Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ben Lee

Ben Lee.

I know he's a musician.

I've heard some of his songs, but I can't think of the name of any of them.

I know I had one song on my YouTube playlist about smoking or cigarettes.

I think I shall stop revealing my embarrassing ignorance, and start doing research.

Lord Wiki says baby Ben was born on 11 September 1978. That means 9/11 happened on his twenty-third birthday.

Birthday website time!

He's a Virgo in astrology, just like my mom.

Virgos are the critical ones. This website says they also have good hygiene. That's good to know. Maybe we need more Virgos working in hospitals. Perhaps then there'd be less super bugs coming out of them.

Lee is a 9 in numerology. That's my younger sister's number. It's all about being a humanitarian--saving the world. We need more of these people in hospitals as well. My sister USED to work in a hospital. Now she works in a doctors' office. Either way....she's helping sick children.

Lord Wiki doesn't go much into little Ben's childhood. He does say he was raised in a Jewish household. I think I actually learned that previously. Like me, Ben no longer really does the Judaism stuff.

He went to school at Moriah College. Oh! It's a Jewish school. I think this is the first time I've encountered a Jewish school in my research; well, at least in the biography posts. I think I might have looked at schools when I did my post on Judaism in Australia.

The school is in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

That's about all Lord Wiki has on Lee's childhood stuff. Hopefully, I'll find more information later. In the meantime, I'll look at what Lord Wiki has on his career.

He says Lee's music career began at the age of fourteen. He was part of a band called Noise Addict. The band was pretty successful.

Here's a song with young Ben singing.

It's cute, but I can't understand why the band was so successful.  What makes this better than all the other young singers out there playing around?

I don't know much about music though. I'm not really one to judge.....

I'm reading about how the band became successful.

They recorded a demo.

They did a concert.

They were then discovered by a music executive named Steve Pavlovic. He sent their music to Sonic Youth. And I guess all that helped Lee become a young success.

When Lee was only sixteen, he went off and did the solo career thing. Oh no wait. He didn't leave Noise Addict. I guess he stayed with them, but at the same time did the solo career stuff.

His first solo album was called Grandpaw Would.

Then there was an album called Something to Remember Me By.

And next came Breathing Tornadoes. I like that name. It's very creative.

The latter album got Lee some ARIA nominations: best male artist, best album, and best single. I don't think he won anything though.

The single was for the cigarette song I mentioned earlier. It turns out it's called "Cigarettes Will Kill You".

Lee's fourth album was Hey You Yes You. Two fairly popular songs from that were "Something Borrowed Something Blue" and "Running with Scissors"

In 2004, Lee broke away from Steve Pavlovic and started his own record label. It's called Ten Fingers.

His first release under that label was a single. "Gamble Everything For Love".

Then he released an album called Awake is the New Sleep. Is that an insomnia thing? The album brought him more ARIA nominations. This time he won! He won best male artist, best independent release, and best single.

The single was "Catch My Disease". I remember that song. I have it on my Playlist. It's a fun song.

Lord Wiki says it has been featured on some movie and television soundtracks....Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, Just Friends, and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.

It was also used in a computer commercial.

Lee played another song from the album at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. It's called "We're All in This Together". I like that title. I hadn't heard the song before. It's nice.

It turns out there's a song with the same title from High School Musical. It's cute, but I think I prefer the Ben Lee one.

Ben Lee's "We're all in this Together" has been used in various commercials including one for the South Australian government.

Lee's sixth album was titled Ripe. It was released in 2007. Mandi Moore made a cameo appearance. She did a duet with Lee.

I don't know much about Moore, but I have this video featuring her saved to my YouTube favorites. It uses a song I loved from Eli Stone. Oh never mind. The video is gone. The song is still there though. I LOVE it. It's what first introduced me to Joshua Radin.

Oh....Now I'm sitting here missing Eli Stone.

Joshua Radin needs to migrate to Australia so I can write a post about him.

But for now, I'll talk about Ben Lee.

His most recent album came out this February, the month we were actually in Australia. It was called The Rebirth of Venus. One song from that album is "I Love Pop Music"

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki.

What comes next?

I guess we'll go to his main official site thing.

One of his songs was recently featured on the show So You Think You Can Dance. I think my sister and parents watch that show.

Lee is married to Ione Skye. I think I've heard of her. She's an American actress. Maybe?

Nope. I'm wrong. She's British.

What has she been in?

Ah. Say Anything. I think that's what I recognize her name from. I don't think I've actually seen that movie though. I'm aware of that famous scene.

I'm seeing that YouTube folks like to do boombox homage videos.

Lee's website has a list of all his songs and his lyrics. Maybe I'll read through them; see if there's anything I like.

Here's some cute lyrics from a song called "How Can That Be?"

