Beginning an obsession with music from the age of five when she started playing piano, it seemed inevitable that Steele would make it in the music industry. Attempts at classically training her as a singer and composer proved futile as her single-mindedness in creating only the music she felt meant something to her led to a fundamental change in direction towards sound which was both cinematic but resolutely progressive. Features in Rolling Stone (three times!) and at Elle’s 2017 fashion show put her at the brink of something huge but tragedy struck when Steele was struck down with meningitis, leaving her with epilepsy and a complete lifestyle change. This has merely forged her resolve further to succeed as well, as well as turning her into in 2018’s ultimate anti-rock star.
Born Sara Steele in Stockholm, Sweden, Steele’s defiantly rogue take on pop takes in influences from game-changers such as Portishead and Lana Del Ray – it’s groaning with hooks, melody and lyrical twists but makes no concession to mainstream demands. Along with producers, Charles and Dejan, the work which has gone into Paroxysm reveals layers upon layers of textured atmosphere, allowing for tracks to continually reveal something new upon each listen. The five-minute track, “8AM”, is a devastating torch song worthy of closing a season of Twin Peaks, whilst “Looking for You” shows a far less vulnerable side, with a robotic attack which brings Ladytron to mind. An album of huge emotion, there are seemingly paradoxes in each track, a fractured perfection which can only come from the artist having poured every ounce of their life experience into it, warts and all.