Lee's solo career started at the age of 16, while he was still in Noise Addict. He began recording his first solo album, Grandpaw Would, in both Sydney and Chicago with producer Brad Wood. This was followed by the 1997 album, Something to Remember Me By, also produced by Wood. 1999's Breathing Tornados marked a new direction for Lee as he introduced synthesizers and increased instrumentation into his sound. The album was a success in Australia, with the first single, "Cigarettes Will Kill You", finishing second in that year's Triple J Hottest 100. Lee also enjoyed success with the single "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" from the album hey you. yes you.. It reached #22 on the 2002's Triple J Hottest 100.
In late 2004, Lee left Steve Pavlovic's Modular Recordings and started up his own record label, Ten Fingers. The first release on the label was the single, "Gamble Everything for Love", followed by the album, Awake Is the New Sleep in February 2005, which went double platinum in Australia. A defining release in his career, the album showcased a much brighter, positive side of Lee's personality, in contrast to his previous darker musings. Awake Is the New Sleep received several nominations for the 2005 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards, and Lee won Best Male Artist, Best Independent Release, and Single Of The Year for Catch My Disease, which Lee wrote with Mcgowan Southworth. Catch My Disease also went to #2 on the 2005 Triple J Hottest 100. In addition, the song was featured on the soundtrack to the 2005 film, "Just Friends," as well as the soundtrack to the television series, "Grey's Anatomy". In 2006 it was used in a television commercial for Dell Computers. On Sunday, March 26th, 2006 Lee performed We're All in This Together from his latest album Awake Is the New Sleep at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The single for "We're All in This Together" was released on the 8th of April, 2006. The CD includes b-side cover versions of the song by Pony Up, Holidays On Ice and Gelbison.
He has a mixed reaction in Australia. The Ataris criticize Ben Lee in a song of the same name, citing his music being "pretentious noise" and that he was lucky that he knew the Beastie Boys. Some of this criticism stems from the Bob Dylan-esque songs Ben plays and writes. Australian band Klinger also had a track titled Ben Lee with similar sentiments.
Powderfinger lead singer Bernard Fanning infamously called Lee a "precocious little c**t", but during a live broadcast on Triple J radio of the 2005 Hottest 100 at the Sydney Big Day Out, he was heard to retract the comment. Lee came second in the countdown to Fanning with the track "Catch My Disease."
What we have here is a 2007 recording of Lee covering the entire record of Against Me ‘New Wave’.