Bic Runga

Bic Runga Biography

Briolette Kah Bic Runga MNZM (born 13 January 1976 in Christchurch, New Zealand), recording as Bic Runga, is a New Zealand singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist pop artist. Her first solo album, Drive, 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.

Early life

Runga was born in Christchurch. Her mother, Sophia Tang, was a Chinese Malaysian lounge singer in Malaysia when she met Joseph Runga, a M?ori soldier on leave from Vietnam. They moved to New Zealand to live.

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 only 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, joining high school bands and performing with local jazz groups by her mid-teens.


Early career and Drive (1993"1997)

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 next released "Bursting Through", her first single from her upcoming album, also entitled Drive. Early success eventually led to the release of her 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.

Beautiful Collision, Birds, and Little Fish cameo (2000"2005)

In 2000, she 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. It was her third studio album in a row to enter the New Zealand charts at number one. The first single, "Winning Arrow", can be heard at her official site. Birds has currently gone triple platinum. Some other well known New Zealand artists that contributed to this album are Neil Finn (piano) and Anika Moa (backing vocals).

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.

Runga played a 'Vietnamese lounge singer' in the 2005 film Little Fish, and covered Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart".

Belle and recent work (2011")

Bic 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 Bic's then-unreleased fourth album Belle (album).

Belle is the fourth studio album, released in November 2011. The first track from the album, "Hello, Hello", was released as a free download in early September. Bic will tour New Zealand extensively in November and December.

Anthology is the best of album from Bic Runga to be released on 1 December 2012.

Personal life

Runga, born in New Zealand, has lived in New York for two years, Paris for a year, and London for a year. She has since returned home to New Zealand, where she lives with her son Joseph, and partner Kody Nielson. Bic is due to give birth to her second child in 2013.

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


In January 2006, Queen Elizabeth II made Runga a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Zealand New Year's Honours List.


Studio albums

Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1997 Drive
  • First studio album
  • Released: August 1997
  • Format: CD
49 1 "?
  • RIANZ: 7× Platinum
2002 Beautiful Collision
  • Second studio album
  • Released: 1 July 2002
  • Format: CD
41 1 55
  • RIANZ: 11× Platinum
2005 Birds
  • Third studio album
  • Released: 28 November 2005
  • Format: CD
26 1 154
  • RIANZ: 3× Platinum
2011 Belle
  • Fourth studio album
  • Released: 14 November 2011
  • Format: CD
97 5
  • RIANZ: Gold

Compilation albums

Year Album details Chart peak positions
2004 Even Better Than the Real Thing Vol. 2
  • An acoustic version of "Sway"
  • Released: 2004
  • Format: CD
2008 Try to Remember Everything
  • B-sides, outtakes, demos and live tracks
  • Released: 21 November 2008
  • Format: CD
2012 Anthology
  • Best-of compilation
  • Released: 23 November 2012
  • Format: CD

Live albums

  • Together in Concert: Live (2000) (with Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn)
  • Live in Concert with the Christchurch Symphony (2003)
  • The Acoustic Winery Tour " Ascension Vineyard, Matakana, NZ (2007)


  • 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" 10 7 93 26
"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" 92 3 78 27 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"
"If You Really Do"

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bic_Runga" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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