THE EARLY USA YEARS
Lucy Steymel was born on February 2, 1953 in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA as Lucy Ann Steimel.
In 1972 at 19, she graduates from S.H. Rider High School, where she excells in music.
Lucy receives honours as a cellist playing in the State Orchestra.
"In the early seventies I did get a growing interest in pop music. This was music where I could put in more from myself.
So I also studied guitar and started singing. I sang mostly compositions of my own, people where in for that. I joined folk groups, performed in coffee houses and folkclubs. I even did some touring...."
TO EUROPE - 1973
When Lucy has a disagreement with her father about which university she should attend, she decides in 1973 to go to Europe. A decision based on the belief that the best musical teachers are in Europe.
Lucy goes to Berlin, Germany. She has relatives in Berlin and hopes to find a good musical education through them.
Finding a suitable teacher didn't turn out be to that easy after all.
To earn some money she works as an au pair.
She also plays with a chamber orchestra and sings in cafe's, accompanying herself on guitar.
THE NETHERLANDS - 1976
Lucy meets another American girl in Hannover and together they go to Rotterdam. They arrive on the Queens Day (a national celebration of the Queen's birthday...). It is 1976.
Queens Day is celebrated to the full in Holland and both agree to stay because the Dutch seem to be such great party people.
The American friend becomes sick and because of that they stay longer then planned in Holland.
"The Dutch are more popminded", Lucy says later. "More interested in American pop music. A good reason to go and stay in the Netherlands".
Lucy becomes friends with a few musicians and through them, she gets her first gigs. Not as a cellist, but as a singer.
ALBUM: GIFT FROM A STRANGER, 1977
Early in 1977 Lucy forms a group of her own with Jack van Rossum (ex-Buffoons) on keyboards, Harry Emmery (Peter Blanker Consort and Joost Nuissl) on bass and John Bukman (also Peter Blanker Consort) on drums.
When guitarist-producer Harry Sacksioni hears the Lucy Steymel Band he calls label representative Herman van Veen from Harlekijn records. To him Harry says, "Even if I have to finance that record myself. There has to come an album from Lucy Steymel. This girl makes great music, with good compositions and a great voice. I hardly hear such poetic lyrics in pop music".
Van Veen gives Harry free rein for the album. The results became Gift From A Stranger. An album (Long Play record) with a varity of songs, from ballads to intense swinging ones. Lyrics, music and vocals: Lucy Steymel.
In September 1977 Lucy says about the album:
"One could get the impression that I only do sweet songs, but i have also heavier songs in my repertoire. Even stronger.... I tend to do more extroverted stuff lately. But I wanted to show on this record my quiet side and do the screaming songs later.
I am very satisfied with the end result and also on the comments it has received. People who don't know me, have said to me that it is a record well worth listening to, because of the restfull atmosphere. Friends and relatives told me that they did get a better view on my personality because of the record.
The lyrics are not all about me. Certain things are autobiographical, but also with some fantasy added to them.
I put in aspects that never happened to me or even things that never happened at all. But then again there are also things about me.
Some about relations I had, or the education I did get.
A track like "It Isn't true" is totally based on my education."
Lucy in 1977 about influences:
"There are a few artists which i admire and who have influenced me.
Joni Mitchell is someone who meant a lot to me and still does. Joni is somebody who really has to say something, I think that's important.
There is also a French singer, Veronique Sanson, who is doing a lot to me. I have to let someone translate her lyrics, as i don't speak or write French, but in those translated lyrics i hear someone who looks critical to life. And made good songs to me.
Peter, Paul and Mary have said much to me in the past. I played their records a lot, although I didnt have the same experiences as they had. ..... Because of the songs I could at least think about it".
"That's what I'd like to say with this record. As it is all about my relations with other people, I hope that people think about their own relations. In this record I like to take distance from a period of emotional outbursts. A period that has been recorded now and is done with. I can start now a new period".
ALBUM: GOODBYE TO GRAY - 1979
On the personal side, Lucy soon some luck with Jim. This relation doesnt last long however. Jim turns out to be not very loyal. It might be this period that has taken a major role on the album GOODBYE TO GRAY of 1979.
