Steph Casey is a singer-songwriter who lives on the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. Her sound is a mix of indie-folk and alt-country, and her debut album Whisper & Holler went straight to number four in the NZIM Album Charts.
In June 2019 she released the single At a Bar Downtown which the Official NZ Music Chart included in their “Ones to Watch” post, which flags NZ tracks that are surging on radio, download & streaming platforms.
The single was followed by her second studio album The Seats in My Car (released 26 July, 2019). The album was recorded at The Surgery, Wellington, by multi-award-winning engineer Lee Prebble (Trinity Roots, The Black Seeds, Phoenix Foundation). Casey is backed by a stellar cast of New Zealand musicians including Caroline Easther (The Chills, The Verlaines, Beat Rhythm Fashion) on drums, Alan Galloway (Let’s Planet, Galloway) on electric guitars, Murray Costello (The Mockers, The Wooden Box Band)) on bass, and Alan Norman (The Warritahs, Rag Poets) on accordion and Hammond organ. The album received a five-star review from music.net.nz and a favourable review from respected NZ music writer Graham Reid.
Casey & band’s The Seatsi n My Car album release at the iconic St Peters Hall in Paekakariki was a triumph – the crowd hollering for more at the close of the show – and marked the start of a five-date NZ album release tour, with Casey travelling solo to the USA to perform four shows between NZ tour dates. On the release of the album Casey featured on TV3’s The Cafe, in a spread in Next magazine, performed on RNZ’s Friday Live show with Jesse Mulligan, The 13th Floor with Marty Duda (online TV interview and live music show) and featured on The International Americana Music Show, which broadcasts on 30 US radio stations, as well as public radio stations around the world.
The radio and online
The single At a Bar Downtown was added to the official playlist of RDU (student radio, Christchurch) and songs from Whisper & Holler have also featured on The International Americana Music Show. Two of Casey’s songs were licensed for the Kapiti Coast District Council‘s promotional video for the Kapiti region. Casey has a solid international following on popular streaming platform SoundCloud.com, with over 360,000 plays.
Achievements and influences
Casey won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Wellington Folk festival. On the strength of her debut, she was invited to the USA to record her second album with producer Jason Rubal (Robert Smith, Amanda Palmer). Among her musical influences are Over the Rhine, Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, The Civil Wars, Anika Moa, and Glen Hansard.
Steph Casey performs mainly in the Kapiti and Wellington regions. As well as her 2019 NZ and USA tours, she has appeared as a guest artist at the Wellington Folk Festival and many Wellington music showcases. In addition to cafés, house concerts and music venues, she has performed at the Mid-Winter Holler Americana festival, and at benefit concerts raising funds for cancer research and victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
2010 was marked by a self-titled EP of original songs recorded at The Surgery.
In 2013 she recorded full-length album Whisper & Holler, again with Lee Prebble at The Surgery, featuring Tom Callwood on bass (Phoenix Foundation, Little Bushman), Craig Terris on drums (Bachelorette, Lawrence Arabia) and Stewart Pedley on mandolin, lap steel, banjo and ukulele. Specific tracks also feature Janet Holborow (Cello – Bic Runga, Jess Chambers), Sharon Callaghan (viola – New Zealand Symphony Orchestra), and Ryan Prebble and James Coyle (percussion & keys – The Nudge). Whisper & Holler was produced by Steph Casey in association with production consultant Age Pryor – whose production credits include The Woolshed Sessions, Fly My Pretties and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. The album is Distributed by Rhythmethod and DRM NZ.
In July 2019 she released her second studio album The Seats in My Car. Despite having been invited to the US to record her sophomore album on the strength of her debut, Casey chose to record in Wellington with the musicians who had helped contribute to her new sound. She returned to the Surgery Studio with Lee Prebble at the control desk.
On The Seats In My Car Casey sings, plays acoustic guitar, and is backed by a stellar line-up of musicians, the core of which comprises the three principal members of indie-pop band Let’s Planet – Caroline Easther (The Chills, The Verlaines, Beat Rhythm Fashion) on drums, Alan Galloway (Let’s Planet, Galloway) on electric guitars and Murray Costello (The Mockers, the Wooden Box Band) on bass. These highly respected musicians have been playing together for three decades and you can hear the resulting tight, considered arrangements that lay down a solid foundation for Casey’s songs. The minimalist, melodic electric guitar of Alan Galloway, who Casey has been performing her original material with at bars and cafes for the past six years, lends just the right amount of grit to her acoustic guitar, adding a distinctive edge to the tracks. Among the other contributors on the album are Alan Norman (The Warratahs, Rag Poets) on accordion and hammond organ, Wellington singer-songwriter Hanne Jostensen on backing vocals, and Emily Clemmet (The Wooden Box Band, Ska Pai) on trumpet. The album is Distributed by DRM NZ.