I'd say if you were a kitty, I'd be the litter
But I don't think that's a suitable metaphor me

The first line sounds like a Phoebe Buffay Song.

These lyrics from a song called "How To Survive a Broken Heart" are poignant.

And the things you said
Do they still make sense
Could you mean them now
Did you even mean them then
I could torture myself Insane and tense
But I don't have the strength
Well, that's about all the lyrics I want to look at for now.

Now I'm looking at his blog. If I'm reading this right....I guess he and his wife are expecting. That just reminded me of a joke in Paul Reiser's parenting book. I forgot the exact joke, but he was poking fun at the somewhat annoying What to Expect When You're Expecting series. Reiser said something like What to Expect When You're Expecting, not a baby But a Package from UPS. Or maybe it was Federal Express. I forgot. But it was cute. At least I thought it was.

I'm looking at Lee's other blog entries. He writes down hard truths about himself.

1. He has no idea who he is.

I can help him there. He's Ben Lee.

2. He holds grudges.

Okay. I'll try to stay on his good side.

Three and Four are boring to me.

The fifth one reveals he fears his own mortality.

I fear my mortality, but mostly only because I don't want to leave my child without a mother. I more fear the mortality of those around me that I love.

He has a post about his wedding which was Hindu. I've heard about this wedding before. I think I ran into it when researching Missy Higgins. I guess she was one of the guests.

I'm wondering if he's Hindu, or just wanted to have a Hindu wedding to look cool. I'm guessing (and HOPING) it's the former.

He says, We are still processing everything that happened on that trip. Not just the wedding, but also seeing so many people we love come and be touched by Amma and His message in different ways.

I'm guessing maybe Amma is a Hindu God?

I should look this up.

It seems to be some kind of spiritual leader. Lord Wiki has a couple Ammas listed though. I'm not sure which one Lee has latched on to.

There's Mata Amritanandamayi, Sri Karunamayi, and Bangaru Adigalar. They're all known as Amma.

Oh wait. I think I found his Amma and it's none of the above. His Amma is Sakthi Narayani Amma. Here's his website. I am going to have to explore it. I love learning about religions. I'm wondering if I'll like this one, or if it give me the creeps.

It sounds like it's a religion dash charity. They help the needy in India.

They provide medical assistance.

They provide education.

They provide pretty parks for people to relax in and explore their spirituality.

They help the environment.

The website doesn't really mention what they believe.

I don't know what to think.

It sounds like they do a lot of good. I guess.

Amma is a guru and seems to be worshiped. I'm not big on that.

This website gives a little more insight.

It says, Please be aware that to be in the presence of Amma is considered to be a blessing.

That's a bit too much for me personally. I guess it depends on what we believe and how that statement is perceived. If he's a great man who does great things; then yes I think it would be a blessing to be near him. If it's just about him having fame, charisma, and power, then no I can't jump on board.

Okay. Here's another website. I guess he's an incarnation type person. And I respect that. I mean I'm not sure I believe in it. But I respect other people believing in it. I'm not sure I'd personally have reference towards this man just because he's believed to be the reincarnation of someone important.

His teachings seem pretty okay. It reminds me a lot of Buddhism-stuff about desire causing sin. He says,

There are many ways to eliminate sin in one's life .One of the very important ways is to first seek happiness and satisfaction in what one already has. In that case this satisfaction or gratitude will create less agitations in the mind; when this happens they will experience happiness and peace of mind.

I pretty much agree with that.

I think it's okay to want things and to make goals. But if your desire is too strong it can cause problems.

For awhile, my desire to move to Australia was very strong. It tormented me. I was miserable.

Now that I've made peace with the situation, I'm a little better in that regards. I'd still like to move to Australia, but I no longer feel as if my happiness depends on it. I know I have other things in my life that bring me happiness.

Here's an essay about Lee's Hindu wedding. It's written by Josh Radnor, one of the stars of How I Met Your Mother. Tim and I used to watch that show; but somehow we got way far behind.

Wait. Radnor says I have it all wrong. Amma is NOT a guru. He's an avatar which is a divine manifestation that assumes human form at a crisis point in history to help us get our collective act together. That sounds a lot like a messiah.

This is kind of cool. Although Amma is a man, the spirit that he's an incarnation of is believed to be female.

Radnor is a pretty damn good writer. I like this paragraph:

What exactly was so unsettling about watching what looked to be a tubby Indian dude painting a cow or moving candles in a slow circle around a gold statue? And yet, if this was pagan nonsense, why was my nose pressed against the glass like a street urchin watching the wealthy feast? A kind of crippling doubt descended. I wanted proof. Walk on some water, for God's sake, make the cow fly, hit it! Was this Amma divine or one of the world's great megalomaniacs?

I think that's how I feel about these things.

