It mightn’t be officially released until January, but Behani’s new single, “Real Man”, a collaboration with US singer-songwriter and producer Ne-Yo, has already hit the number two spot on the Australian Shazam charts.
The follow-up to her debut single, “Let Me Know”, also went to number one on the Shazam chart in Brisbane and number two in Miami, the singer’s US base where she records at Circle House Studio with acclaimed producer Scott Storch (The Roots, Dr Dre, Nas). The song has also been added to CADA, Nova, Hit and Hot Tomato.
The organic momentum that is building for “Real Man” is yet another pleasing development for the Melbourne born and bred Behani – aka Rebekah Behbahani – who was thrilled to have the opportunity to record with the respected R&B superstar.
“That was an amazing story,” she recalls. “I was working again with Scott at Circle House Studios in Miami. Ne-Yo was meant to be part of the writing camp for this song, he wasn’t meant to be on it. We all met in Miami and started to create the beat to get to Ne-Yo so he would work on the conceptual side of the song and start writing on it.
“We had the beat which I was very excited to release and after we finished the song Ne-Yo said to me, ‘what do you think if I hop on for a verse?’
“That was a really big moment in my career. Ne-Yo is an absolutely talented legend with his ability to perform and his writing abilities, so for him to come and ask me that question was really big moment.”
Behani releases music through her independent label, Stormness Records, named after her two-year-old daughter. While big things had once been in the offing for her in the corporate world, music had always been her passion and she decided to devote herself to it completely to it.
“I’ve always been about music,” Behani says. “I don’t think it’s something that you just turn on, I think it’s a part of who you are. Whether you make that into a profession is a big decision, but music has always been a part of me.
“I started from my small home studio at 15 and loved how it would make me feel a variety of things, especially being a teenager. I thought it was such a great way to channel my emotions and music connected me to my emotional side during that time.
“And at that time when I finished Year 12, I started working in the corporate world, very different to what I’m doing today but mum and dad always wanted me to take a more traditional path, as a lawyer or a doctor, having that Mediterranean background, and I agreed to go down that path. So I worked for a while but then I just wanted to do my music wholeheartedly and professionally.
“They were worried that music was also a very competitive world but for me music is never a competition. To me it makes you a better person by inspiring you to take a lead. It was a big decision for me to bow out of my corporate world where I achieved success, but sometimes risks open great doors in life.”
After sending demos of her songs to Storch, Behani has since worked with French Montana, and DJ Khaled. On top of Real Man’s official release next month, she has also been working with Afrobeat producers Sarz and Davido, and reggaetón producer Tainy, and plans to release EPs of those genres in the coming year.
Clearly Behani – who performs this week at the Flytime Festival in Lagos – plans on having a multifaceted career.
“Absolutely,” she affirms. “I don’t think I’m one-dimensional in personality or anything otherwise. I’m extremely multi-dimensional in every aspect of my life and music really is my alter ego.”
Behani’s “Real Man” (ft. Ne-Yo) is out now.