Stevie Starr began his musical debut at 21 performing folk music at the Jazz Blues Club in Hamilton.
After the performance, the owner of the bar suggested he change his name from Steve Nicoll to Stevie Starr.
Later that year he finished his Honours degree in Psychology and moved back to Wellington to develop more rock orientated songs, forming Stevie Starr with Brother John (John Dennison) and the Superfly (Simon Perris). In 2001, after moderate success in Victoria University's Battle of the Bands competition the band performed frequently in Wellington bars.
At the end of the year Starr travelled to Hamburg in Germany to perform well received solo gigs at venues close to the legendary Star club, the honing ground for The Beatles. Starr then moved to London, working odd jobs and performing at various venues. After being fired for failing to turn up to a bar tending job (Starr was detained by Police in relation to a May Day protest march), Starr teamed up with electric cellist, Pablo Cloud, to busk full time in Leicester Square. Here, they gained the attention of the editor of F magazine who produced one of their songs on his website.
Starr then travelled throughout Europe and returned to New Zealand in 2003 to record his debut album and pursue his love for writing as a freelance reporter.
Through working odd jobs Starr laid down the framework for his album, originally an avant garde concept entitled "e-pixel". The album may have remained this way if Starr hadn't been introduced to the ideas of Estonian composer Arvo Part.
Inspired and with new direction Starr teamed up with old band mate the Superfly to write string and piano "mirrored" compositions in an isolated log cabin in the Horowhenua forest.
Facing financial difficulties after Starr's insistence on elaborate recording sessions Starr's credit card was cancelled and he faced the prospect of not completing his ambitious project. He needed money and perspective. So, in 2007 Starr pursued his love for writing as the editor of Salient, the student magazine of Victoria University.
By doing so he both earned money and attracted controversy by publishing edgy content including an article describing "How to rip off WINZ" (New Zealand's social welfare department) and a satirical essay of American foreign policy which resulted in a meeting with Police.
'We Hope In All Things New' was released on 15 June 2009.
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Stevie Starr Album Release
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:03 pm
‘We Hope In All Things New’
Album Release Date: Monday 15 June 2009
Album Release Show: Thursday 18 June, The Mighty Mighty, Wellington
Lauded by the media as ‘one of the brightest new things on the New Zealand music scene’ (The Herald) and in the wake of his first single release ‘The Rising Tide of Conformity’ Stevie Starr releases his debut album ‘We Hope In All Things New’.
‘Blending classical compositions with sweeping pop movements, Wellington's Stevie Starr could well be one of the brightest new things on the New Zealand music scene. Influenced by Radiohead and Arvo Pärt, his inspired compositions are heartfelt, uplifting and really rather remarkable. Look out for his debut album, release June 15.’ The Herald
Also described as an ‘Act To Look Out For In 2009’ (Rip It Up Magazine) Starr’s debut album ‘We Hope In All Things New’ ‘juxtaposes straight vocal guitar pop with subversive lyrical themes. With moody electronic tinged compositions marinated in a propensity for emotive classical style arrangements; his debut is an enjoyable listening experience to say the least'. RIU
Starr says the album ‘was inspired by being dissatisfied with the state of the music industry in this country and the way in which creative culture is dominated by financial values, rather than artistic values.’ (The Wellingtonian, 23 April)
His live show will reflect these artistic values and was inspired by the city Budapest. One side of the city is Hungary’s cultural and artistic heart (Buda) and the other is its commercial capital (Pest). The band will improvise and only have one practice for each song on the ‘Buda’ side of the set, and will perform faithful and accurate renditions of some of the album’s tracks on the ‘Pest’ side of the set.
Starr says: “Music is really in a diabolical state. Bands get together and the first thinking is, ‘What is my image? What is my genre?’ I think the first thing should be, ‘What am I thinking? What do I feel?”
Following four years of recording determination, whilst managing a stint as editor of Victoria University magazine Salient, Starr’s LP will be distributed by Border Music.
His first single ‘The Rising Tide of Conformity’ was released on Tuesday 21 April, and is available as a free download (with voluntary koha), at www.thesteviestarr.com. His music video and single ‘We Hope In All Things New’ will be released in late June.
Please play any tracks you wish from ‘We Hope In All Things New’ as much as possible. It is yours. Stevie Starr would be most appreciative.
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