It is a record with many sad lyrics about relations and unfaithfullness.
Tracks that speak volumes are "Happening Again", "No More Love Songs" and "Fickle Minded Man".
Compared to the first album GIFT FROM A STRANGER, the second album sounds more American and less modest. This is due to the production of Foppe Damste. The record is released on the Utopia label.
On the record no one from the original band is present except for Lucy.
There is clearly one positive track on the album: "You're So Sweet".
Whether this song is about her new partner or not, one thing is certain. Fred Willems is without any doubt her new love from 1981 on.
EUROVISION SONGCONTEST - 1981
In 1981 Lucy joins the Dutch pre-selection for the Eurovision songcontest. With "Een Nieuw Begin" (A New Start) and "Stap Voor Stap" (Step By Step). This track is later recorded in English as "One By One".
On "Stap Voor Stap", she is joined by The Millionaires. Both tracks result in a shared fifth place in the contest.
ALBUM: THREE'S A CHARM - 1982
The album Three's A Charm is released in 1982 on a 'major' label, CBS.
Producer is Pim Koopman (drummer and a driving force behind the Dutch symphonic rock group KAYAK).
With Pim's production and a load of both good commercial and artistic pop songs, "Three's A Charm" was ready for the charts.
"The Child In Me", "Nights Without You", "You're Breakin' My Heart Woman" and title track, "Three's a Charm", are all outstanding!
One of the most commercial songs, "I Love You's" is released as a single. It charts, but unfortunatly doesnt become a hit for Lucy.
"I love You's" is still played on radio stations today, which proves the quality of the song.
In 1982 the album "Three's a Charm" is awarded an Edison (an important award for artistic performance in the Netherlands)
But even with the high quality songs, both commercial and artistic, good reviews and a great chart sensitivity, a real breakthrough still eludes her.
TOGETHER A FAMILY - 1983
A bit disappointed Lucy withdraws from the music scene.
But there is not much time to be mournful.
Fred and Lucy have twins, Jasper and Emma.
LUCY'S SONGS PERFORMED BY OTHER ARTISTS - 1990 'til 1995
Between 1990 and 1994 several Dutch artists use songs written or co-written by Lucy.
Famous Dutch singer Rob de Nijs takes the lead with at least 6 songs.
He also asks Lucy for translations for his english album "Stranger In Your Land". Also Ruth Jacott and the Dutch group Tambourine (featuring Saskia van Orly) perform songs co-written with Lucy.
In the eighties, Bonnie St. Claire recorded "The Child In Me" as "Kwart Voor Een".
All these songs confirm the quality of Lucy's songwriting and that she still had 'it'.
Fred about the performer Lucy.
"So now and then when Lucy felt like it, she took up the guitar and played and sung at parties and birthdays. Then she livened up and sparkled".
BANU WITH LIESJE AND LEON - 1995 - 1996
In 1995 Lucy meets Liesje Verkroost. They form the duo Banu. Liesje does the lead vocals, Lucy the backing vocals.
Most songs are written by Lucy and Leon van de Akker. A demo is made and offered to record company Dino. At first, Dino offers Banu a contract but another act (Anouk) soon takes priority. Because of this, the project fell silent.
Some radiostations got their hands on the music of Banu. And it is still played here and there (in The Netherlands and United Kingdom).
A great shame as these songs show a unique promise.
FEBRUARY 27, 2006: ENOUGH TO BE ON YOUR WAY.
Early 2000 Lucy's health suffers a reverse.
On February 27, 2006 Lucy slips away, succumbing to the undisclosed illness...
The final notes from Fred:
"Her health went backwards through the last years. In the end she died from a fatal cardiac arrest. Her last words were "I had the weirdest dream" and then she slipped away.
We have cremated her in a private ceremony".
Lucy was a great fan of James Taylor. During the cremation ceremony we played his song "Enough To Be On Your Way".
Together with our children, I flew to Texas to scatter her ashes across the Red River. A place where she felt at home. She had written a beautiful song about the Red River".
Lucy died at the age of 52.
"Let the wind blow down your collar
And into your feathery hair
Watch the sun move down the mountain
Til she disappears
And we’ll greet her in the morning"