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Katy Steele: Crazy for Katy

For a natural musician like Katy Steele, creativity flows through her veins. While this singer, songwriter and all-around artistic chick is best known for fronting Australian indie rock band, Little Birdy, Katy is now all grown-up and gone solo. With the impending release of her first solo album, Katy says she is excited to bring her new music to the world. “Music is my outlet,” she reveals. “I just sit at the piano and let it fall out. It’s natural for me, even through hard times. That’s why I do it, because I’m meant to do it.” 

Katy was first exposed to musical greatness from birth, with her dad Rick Steele, an accomplished blues musician. He can still be found playing shows today. “Dad had a blues club so my family and I grew up around musicians,” she recalls. “My brother Luke [that is the Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun and The Sleepy Jackson fame] started playing guitar, I started on bass, and my brother Jesse played the drums.”

When Katy sang at her brother’s 21st birthday bash in front of guys like Eskimo Joe and Jebediah, guitarist and keys player Simon Leach took to her melodic voice immediately and approached her to get together. “I wanted to start a band,” Katy remembers. “So Little Birdy was put together. The very first songs I wrote were Baby Blue and Beautiful To Me. I was only eighteen, and I just went with it, gave it everything I had. But I was very young and naïve and had a lot to learn.” Playing to sellout crowds at concerts across Australia, Katy recalls her time with Little Birdy as fast-paced and hard work. But when Little Birdy took an indefinite break, Katy needed to keep moving. she decided to challenge herself and head to Brooklyn, New York. “I always wanted to live the cliché New York lifestyle,” she reveals. “I had it on a pedestal in terms of the music world, so I wanted to experience that for myself.”

From the Big Apple, Katy acquired all the educational tools of an artist thirsting to add life experiences to her cache. It was particularly after conquering the tasks of productions that Katy would return to Perth to kick-start her solo career. “I definitely had a very interesting time there. It was up and down,” Katy discloses. “I basically got back from America and was in the family home when a lot of songs came out,” she said. “ Processing those experiences into songs was a pivotal moment for me,” she notes. Creating a solo album was an idea Katy had been toying with for the past four years, an has been a distinctly solitary project. All her experiences and talents have come to the forefront as writer and performer of an album with many stories to tell. “It’s finally at a point where it’s so right that I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement,” she announces. “I’m proud to put something out and I’m excited to be on stage and in my element again.”

Katy returns to the stage sooner than expected, with her attendance confirmed for BIGSOUND Live. As Australia’s premier international music conference and artist showcase, BIGSOUND rolls out across Brisbane in September. “I’m really pumped to meet some of the panel speakers coming for BIGSOUND,” Katy reveals. “I’m hoping to have a single released around this time.” She promises her new album will be very rhythmic and percussive, as a combination of all her favourite things. “I just feel like it couldn’t get more me,” Katy notes. “Fans of Little Birdy will be happy because it still combines what I’m all about – a great song. I’m really pumped about taking it out to the world. It’s going to be a global approach to a solo project and I’m excited about the world hearing it.” 

Photographer: Bonnie Hanson

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