Radnor says that at the wedding they did the hora. For those of you who are not familiar with Jewish weddings, the hora is a wild and crazy fun moment involving the song Hava Nagila. Maybe they have a video of it on YouTube. I'll go check in a second.

When we did the song at my sister's wedding, my niece Ellie got stuck in the middle of it with her mom. The poor two-year-old was terrified of all these people singing and dancing. My sister tried to make an escape, but it was hard.

Here's a video of the hora. This is from Ken and Andee's wedding.

I got to say. There's not much about Judaism that I love anymore. But I do love the hora. It's such a fun dance. It's so festive. Although I don't like the dangerous part. They pick the guests of honors up in a chair. That's VERY scary. Well, I don't see anything on the web about people getting killed from chair lifting. Maybe it's not so dangerous.

Anyway, Josh Radnor says, if you have the chance, I highly recommend doing a hora in India—few things will make you feel more hopeful about the fate of the world.

I'm really finding this Radnor guy extremely endearing. Maybe he should also migrate to Australia so I can do a post about him. OR maybe I can start a blog about people named Josh. I can write about Josh Radin, then Josh Radnor. I had an awesome brother-in-law named Josh. I can write about him. And I have an adorable toddler cousin named Josh. That's only four posts, but I'm sure I can find more Josh out there.

Radnor talks about meeting with Amma. It's interesting because he uses the pronoun "she" to refer to him.

Ah shit. This is beautiful. Radnor's last line. I think I know at least one thing Ben and Ione found in Amma, even if I was only able to get a taste: The byproduct of contact with the divine—if such a thing is contactable—is not raised voices or fists; it is silence, still and deep.

Radnor really needs to go into writing. I really like his stuff. I actually have a little tear in my eye right now.

I'm going to look at Ben Lee's MySpace now.

His music was used in the trailer for He's Just Not That Into You. I would love to see that movie. I just watched the trailer. I don't hear Ben Lee in it. Maybe I watched the wrong trailer. Or maybe I'm just missing the song.

All right. Where should I go next?

He didn't do an Enough Rope interview.

Any good interviews out there?

Here's one from a NY publication. It's from 2003.

He made an album right after 9/11. Also, his dad had recently died.

He says, I was really sick of the pressure I was putting on myself before to be perfect, and to kind of look at these things like there was a right and a wrong way. Now I'm thinking more and more about wanting my work to reflect more complexity and gray areas.

I like that.

He was in a movie. I'm going to look at it on IMDb.

The Rage in Placid Lake.

It's an Aussie comedy.

IMDb lists the TV shows and movies his songs have been in. Something about Mary is one of them. I have that soundtrack. I guess I've heard the song then. I don't remember it though.

I just found it on my i-Tunes. It's called "How To Survive a Broken Heart". Oh wait! That's the lyrics I quoted above. Maybe on a subconscious level I remembered hearing it, and that's why I liked it.

Here's the song on YouTube if anyone wants to hear it.

I'm looking at IMDb some more. There's a bit of trivia.

He got married on 29 December 2008. On that day, I posted about David Hicks. I don't think it's the day I wrote about him though. The day I wrote about him was the day I hurt my little toe.

Jack made eggs that morning, and we read about an American pilgrim.

And the night before Jack threw up all over our bed. That was traumatic for me because I have a vomit phobia. After the vomit, we eventually went to sleep. I had a lucid dream in which I had to choose between going through a mirror or window.

I picked the mirror. Wow. Does that mean I'm vain?

My spirit guide cards said that morning try to be calm and enjoy life.

I stopped using those spirit guide cards--mostly because the messages would freak me out. I started making horrible interpretations.

I'd see try to be calm as something horrible is going to happen. Be calm about it.

I'd see enjoy life as enjoy it now because in a few days you'll be dead.

Anyway, all that happened on the day Ben Lee got married.

What did you guys do on December 29 2008?

I think we should write a book called What We Did the Day Ben Lee Married Ione Skye.

The funny thing is Jack vomited the night before their wedding. Tim vomited the night before my sister's wedding (not the wedding where my niece got stuck in the hora. This was my other sister's wedding)

Okay. Back to the trivia.

He's a longtime boyfriend to Claire Danes. Who is she with now? She's engaged to Hugh Dancy. I have no earthly idea who that is.

He moved to New York when he was eighteen. That would be 1996...right? That's the same year I moved to NYC! What a coincidence. Maybe we were neighbors.

Well, I think I'm going to stop here.

I had fun.

I needed fun. Thanks, Ben Lee. And THANK YOU to Josh Radnor. He's AWESOME. I need to start watching his show again. If you've never seen that show, you at least might want to watch the Robin Sparkles video.


  1. Sorry Dina, but I would have found Brett Lee more interesting :)

    But if you're going to profile a cricketer I'd love to read your thoughts on Andrew Symonds. He's a complex character.

  2. Michael,

    I'll add him to the list....

    Thanks : )