Born and raised in Elmhurst, Benna, who was named after her maternal Maltese grandfather, was an only child to her real estate father and entertaining mother. They were regulars in community theater and encouraged their daughter to perform as well. This meant playing piano and acting, and such activities allowed Benna to grow spiritually and emotionally. When her family moved to nearby Hartsdale as Benna was entering junior high, a rude awaking would stop Benna in her daydreaming tracks. Early adolescence is riddled with self-esteem issues thanks to cliques, and naturally Benna experienced the ups and downs of being a young teenager. To save herself from dwelling on being made fun of for her funky clothes, Benna immersed herself in art and singing lessons, tennis, dance, and acting classes. Summers spent in Malta allowed Benna to craft her music; she grew into her wispy, honeyed voice and learned to play guitar. The music of the Runaways, Emmylou Harris, the Roches, and Rickie Lee Jones carried Benna into college, where she developed as a writer of non-fiction, poetry, and prose. Brief acting stints in London and Manhattan as well as acting classes with Julie Bovasso tied her over for a short period of time, but it would take a move to the East Village to ultimately inspire Benna to bring her songs to the forefront.
In the early '90s, Sin-e was a popular dwelling spot for up and coming singer/songwriters, most notably Jeff Buckley, Sarah McLachlan, and Paula Cole. Benna found Sin-e to be a saving grace, a place where she could finally belong. She had enough courage to record a self-made demo with her pal Judson Wright as grunge took over mainstream radio; the lo-fi Tunnel Songs sold well at local shows, leaving CMJ and The Village Voice to praise Benna and pushing her into the indie underground. In 1996, Greetings from Port Authority was issued on Evil Teen, capturing Benna's lush illustrations of her beloved New York. Tours across North America followed into the new millennium. Benna's brightest material to date, What's Meant to Be, appeared in 2003. ~ MacKenzie Wilson