“I just kind of realized the power of laughter and joy and celebration even when things are tough,” says Lo Steele, adding that “of course there’s always going to be political undercurrents because I’m Black and Queer and a Woman.”
By now, Steele is a familiar Portland presence. Audiences may know her from local stages (she recently starred in Portland Playhouse’s production of Bella: An American Tall Tale) and she has played in a gospel and jazz group with her family for years.
While Steele is the daughter of LaRhonda Steele (the “First Lady of Portland Blues” and Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee), she’s a force to be reckoned with on her own. Radiating a spirit of continual growth and community, her songs offer affirmations through self-reflection and a relatable humor, coupled with her vocal command and understated soul-jazz melodies.
Putting a twist on her roots, Steele has released a handful of solo singles, and a new album is slated to arrive in August. It’s healing-through-boogie music that shouldn’t be slept on—joy, celebration, political undercurrents and all.