It was the gathering of the tribe at the Indi Bar this last Sunday, as Rick Steele took to the stage with his band, under the loving eye of son Luke and daughter, Katy.
Family members and old friends swapped stories and took photos when Luke – of Empire Of The Sun, DREAMS and The Sleepy Jackson – joined his father for a run through the classic Unchain My Heart and a song they co-wrote called Clive.
It was a rare moment, and while Katy Steele remained in the audience, her face beamed from the warm glow of family, having this month brought her new daughter, Iona, home to Perth for the first time.
“I guess nothing ever really changes at the Steele household,” she says of spending time with the family. “Which is good, it always feels like home. It feels really warm and my Dad’s still playing shows. It brings you back to what it was like being a child and now, having my own child, there’s a lot of intense kind of emotions running around, but it is such a really, really positive time for everyone.”
Steele’s 2016 solo album, Human, saw the former Little Birdy vocalist/guitarist back on the road gigging like she hadn’t done in years. In the latter half of 2017 she spent her pregnancy living quietly in New Zealand. There’s been songs she’s been working on over this time, but the effect of motherhood on her creativity and music is something that Steele is looking forward to embracing.
“I reckon it’s going to be more worldly and even more emotive,” she says of her new musical endeavours. “And, I guess less about me (laughs). The songs have always been written about relationships and they weren’t necessarily meant to be written about that stuff, but they just generally become about what you’re going through in your life and I guess now, having a baby, I’m not the most important person in the world anymore (laughs). You have this other human being that takes up everything, in a good way, it just becomes so important. This love that you didn’t know was possible to have.”
If anything, it appears that the birth of her daughter could be leading Steele into one of the most musically-productive phases of her life.
“She turned 9 weeks old today and I had my first show last Monday, so I’ve certainly gotten back on the horse pretty quickly,” the singer/songwriter notes. “I started doing some recording when she was three weeks old. Mind you, we’re doing that at my home, so things are fitting around her schedule.
“But I’ve found that I’ve been even more productive. When I was pregnant I kind of just steered away from everything and had a real break; I think I felt like I was done with music (laughs). But now the focus is really there and I’ve pretty much got half a record already done. It’s just a matter of retaining that focus and I’m really excited to see what comes out in the next couple of months when I sit at the piano and let it all fall out.
“It is one of the most insane things I’ve ever experienced, becoming a mother. And the most beautiful and important thing to ever happen to me.”
Catch Katy Steele Live At The Backlot: Up Close And Personal with Bob Gordon on Wednesday, June 13. Full details and tickets via www.facebook.com/events/2070258746585218/