An actively aspiring BS major in Legal Studies with a minor in Astrophysics, Illuminatè Steele (Priscilla Teashia Goodbear) was born in Portland, Oregon. Illuminatè is a singer, songwriter, producer and activist of Native American & African American decent, who cites Gary Numan, Martin Dupont, Severed Heads and Clan of Xymox as her most prevalent musical influences. Illuminatè started out as a local DJ and promoter throughout Washington DC’s metro club circuit while working as door staff at DC’s infamous 930 Club.
“I learned to make my first beats on a SP-1200 drum machine when I was 17 and got my first keyboard at the age of 7,” says Illuminatè. “I am not classically trained, but a self-taught ‘synthesis’. I have a fixation for Gary Numan and everything retro-synthwave.”
At moments sublime, at moments gritty, and at all times inspired, “Desire By Design (The God Complex)” is the definition of what progressive, transcendent music experience should be. Illuminatè’s vocals are indisputably unique.
The retro-futuristic vibe is infectious – a marriage of an ethereal melody to powerful, almost sinister bass lines. Even during its serene, down-tempo moments, Illuminatè’s energy continues to flow without compromise, as she carries on from the first to the last bar in grand, emotive fashion, blazing her synth sounds with every second elapsed.
Illuminatè Steele vamps and vixens and uses that devilish angel voice of hers to slither sexily all over the arrangement. The powerful single is a soaring, pulse-pounding riff giving us a deeper and more direct Illuminatè, which is far more affecting than much of this week’s electronica.
She’s not hiding out behind lush string instrumentals and catchy Top40 vocal hooks. The track generally seems to revel in a kind of retro late-1980’s decadence: it is straight synthesizer and drum machines from beginning to end, and none of those cinematic horns and lounge stuff.
There aren’t too many words that can describe “Desire By Design (The God Complex)”. It’s like a bomb rhythmically exploded in a recording studio – sending trillions of sounds flowing into the mixing desk…and then all colliding and melding with the voice of Illuminatè Steele, while the lyrics that pour from this track are as incredible as the sound of the music itself.
I was beginning to think that quality innovation would not strike again in this genre, but Illuminatè puts electric back into electronic, and takes it to a level it deserves to be at!
Besides her fascination with music, Illuminatè Steele is also a multiple tour Iraqi war veteran who served in the U.S Marine Corps from 2001 until 2010. When not in the studio making music or studying, she is a volunteer Buddhist facilitator at her local juvenile detention facility.