
1997 "Sway" 7 10 26 93
"Suddenly Strange" 26
"Roll into One" 48
1998 "Hey"
1999 "Good Morning Baby" 15 American Pie: Music from the Motion Picture
"Sorry" Drive
2002 "Get Some Sleep" 3 92 27 78 Beautiful Collision
"Something Good" 4 107
2003 "Listening for the Weather" 14
2005 "Winning Arrow" 23 Birds
"That's Alright"
2006 "Say After Me"
2011 "Hello Hello" Belle
2012 "Tiny Little Piece of My Heart" 88
"If You Really Do"


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "Performing Arts". Cashmere High School. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Bic Runga". Christchurch City Libraries. Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "New single, tour for Bic Runga". The New Zealand Herald. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Jones, Bridget (27 September 2011). "Bic's Belle rings out in church". Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Bic & Kody are having a baby!". Groove Guide. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Moses, Alexa (13 September 2002). "Bic from the brink". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Middle age Chinese pronunciation search
  12. ^ "New Year honours list 2006". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Bic Runga – New Zealand chart history". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  14. ^ a b "Bic Runga – Australian chart history". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  15. ^ a b " - Discography Bic Runga". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c "Gaon Album Chart 국외". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "2011년 49주차 Album Chart 국외". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Chart Log UK – The Rabble Army – RZA". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  19. ^ a b c d e f "Gold and platinum New Zealand albums to 2013". Te Ara. Encyclopedia of NZ. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "2013년 45주차 Album Chart 국외". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "2011년 49주차 Digital Chart 국외". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

External links[edit]