“Tough Guy” was the first single ever released by New Zealand singer/songwriter BENEE (Stella Rose Bennett) in December 2017, through New Zealand label “A Label Called Success”. “Tough Guy” was written by BENEE’s longtime collaborator Josh Fountain as well as Djeisan Suskov, with Fountain producing “Tough Guy”.
“Tough Guy” is a slow indie track, with BENEE poking fun at a guy who is romantically interested in her, but she sees through all his lies as well as his “Mr.Tough Guy” act. In a radio interview with WNYU Radio in May 2020, BENEE spoke about “Tough Guy” and how she feels her writing has changed since that first release:
“I think “Tough Guy” for me was the first song that I made that I liked (laughs) I think I had made a lot of songs where I was kind of like “this isn’t the sound that I’m wanting to make”. But I don’t know, I was listening to a lot more R&B than I listen to now. I still love R&B and all of that kind of stuff. But I think, you know, I was listening to — I love The Internet and Steve Lacy— he’s more indie — a lot of that kind of stuff when I made “Tough Guy”, and even trap, trappy kind of stuff, and I think that you can hear that more so in the production. And I think, to compare that to now, I think with everything new that I make, I like to go into it and be more experimental now. I was maybe more afraid to do that earlier on, but yeah. I think even thinking about comparing “Tough Guy” to my EP STELLA & STEVE— with STELLA & STEVE I was listening to a lot more indie music and I think that what you listen to definitely influences what your music sounds like. And I think it’s been interesting to see how I’ve been listening to different stuff and it’s been rubbing off on the music that I’ve been making. And I think that for my new music— for the album I think that definitely listening to new stuff now it’s like, ok the album is going to sound very different to “Tough Guy”. It’s cool how you can do anything with creating.”
The music video for “Tough Guy” was released on BENEE’s YouTube channel on the 8th December 2017 and was directed by Jordan Arts. The video shows BENEE with a group of female friends, while images of a red sky and a young man getting his shirt ripped off are intertwined throughout the video. As of mid-August 2020, the video has over 1 million views and over 17 thousand likes.
Release Date: 8th December 2017
Songwriter/s: Djeisan Suskov & Josh Fountain
Producer: Josh Fountain
Label: A Label Called Success
Music Video Release Date: 28th February 2018
Music Video Director: Jordan Arts
Chart Rankings: “Tough Guy” failed to reach mainstream charts, however the song does have over 5 million global streams on Spotify.
The lyrics to “Tough Guy” can be viewed here: LINK