Donny Benét

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Donny Benét
Donny Benét playing the keyboard for a live performance in Brooklyn, New York
Donny Benét playing the keyboard for a live performance in Brooklyn, New York
Background information
Also known asBen Waples
Born1981 (age 39–40)
InstrumentsVocals, electric keyboard, synthesizer, drum machine, accordion, electric bass, double bass
LabelsRice is Nice, Dot Dash, United Talent Agency
Associated actsJack Ladder and The Dreamlanders, Kirin J. Callinan, Sarah Blasko, Oh Mercy, Triosk

Donny Benét, is an Australian recording artist, based in Sydney. He is notable for his anachronistic musical style, borrowing heavily from 80s post-disco sounds. In 2011, he released his debut studio album Don't Hold Back through indie label Rice is Nice.[1] His fifth studio album, Mr Experience, reached #26 on the ARIA Charts in May 2020.


Benét was exposed to music from an early age as his father Antonio Giacomelli Benét was an Italian Disco accordionist and taught Donny to play the accordion and the electric bass.[2] Benét played his first shows as an accordionist and synth player in Italian bands around Sydney until in the mid-2000s.[3]

In 2010, Benét played in Jack Ladder's band The Dreamlanders and began recording his own songs in his studio Donnyland Studios. In 2011 he signed with Rice is Nice records and released Don't Hold Back, which was received with interest from Australian music media, publications praising Benét's sincere take on 80's pop music.[4][5][6]

In March 2020, Benét’s track "Konichiwa" was included on The Weeknd's 'Handpicked Playlist', which highlights 24 songs that inspired his album, After Hours.[7]

In March 2020, Benét announced the release of his fifth studio album Mr. Experience as well as an accompanying tour of Europe and Australia.[8][9] In April, many of these tour dates were postponed due to effects of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[10]

Benét said Mr. Experience was inspired by the stylings of Bryan Ferry and Hiroshi Yoshimura, and in order to produce the record, he "envisioned the soundtrack to a dinner party set in the late 1980s".[7] Mr.Experience was released on 22 May 2020 and debuted at number 26 on the ARIA Charts, becoming Benét's first release to reach the ARIA top 100.

In 2020, Benét's portrait, painted by Melbourne artist Tom Gerrard, was selected for the Salon des Refusés (Archibald).[11]

Influences and musical style[edit]

Benét in meet & greet after show in February 2020 at Rough Trade Brooklyn, New York[12]

Benét's music mostly consists of synthesizers, but also features electronic drum machines, saxophone and electric bass, all of which (excluding saxophone) are played by Benét.[13] Benét cites among his influences Jan Hammer, proponent of the Moog synthesizer and creator of the Miami Vice soundtrack,[2] as well as 1980s artists Alan Vega and Prince. The sexual nature of his lyrics arise from his experiences playing Tom Jones covers in the Airport Hilton Ballroom, Benét writing that he "had to sexualize his songs a lot more to keep (the audience) interested, make them a little bit more risqué, and I think that carried over to my own songs."[3] In a 2018 interview he explained, "I'm kind of always poking the piss at what a poor lover I am or you know, fictitiously what a great lover I could be."[14] Benét was described by KEXP as "a fun, baffling mystery of a performer, one who you’ll find yourself falling in love with from his charisma alone" on the debut of the single "Second Dinner" in August 2019.[15] Following the release of the single "Girl of My Dreams" in January 2020 during the North American Donny Benét Live tour, it was reviewed by Chicago Reader as a single that "is a tender ballad" and "Anchored by a wistful whistle, it has a relaxing feel that makes it perfect for catching your breath with a slow dance."[16]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with Australian chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Don't Hold Back -
Electric Love
  • Released: September 2012[19]
  • Label: Rice Is Nice Records (RINCD018)
  • Format: CD, digital download
Weekend at Donny's
  • Released: September 2014[20]
  • Label: Rice Is Nice Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
The Don
  • Released: 6 April 2018[21]
  • Label: Dot Dash Records (DASH047CD/DASH047LP)
  • Format: CD, LP, Digital download, streaming
Mr Experience
  • Released: 22 May 2020[22]
  • Label: Dot Dash Records (DASH064CD/DASH064LP)
  • Format: CD, LP, Digital download, streaming


