Artist - Proteins of Magic
There isn’t a single genre that describes the musical output of Proteins of Magic, but in broad terms it embodies the realm of Gothic; from the use of voices from elsewhere, layered upon one another, to the drama of art pop melded with eerie post-punk, accompanied by videos that morph from the natural to the cyber.
Living between Auckland and Nashville, Tennessee, Kelly Steven is a multi-faceted artist practising in both audio and visual media. She writes, produces and performs as Proteins of Magic, and creates imagined worlds to translate it to the screen using claymation and digital art.
On stage she has a solitary, commanding presence, she doesn't just transform, she almost seems possessed. Delivering her existential poetry over layers of loops of vocal harmonies, breath, flute and keys, she fuses them together with her pulsing bass guitar.
"I consider her in that lineage of female musicians with a completely unique voice and approach, in the tradition of Nina Simone, Nico, Patti Smith, Björk, etc. She is the real deal.” - Shayne Carter 2022
Kelly Steven has played bass with seminal NZ band Dimmer, which also included touring America with The Brian Jonestown Massacre; she also played bass in NZ band Voom, and was in the duo Punches with James Duncan. For the last two years, she has created her own solo project Proteins of Magic.
Proteins of Magic has had five songs debut on NZ Alternative radio charts, and her self released debut album was a finalist for the 2022 Taite Music Prize / Auckland Live Independent Debut Award.
2022 saw Proteins of Magic come into her own, with her single 'Lethal' being placed as Number 1 in the NZ Radioscope Alternative Charts, Number 1 in the SRN Top 10, and number 2 on the bFM Top 10. She performed at The Othersway Festival, did a headline tour of NZ and supported Dimmer on their National Theatre tour. She also played live sessions on RNZ and Radioactive, and was on the cover of New Zealand Herald’s Canvas Magazine.
In 2023, her single 'Divine Physics', went to Number 1 in the 95 bFM top 10, and she performed another headline NZ tour and played three New Zealand festivals - Splore, Cuba Dupa and Cross St. She then performed to a packed room at the Big Ears Festival (USA), two sets at the The Great Escape Festival (UK), two London shows, and a captivating performance at Primavera in Barcelona. She will also perform at BIGSOUND (Brisbane) and SXSW (Sydney) in September / October 2023.
"Possessing a voice that not only metamorphoses thoroughly into her own askew existential poetry, her sonic performance feels like performance art that you can see and not just hear..." American Pancake