‘Steffie Hat’ Stef Hall was born in Wigan and grew up in the areas of Lowton and Leigh.
At she began to learn keyboards, and by 11 she had progressed to learning the piano – but she had already been bitten by the synth bug thanks to her love of artists like the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure and switched back to keyboards!
Despite her love of the keys, by age 14 Stef was a regular face at Leigh Folk Club, which was ran by well known Leigh ‘hippie’ and family friend Malcolm Disley – the uncle of Hats drummer John Gilman. This inspired a love of folk artists like Suzanne Vega whom she cites as a big influence, and she began playing the guitar around this time. Rather than opting for a musical route at college, Stef pursued a career in journalism, studying at UCLan in Preston and now working for the Lancashire Evening Post, where she is a court reporter. She has been shortlisted for several media awards including the 2008 Amnesty International media awards, and the Paul Foot award for investigative journalism. In her spare time Stef continues to write and record her own material and jokes the gruesome and tragic cases she has covered inspired some of her tracks!
After publishing a demo of haunting synth track Giving Up The Ghost online she was approached by Lincolnshire based musician Nik Bray to join internet synth ensemble Estranged. She spent a few months working with Bray and Southampton based guitarist Kev Earley, singing and penning the lyrics to their track Sandstorm which hit number 1 in the N1M music’s alternative chart.