List of singles
Title Year Album
"All 4 You"[23] 2012 Electric Love
"Her Hands" (Donny Benét special edition with Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders)[24] 2015 non-album single
"Working Out" 2016 The Don
"Konichiwa"[25] 2017
"Melodie"[26] non-album single
"Santorini"[27] 2018 The Don
"Beneath the Sheets"[28] non-album single
"Second Dinner"[29] 2019 Mr Experience
"Girl of My Dreams"[30] 2020
"Mr Experience"[31]

Awards and nominations[edit]

AIR Awards[edit]

The Australian Independent Record Awards (commonly known informally as AIR Awards) is an annual awards night to recognise, promote and celebrate the success of Australia's Independent Music sector.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
AIR Awards of 2021 Mr Experience Best Independent Pop Album or EP Nominated [32][33]

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. Donny Benét had received 2 nominations.[34][35]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2020 Mr Experience Best Adult Contemporary Album Nominated
Tim Rogers for Mr Experience by Donny Benét Best Cover Art Nominated

National Live Music Awards[edit]

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2016[36] Himself Live Bassist of the Year Won


  1. ^ Wilson, Julia. "Donny Benet". Rice is Nice Bios. Rice is Nice. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Wallen, Doug. "Donny Benet: It's a one man karaoke show". Mess and Noise. Mess+Noise p/l. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b Carr, Mikey. "Interview: Donny Benet". The Brag Magazine. The National Grid. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. ^ G, Nathan. "Donny Benet - Don't Hold Back". Fasterlouder Reviews. The Sound Alliance. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  5. ^ Cayley, A H (6 August 2011). "Donny Benet launches Don't Hold Back". Pedestrian Group LTD. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  6. ^ Downton, Chris. "Donny Benet – Don't Hold Back (Rice Is Nice)". Cyclic Defrost. Australia Council for the Arts. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Donny Benét was an inspiration for The Weeknd's latest album". NME. May 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  8. ^ Bruce, Jasper (4 March 2020). "Donny Benét announces Australian tour and new album". New Musical Express. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  9. ^ Benét, Donny (4 March 2020). "Donny Benét - Mr Experience (Album Announce)". Youtube. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Donny Benet". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Salon des Refusés 2020".
  12. ^ "Donny Benét". Rough Trade. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  13. ^ Egan, Sam. "Donny Benet live review". Timeout. Timeout group ltd. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  14. ^ Dan Webb (11 April 2018). "Donny Benét talks cricket, politics and being a hypocrite". Sungenre. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  15. ^ Dusty Henry (14 August 2019). "Self-Professed 'Adult Entertainer' Donny Benét Debuts New Music Video for "Second Dinner"". KEXP. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  16. ^ Blair, Ed (7 February 2020). "Donny Benét channels 80s influences with sly humor". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Australian Albums: The 1975 'Notes on a Conditional Form' Debuts At No 1". Noise11. 31 May 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Don't Hold Back (DD)". Apple Music. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Electric Love (DD)". Apple Music. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Weekend at Donny's (DD)". Apple Music. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  21. ^ "The Don (DD)". Apple Music. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Mr Experience (DD)". Apple Music. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  23. ^ "All 4 You - single". Apple Music. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Her Hands - single". Apple Music. 21 August 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  25. ^ "Konichiwa - single". Apple Music. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  26. ^ "Melodie - single". Apple Music. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  27. ^ "Santorini - single". Apple Music. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Beneath the Sheets - single". Apple Music. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  29. ^ "Second Dinner - single". Apple Music. 15 August 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Girl of My Dreams - single". Apple Music. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  31. ^ "Mr Experience - single". Apple Music. 30 April 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  32. ^ "Details confirmed for 2021 AIR Awards as nominees announced". The Music. 2 June 2021. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  33. ^ "2021 AIR Awards Winners". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  34. ^ "ARIA Awards 2020 Nominees". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  35. ^ "And the 2020 ARIA Awards Go To…". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Nominees 2016". NLMA. 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2020.