Patrice Pike. If you’re an Austinite with at least a few years under your belt, you know the name. You’ve heard the voice of what Billboard once called “one of the finest contemporary rock singers” seducing you on a local radio station. You’ve seen her face splashed across the Austin Chronicle announcing each of her seven — yes, seven — Austin Music Awards. And sometime in the past 12 years of her residency, you’ve watched her play on a Thursday night under the red and blue lights of Saxon Pub’s corner stage.
Patrice Pike has been around.
It started with Little Sister, founded in 1991 with Pike’s long-time collaborator, Wayne Sutton. Little Sister became Sister 7, who reached the Billboard top 10 with their hit “Know What You Mean.” When they disbanded in 2001, Pike went solo, and there she flourished, releasing five albums, and becoming the youngest member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Then, in 2018, Pike joined up with Sutton again, calling the project Pike & Sutton. The result was Heart is a Compass, the duo’s first studio album, which was released in April 2020, right as the world was shutting down.
Not wanting to disappoint fans who’d been waiting for the record to drop, Pike & Sutton went ahead with the release, trading live show plans for livestreams. “We’re not going to just not put our record out,” Pike explained at the time. “It’s really important to keep your commitments, I think, in times of trouble, and to just lift people up.”
Heart is a Compass is spontaneous and eclectic — which is the intention. Using hand percussion, djembes and other instruments not common in rock, Pike & Sutton took a fluid approach to the music. “We went in with somewhat of a road map,” Pike explains. “But it was our communication that ultimately found the groove. The entire process enhanced the album’s message: when you surrender to your heart, it tells you where to go.”
That’s a message Pike lives. Though she started out in music, her journey has taken her in unexpected directions — from teaching yoga to snowboarding, from traveling the world to co-founding Step Onward, a foundation that helps young adults experiencing homelessness.
And she has no plans to stop. “There’s still a lot of love out there for what Wayne and I do,” Pike says. “We want to keep making records, playing shows and bringing a message that hits you over the head sonically. People are looking to feel uplifted, but they want to shake their hips, too. We’re calling it the way we see it, and music will be our medicine.”
Whatever plans Pike has, rolling solo or as part of Pike & Sutton, you better believe Austinites will be there, hips shaking.
See her live at Still Austin Whiskey on March 18 for Texas Music’s annual Bands to Watch event.