SEVEN years is almost an eternity in the music business. Most bands and artists have broken through and then faded away in that period.
Even the most committed Little Birdy fans must have believed they would never hear Katy Steele’s unmistakable voice on a full record again.
However, the long absence since Little Birdy’s third and final album, Confetti, in 2009 ended in October with the release on Steele’s eclectic solo debut, Human. In between there was a frustrating move to New York, two scrapped albums and a fruitful return to her hometown of Perth.
Having finally kick-started her solo career, Steele is promising that fans can expect a flood of new material. One of the records she refused to release during her New York stint is likely to see the light of day later this year.
“I was actually thinking of releasing some of it this year because it’s just sitting there,” Steele told the Newcastle Herald. “It just didn’t seem right for me to put that out at the very start after such a long hiatus. I wanted it to be more based around the songwriting and what I’m emotionally-attached to, which is what I put out.
“The stuff I did in America was more based around the production and less songwriting. I feel like I might as well put it out there and I probably will.”
Steele also plans to travel to New Zealand later in the year and begin recording newly-written songs.
“I’m hoping to keep the output pretty solid,” she said. “I don’t want to have such a long break ever again.”
Agonising over the finished product of Human proved a blessing for Steele. The 31-year-old veteran of the music industry has completely overhauled her sound.
The trademark indie-rock and country leanings of her former band Little Birdy and their hits Beautiful To Me, Relapse and Come On Come On has been replaced with electro soul, and even gospel flourishes – most evident on the album’s highlight, It Ain’t Me.
Steele is completely aware the change in direction and the long break between records means she needs to reintroduce herself to Australian music fans. That’s the purpose of her upcoming tour, which passes through Newcastle in February.
"I don’t want to have such a long break ever again."- Katy Steele
“I’m taking it with a grain of salt and realising it’s how it works no matter who you are,” she said. “I think it’s kind of cool where it is and where I am right now because it’s a different thing. You can’t expect people to sit around and wait for you to find your balance and sound.
“What I’m doing now is organic and really the first phase of a really long career. It’s really humbling and I want to find the right people and my audience. That’s the hardest thing these days because these days there’s so much noise. It just takes time to build up again.”
Katy Steele plays 48 Watt Street on February 26.
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