By Janee Law
Before country music star Hunter Hayes takes The Paramount’s stage in June, a local, up-and-coming singer-songwriter is set to put her passion for music on display.
Jillian Steele, a Cold Spring Harbor native, said she started musical theater when she was five years old and had aspirations of one day taking a stage on Broadway.
“I did every musical you could think of in community theaters,” said Steele, now 19 and living in Nashville. She added that her passion shifted to both singing and songwriting when she first learned guitar at the age of 12.
Steele, who just released a new EP, “Find Me,” this year, said her passion for music was always present, but her career in it was really sparked by songwriting.
She never saw herself as a songwriter – she used to mainly cover songs – but over the past seven years she’s been writing her own songs and found that it to be yet another passion of hers.
“I know that’s what I love is to write songs and perform them myself,” said Steele, a Cold Spring Harbor High School graduate.
She just finished her sophomore year at Belmont University, where she’s majoring in songwriting.
Her performance at The Paramount will be the biggest of her career, she said, but Steele has performed locally before, including at Great South Bay Music Festival, and the Long Island Fall Festival at Huntington.
Steele said she loves the audience’s reaction when she performs.
“I don’t think people know all the hard work that goes into making an album, or staging a performance, and, honestly, the payoff is finally getting to release it or to perform your show in front of people,” Steele said. “I’m so grateful to them just for a chance to play in my hometown at [The Paramount]. That’s definitely going to be the most rewarding” performance.
Steele’s performance on June 23 will run 30 minutes and serve as an opening for Hunter Hayes. Her performance will include songs from “Find Me,” including a song of the same name as the EP, and tracks “Property” and “Mile.”
When she learned she’d be opening up for Hayes, she was shocked.
“He’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to open up for people and Hunter Hayes is a really big name for me, which got me super excited,” Steele said. “It was unexpected and I’m just very excited.”
Steele added, “I want to give it the best shot I can and I want to impress everyone. I feel like there’s such an anticipation and I’m so ready to deliver everything that I’ve been working on.”
The show is set for 8 p.m., June 23. Doors will open an hour prior, and tickets are available both at the box office and Paramountny.com for $35-$75.