Taken from the February Issue of Dazed & Confused:
“Stevie Neale’s "Dangerous" has these super-catchy vocal hooks and lush chord-changes not dissimilar to some of my favourite house records. I would describe her music as honest pop music with an unexpected level of swagger. I honestly think she could write a classic pop record entirely on her own!” - Star Slinger
Six months ago, Stevie Neale moved from Cornwall to London, armed with the soulful voice of an R&B diva, a self taught aptitude for piano and an iPod stacked with Missy and Timbaland mp3s. “I wanted to start afresh,” says the self-made singer over coffee in her new home of Hackney. “When I moved here suddenly my whole life was different, so I changed my name. I wasn’t always Stevie Neale.” Two months later, she debuted her electric, dub-influenced pop on the BBC Introducing stage at Hackney Weekend, just before Savages.
It was far from the 24-year-old’s first time in front of a mic stand, but you won’t find any trace online of her extensive performances on the south west gig circuit. “When I was in Cornwall I did over 200 gigs in bars and pubs on my piano,” Neale recalls, deftly swerving questions about the name she went under back then. “When I first started out I played my own material, but I would get people shouting at me for Status Quo and stuff like that! So I put Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye covers in my set to keep them happy.”
She may have been gritting her teeth, but the classic material proved to be solid groundwork for Neale’s strikingly soulful voice, as heard on her popping debut single, “Dangerous”, which she self-produced and released on Whitelabel in November. It’s a fantastically catchy bass anthem about falling for the wrong guy. “He was a lot older than me,” Neale explains. “The situation was dangerous. You know, you shouldn’t be getting yourself into something if you know it’s going to hurt you.”
As we part ways, Neale’s going home to work on a new track, “Obsession”, which she’s co-producing with Two Inch Punch ahead of her forthcoming EP, to be released in early 2013. “I’m getting used to collaborating with other people in the studio,” she smiles. “I always worked by myself, but I’m opening up alot more.”
Follow Owen Myers on Twitter here: @Owen_Myers
Photography by Dan Wilton