Origin: Comox, British Columbia
Chrissy Steele is a two-time Juno nominee from Victoria, BC, Canada-not a terrible loss considering she was up against Alanis Morrisette and Rush.
Her debut album “Magnet to Steele” was released by Chrysalis/EMI records in the 90s. The label pushed the project hard, putting over $2 million US (in today’s $) into promoting the Brian Macleod produced gem.
With Macleod (of Headpins and Chilliwack fame) at the helm, the album was recorded at his small studio on his boat -the infamous Grand Marnier in Vancouver’s Granville Island. With years on the road, fighting it out in clubs, Steele was poised and ready.
But the story goes, Macleod had to bow out of the project due to stage four terminal cancer – while Chrysalis records had its own drama with selling its 50% share of the company – right when Steele was releasing her second single “Love Don’t Last Forever” penned by Canadian Tim Feehan and Macleod (with Mark Slaughter lending a hand on backups).
Despite this, with her manager Sam Feldman and MacLeod’s assistance, a new band was developed, and Steele grabbed the opening slots during Bryan Adams huge 1992 Waking Up the Neighbours and 1991 Jethro Tull’s Catfish Rising tours.
Macleod tragically succumbed to cancer six months later. This was a glorious yet incredibly jarring end to a decade of rock stars with all the glam and lushness of the 80s, producing such bands as Loverboy, Motley Crue, and Pat Benatar. Many artists entering the 90s with bright careers such as Steele had to admit defeat as the grunge anti-stars such as Nirvana and Soundgarden unceremoniously took over the radio waves.
Fast forward 30 years later, it so happened that Steele and Glen Willows – the guitarist and main writer for the iconic Canadian band Harlequin met. A musical partnership developed, along with Steele’s brother and songwriter Bryan Southern. Several songs were recorded including the dark modern rock single “Insidious” and the ballad Unrequited (Remember Me).
The first song “Insidious” released in October 2021 during the Covid pandemic quite rightly talks about life’s challenges and difficulty fitting into a broken society. It’s a different sound and feel than from the Magnet to Steele days, but fits well with Steele’s glass-half-filled scope on life.
Luckily, Steele’s fans have been there through the thick and thin. With her popularity expanding on social media, Steele has managed to hold her own. Along with Glen Willows, these two Canadian icons seem to be leveraging their hard-earned place in rock history.
Unrequited (Remember Me) penned by Willows, Southern, and Steele is out on all streaming platforms on January 20, 2023.