Heather Styka Electronic Press Kit

Performance Videos

About

Heather Styka dances where others fear to tread, gleefully cutting to the truth with gutsy vulnerability. She combines the lyrical intricacy of folk with a catchy melodic pop sensibility and the grit of classic country in songs that are smart and disarming. Call it folk, call it Americana, call it alt-country, but Styka’s heartfelt croon draws as much inspiration from classic warblers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as it does from Shawn Colvin and Eva Cassidy.

After growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Styka moved to the city to studying creative writing, meanwhile honing her song craft among Chicago’s long-standing folk community. Her 2011 release Lifeboats for Atlantis brought her to national attention, hitting #3 on the FOLK-DJ charts. Styka's honest, image-heavy songs have garnered her a number of awards, including being a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (2015, 2017) and official showcases at Folk Alliance International, NERFA, SWRFA, and FARM.

While living in Portland, Maine, Heather Styka released While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet. Recorded in the Adirondacks with Beehive Productions and printed by Styka on a 1901 letterpress in Maine, this 2014 release charted for four months on FOLK-DJ. Styka’s next album, The Bittersweet Tapes (2016), “tugs the ear on first listen and greets you like an old friend on subsequent visits” (Simon Rigby, Indie Music Portal). These gut-punch pretty songs nod to traditional folk, classic country, and even garage rock, carried by Styka’s emotive vocals. Recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma on an old four track recorder with sparse, ethereal production by John Calvin Abney (John Moreland, Samantha Crain), The Bittersweet Tapes retains an unfiltered immediacy. “In this raw and intimate portrait of life, disguised as a collection of songs, Heather Styka has truly created a masterpiece… A writer with this kind of vision and ability doesn’t come along very often” (Chris Darby, Independent Melody). 

Live, Heather Styka comes off as something like Leonard Cohen crossed with Patsy Cline. Armed with a guileless, unvarnished delivery, she's equal parts wordsmith and entertainer. Styka’s energetic shows feel as intimate and candid as late night conversation, peppered with a quirky sense of humor and confessional storytelling. Once again working with Beehive Productions, Styka is currently releasing her her fifth full-length studio album, North, which was recorded with Danish backing band The Sentimentals in a cabin in northern Wisconsin.

Links to Recordings:

Albums:

Links to Videos:

Recommended if you like:

Feist, Shawn Colvin, Tift Merritt, Lori McKenna, Kathleen Edwards, Lucinda Williams, Eva Cassidy, Iris DeMent, Bonnie Raitt, Lydia Loveless, Anais Mitchell

Upcoming Dates

Venue Highlights:

Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
City Winery, Chicago, IL
Schubas, Chicago, IL
Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
The Bitter End, New York, NY
Indy Folk Series, Indianapolis, IN
Club Passim, Boston, MA
Cafe Carpe, Fort Atkinson, WI
The Me and Thee, Marblehead, MA
Trinity House, Livonia MI
Anderson Fair, Houston, TX
Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, Dallas, TX
Artichoke Music, Portland, OR
Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA

Festivals:

Harmony Bazaar Music Festival of Women & Song, Lockeport, Nova Scotia
LivelyLands, Leelanau Country, MI
Arootsakoostic Music Festival, New Sweden, ME
Earthwork Harvest Gathering, Lake City, MI
Fox Valley Folk Festival, Geneva, IL
RotaryFest, Downers Grove, IL
Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA
Wabeno Art and Music Festival, Wabeno, WI

Radio Highlights:

#3 Album on FOLK-DJ Charts (Lifeboats for Atlantis)
WFMT Folkstage appearance & Midnight Special (nationally syndicated)
WDVX Blue Plate Special
River City Folk appearance (nationally syndicated)
Feist, Shawn Colvin, Tift Merritt, Lori McKenna, Kathleen Edwards, Lucinda Williams, Eva Cassidy, Iris DeMent, Bonnie Raitt, Lydia Loveless, Anais Mitchell

Shorter Bios

Paragraph: Chicago songwriter Heather Styka cuts to the truth with gutsy vulnerability. With a heartfelt croon that brings to mind Billie Holiday or Patsy Cline, Styka combines the lyrical intricacy of folk with a catchy melodic pop sensibility and the grit of classic country in songs that are smart and disarming.

Tweet: Heather Styka sings smart, disarming songs with sweet, vintage vocals: the intimacy of folk, the melodies of pop, and the grit of Americana.

10 Words: Heather Styka sings smart, disarming songs with sweet, vintage vocals.

Quotes/Reviews

“Intricate finger picking, perfect melodies, and heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics… The Bittersweet Tapes is a collection of 12 songs recorded on an old four track recorder, a method that allows her to convey a more raw and intimate feeling than previous releases… In this raw and intimate portrait of life, disguised as a collection of songs, Heather Styka has truly created a masterpiece… A writer with this kind of vision and ability doesn’t come along very often and it’s an honor to have her among us for this brief and fleeting moment in time.”

- Independent Melody, Chris Darby


"With a compelling mix of storytelling and scene setting, Heather Styka takes the listener with her on every note… [The Bittersweet Tapes] tugs the ear on first listen and greets you like an old friend on subsequent visits."

- Indie Music Portal, Simon Rigby


"With a classically modern folky warble, a nimble fingerpicked guitar, and a gently placed rhythm section, Heather Styka has given us a sonically immaculate recording of personal narratives and captured moments... there's enough to keep anyone listening..."

-Sam Ueda, Dispatch Magazine


“One word leaps to mind to describe Heather Styka’s voice — purity… Heather’s unique delivery combines the influences of a fragile Irish air, the warm effervescence of upbeat Americana, soulful country and mournful blues. Her voice ensures these songs hit that place in your chest where emotions reside…. Discerning beauty and sensitivity... Every song fits perfectly into the whole and the sum total of [Lifeboats for Atlantis] is stunning.”

- Tim Carroll, FolkWords


“Heather’s songs capture moments, impressions, feelings, and thoughts in a way that connects with the listener, a lyrical wave that can carry one to shore with a solid conclusion, or go way out into the ocean, searching for an answer, insight, or direction”

- Lilli Kuzma, WDCB-FM


“Stories are often lurking behind the lyrics of a song - sometimes obscurely so. But fine and direct storytelling... is a special art when it comes to songwriting. And it's that kind of artistic mastery that poet and folksinger Heather Styka displays.”

- Butch Kara, KZGM-FM


“One of the more original of the many contemporary singer-songwriters touring the US... she paints landscapes and relationships in her well thought-out compositions.”

- Tom May, River City Folk

Print Promotion

Poster:
8.5x11 PDF poster with space to write-in show details (prints well in color or black & white)
http://heather.styka.com/resources/stykaposter.pdf

Press Photos:
Please download your choice of hi-res promo photo here
Live performance photos here