‘It feels like a rebirth’: Katy Steele is Big Star on new record

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


‘It feels like a rebirth’: Katy Steele is Big Star on new record

Credit: Michael Tartaglia
Words By Tammy Walters

Armed with her profound songwriting and ethereal talent, Perth’s Katy Steele has emerged brighter than ever with the news of a second studio album, Big Star.

Katy Steele has been a fixture in the Australian music landscape since millennium, sliding into the Perth music makeup alongside her dad Rick Steele & The Hot Biscuit Band, and brothers Luke and Jesse Steele with The Sleepy Jackson, with her first electric pop band The Plastik Scene in 2001.

A year later Matt Chequer, Simon Leach, Scott O’Donoghue and Steele exploded with indie rock riot Little Birdy with leaked demos of ‘Relapse’ and ‘Baby Blue’, songs that would reappear on their debut self-titled EP the following year.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

After showering the scene with BigBigLove, Hollywood and Confetti on the Little Birdy front, and metamorphosing into a solo being on Human, Katy Steele now takes on the stars with her sophomore splice. 20 years after her Little Birdy breakout and almost seven years after Human, Big Star has been rolling out over a pivotal period of Steele’s life.

“It’s been a little while. I’ve been so busy though, it probably doesn’t seem like it, I’ve been really busy in between records. I had a couple of kids in between,” Steele says. 

“We’ve been working on this record for the last two years pretty solidly. And the time before that, I was kind of just tinkering around with other things. I’ve always been working away but only now am I starting to release it.”

Big Star was created in the comfort of her own home studio alongside her life partner and bandmate Graham McCluskie. But being a rockstar and a mother of two young daughters meant time had to be allocated wisely to the project.

“Obviously I couldn’t have done it without daycare and help. I’ve had my mom who has been incredibly helpful throughout my life. She’s been like that with all of my sibling’s kids as well. She’s a bit like Mother Teresa. You’re working even if it is from home. But I found it quite easy to be able to switch into the work zone. Obviously, your hours are a lot more limited. Time is definitely the hardest thing to find now, so I have to be very cautious of where I spend my time now.”

Upbeat, energetic and brimming with pop nostalgia, new album ‘Big Star’ is quintessentially Katy Steele

Within that album allotment, Steele and McCluskie were able to create a phoenix album, drawing from the human condition, their shared sonic space and Steele’s current life position.

“It feels like a rebirth, and I feel like that lends itself to the title as well. It’s just like a new beginning and I feel like a lot of songs are about growth and they’re just generally about the human condition and what we all go through day-to-day. I feel like I always write songs about what we’re all experiencing – the highs and the lows – and trying to amplify that. Because this was such a collaboration between me and my partner I feel like this is just like the first of many albums in this kind of format. We’ve really found a way of working that works well for us. Our tastes really align sonically and we’re both on the same trajectory. So yeah, I see it as like a real rebirth and we’re not divorced so that’s good,” she laughs.

As always with Steele’s projects, her voice is the masterpiece, stacking jenga blocks of harmonies across octaves to create skyline towers of vocals. Singles ‘Come and See Me’, ‘End Is Near’ and ‘Feel So Bad’ offered a glimpse but Big Star is littered with Steele’s soaring pipes.

“It’s just something that becomes really organically and naturally. It’s one of the things you’re doing when you’re working is you just naturally start harmonising with yourself and you naturally start singing those layers and are like, “I’m harmonising”. I harmonise along to an alarm clock – I’m always singing. Harmonies are second nature to me so we will always rack it and build those stacks. I’m dramatic,” she laughs.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Katy Steele (@katysteele)

Big Star is bagged with a national tour, seeing Steele hit up a bunch of cities including Melbourne, Belgrave, Ararat and Castlemaine on the Victorian front. If her music videos are anything to go by, Steele will be bringing more than her larger-than-life vocals and electro-pop sound – a wardrobe of wonders will be another band member on tour.

“I’m working with my stylist at the moment to design something. I’m really excited to see what she comes up with.”

Local Tour Dates

Wednesday, 2nd August – Ararat Town Hall. Ararat
Thursday, 3rd August – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
Friday, 4th August – The Workers Club, Melbourne
Saturday, 5th August – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine

Tickets to see the Big Star Steele shine, as supported by Double J, are available here