Surf Coast singer-songwriter Libby Steel released the soulful single ‘Woman I Am’ last week, the latest intriguing taste of her new EP.
Originally growing up in the middle of rural Victoria, Steel’s stirring vocal talent was always going to take her away from her small town. With a powerful voice not dissimilar to London Grammar’s Hannah Reid, she performs honest songs about love and life.
‘Woman I Am’ follows the melancholic ‘Settle’ and the rousing ‘Ebbs & Flows’, with the song adding lush sonic extras to her singer-songwriting style: the production is cool and sultry, with Steel singing with assured charisma.
After impressing listeners at St Kilda Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival (more on that below) and supporting stellar artists like San Cisco and Allday, it’s set to be a big few years for Steel moving forward. There’s no release date for her EP yet, but the strength of its first singles should ramp up expectation for the record.
We recently caught up with the singer as part of our Get T0 Know series to find out more about her life and music.
Libby Steel’s ‘Woman I Am’ is out now.
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How did your artist name come about?
I didn’t get terribly creative as Libby Steel is my name. I guess this is my personal project, so it felt pretty fitting to put my name on it.
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
I think my grandma would be better at describing my music than me! She listens to all of my songs and loves sharing it with all her friends, as well as anybody else who will listen.
She would probably say that all the songs are different, but she likes my storytelling and my soulful voice that ties it all together.
Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?
The first track from my EP was ‘Ebbs & Flows’. It’s a summery folk-pop song that talks about falling in and out of love with the same person and that feeling of knowing one moment but not the next.
‘Settle’ is another folk-pop track that captures the essence of people settling into relationships they’ve outgrown because they’re getting a bit older and want to settle down. It’s a commentary on society’s expectations and the race against time. I wrote both songs and recorded them with John Castle (Cub Sport, Jack River, Washington).
What do you love about your hometown?
I grew up on a farm about three hours south west of Melbourne. When I tell people where I’m from, they always say “oh yeah! I’ve driven through there.”
I love the stillness, slow pace and fresh air. All the animals, old farm utes and gravel roads as well. Everybody in the area knows each other and they’re so supportive, you can’t go to the supermarket without stopping and having a chinwag with someone.
Career highlight so far?
In 2018 I won the triple J Unearthed competition to open Queenscliff Music Festival. I then played on St Kilda Festival’s Best New Music stage, and supported San Cisco which was a dream.
My current highlight has been the creation of my EP and finally being able to share snippets of it. It’s been a long time coming and makes me SO happy to finally be able to get it out and begin this new chapter.
Fave non-music hobby?
I’m a mad potter in my spare time and have acquired the nickname ‘Pots’ as I have made everything from dinner plates, mugs, vases, incense holders – you name it!
I love having another creative outlet for those days where I’m not in the music zone and find it really therapeutic. Plus my friends and family haven’t complained about the pottery pieces they receive every year!
What’s your dream rider?
A girl can dream! At this stage, I’m pretty chuffed with a tasty meal and just taking in the scene, and my band are pretty stoked with a couple of beers!
Dream music collaboration?
At the moment, I’m a big fan of Joy Crookes, Maggie Rogers, Arlo Parks, Fleetwood Mac, and London Grammar. I also adore the Aussie music scene and artists like Angie McMahon, Matt Corby, and Azure Ryder (just to name a few). So if you’re in the mood to collaborate, hit me up!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’ll still be creating, writing, collaborating, releasing, and touring. I’ll have a lot more life experience by then, so should have some good stories to share!
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A quote that has stuck with me over the last couple of years is “the journey is more important than the destination.”
It stuck with me because I’m a big over-thinker, and often didn’t appreciate the now because I was too fixated on the final goal. I’ve really learnt to slow down and take in all the little things along the way.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
If I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably be a winemaker. My family has a boutique vineyard and just released a label called Mt Emu Creek – it just won gold in the Adelaide Show!
I love learning about the process of winemaking, from picking, pruning, crushing, and the art of blending. To be honest, I’m probably more of a hindrance than a help, and drink far more than I actually make!