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Bic Runga

Bic Runga performing live in Dublin
Background information
Birth name Briolette Kah Bic Runga
Born 13 January 1976 (1976-01-13) (age 34)
Origin Christchurch, New Zealand
Genres Pop/Folk
Instruments Vocals
Labels SonyBMG New Zealand

Briolette Kah Bic Runga MNZM (born 13 January, 1976) is a New Zealand singer-songwriter whose first solo album, Drive, debuted at number one in the New Zealand RIANZ charts, and has since become one of the highest-selling New Zealand artists of all time. Runga has also found success internationally in Australia, the Republic of Ireland and to some extent in the UK.

Regarding the pronunciation of "Bic": "'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.'"[1]

Both Elton John and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page can be counted amongst her fans.[2]

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




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 Māori 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.

Musical career

Early releases

Runga and Kelly Horgan entered the 1993 smokefreerockquest in Wellington under the name of "Love Soup". They won 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. She next released "Bursting Through", her first single from her upcoming album, also entitled Drive.

Drive (1997)

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", both made their way into the film 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.

Together in Concert: Live (2000)

In 2000, she toured with Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn, resulting in a release of a live album of the tour.

Beautiful Collision (2002)

Runga released her second solo album, Beautiful Collision, in 2002. It entered the New Zealand charts at number one.

Birds (2005)

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.

Try To Remember Everything (2008)

Released on 29 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 December 14, 2008, selling over 7,500 copies.[3][4]

Personal life

Runga moved to New York for a while, but then decided to move back to New Zealand, lived in Paris for a year, and then London. Runga has since returned home to New Zealand.

In January 2007, Runga announced on her MySpace blog that she was pregnant[5]. On Friday 20 July, Bic gave birth to a baby boy, the first child for her and her partner, photographer Darryl Ward. Bic's son has been named Joseph, after her late father.


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Studio albums

Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1997 Drive 49 1 -
  • RIANZ certification: 7× Platinum.
2002 Beautiful Collision
  • Second studio album
  • Released: July 1, 2002
  • Format: CD
41 1 55
  • RIANZ certification: 11× Platinum.
2005 Birds
  • Third studio album
  • Released: November 28, 2005
  • Format: CD
26 1 154
  • RIANZ certification: 3× Platinum.

Live albums



Year Title Chart positions Album
1996 "Drive" 7 5 Drive
"Bursting Through" 33
1997 "Sway" 10 7 41 (1999) 6 (1999)
"Suddenly Strange" 26
"Roll into One" 48
1998 "Hey" 27
1999 "Good Morning Baby" 15 Single-only
"Sorry" Drive
2002 "Get Some Sleep" 92 3 78 27 Beautiful Collision
"Something Good" 4 12
2003 "Listening for the Weather" 14
2005 "Winning Arrow" 23 6 Birds
2006 "Say After Me"


Bic Runga has made an alternative version of Sway for Even Better than the Real Thing Vol. 2
Try to Remember Everything (2008) is a collection of b-sides, outtakes, demos and live tracks spanning 1996-2008. Includes the new song "Everyone Must Love".

Film career

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


External links

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Bic Runga]] Bic Runga (born January 13, 1976) is a singer from New Zealand. She has sold lots of music albums in New Zealand.

The names of her albums are:

  • Drive
  • Beautiful Collision
  • Live in Concert (With the Christchurch Symphony)
  • Birds


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