Steph Casey is a singer-songwriter from the Kāpiti Coast of New Zealand. Her sound is a mix of indie-folk and alt-country, and her debut album landed at #4 in the New Zealand Independent Music (NZIM) Album Charts. Her songs have had more than 420k plays across platforms and have been licensed for NZ films.
In December 2020 Casey composed, recorded and produced a song for Porirua City, which featured a bespoke Karakia, a children’s choir and sections sung in Māori and Samoan. The song resonated strongly with the Porirua community, clocked up 10,000 Facebook plays in the first three days, and won a Porirua City Council award.
In 2019 Casey released the single At a Bar Downtown which the Official NZ Music Chart included in their “Ones to Watch” promo, which flags NZ tracks that are surging on radio and streaming platforms.
The single was followed by her second studio album The Seats in My Car (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 Seats in My Car received a five-star review from music.net.nz and a favourable review from respected NZ music writer Graham Reid.
The Seats in My Car album release at the iconic St Peters Hall in Paekakariki marked the beginning of a five-date NZ tour, with Casey travelling solo to the USA to perform four shows between NZ tour dates. in 2019 Casey featured on TV3’s The Cafe, in Next magazine, on RNZ’s Friday Live show with Jesse Mulligan and on The International Americana Music Show, which broadcasts on US radio and public radio stations around the world.
Film, and online following
In 2021 Steph Casey’s songs were used in the soundtrack of NZ feature Film Poppy. They have been used in the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s promotional video for the region, and for documentary videos. Casey has a solid international following on the streaming platform SoundCloud, where her song The Streets Round My House charted in the SoundCloud Indie Top Ten.
Achievements and influences
Casey won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Wellington Folk festival, and on the strength of her debut album, 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, Sisters Underground, Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Look Blue Go Purple, The Civil Wars, Anika Moa, and Glen Hansard.
Steph Casey performs mainly in the Kāpiti 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 money for causes she supports.
In 2010 Casey released a self-titled EP of original songs recorded by Lee Prebble 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 the invitation to make her second album stateside, 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 on drums, Alan Galloway on electric guitars and Murray Costello 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 had been performing her original material with at bars and cafes for 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.