Karen J White

Cabaret Singer/guitarist/songwriter

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In brief ...
• Quirky performer, available solo or with backing musicians
• Suitable for listening audiences – corporate events, theatre settings, house concerts
• Own PA system and technician
• Albums available on CD and as downloads, via website
• Videos available to view via website
• New album “In These Shoes?” coming soon, including the duet “Fairytale of New York” featuring Mikelangelo (of Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen)
• New show “In These Shoes?” to tour soon

In detail ...

Karen only started performing in public in the ‘noughties’, initially in the intimate setting of Mossman’s “Poetry & Pasta”, graduating to local open mic nights, particularly – and to this day – the legendary “Muso’s Night” at the Central Hotel in Port Douglas where her unusual choice of songs earned her the nickname “The Quirky One”.

Over the years she has participated in various music productions, particularly at The Clink Theatre in Port, culminating in presenting her own shows, “Quintessential Quirk” in 2009 and 2010, in both Port Douglas and Cairns, and the launch of her first studio album “By Request” in 2014.

Recorded and produced by Nigel Pegrum of Pegasus Studios, “By Request” is, as you might guess from the title, a compilation of some of the songs most frequently requested by Karen’s fans at that time; it is a mix of internationally famous and lesser-known songs, up-beat pop songs and soothing love songs and includes Karen’s own immensely popular “Shoes”. Recording at Pegasus brought the ability to engage some of the region’s most brilliant musicians and vocalists, resulting in a polished and fun album which has proved popular with a wide audience.

Following on from the success of “By Request” and having one track which had been deemed ‘too rude’ to include on it, Karen put together an EP of ‘five songs for grown ups’ entitled “Naughty, but Nice!” Adding three studio tracks to the existing ‘rude’ track and then throwing in a live recording from the “By Request” launch, the EP is raunchy without being coarse.

Being a long-time fan of British singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl, tragically killed in a boating incident in 2000 at the tender age of only 42, Karen was delighted when travel plans for her and her husband John’s trip to ‘the old country’ in 2013 enabled her to attend the “Kirstyfest”, the annual celebration of Kirsty’s life and music held in Soho, London and attended by family, friends and fans of the late, lamented singer. Since then Karen has managed to attend the 2014 and 2015 gatherings and has made many friends amongst Kirsty’s legions of fans – some of whom fly to London from the USA specifically for the event!

It is this love of Kirsty MacColl’s music that has lead Karen to put together a show and album quite different in style to her previous productions: “In These Shoes?” is a tribute to Kirsty, a show comprising a whole bunch of the songs Kirsty was so loved for, accompanied by an album of some of those songs including the title track. Karen currently covers about 50 of Kirsty’s songs and turned to Kirsty’s fans to help her whittle that list down to the right number for the shows and the album – fans put forward their preferred lists from Karen’s and - voila – a list of favourites soon appeared! Those are the tracks that will be heard on the album and in the live shows.

One of the highest on the list of requests was the duet Kirsty sang with Shane MacGowan on the 1987 hit for The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”. That meant finding a male vocalist suitable to sing Shane’s part. Whilst on a ‘road trip’ around the eastern Australian states early in 2016 John and Karen booked to see one of their favourite live bands, Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen, at the Famous Spiegeltent in Canberra ... and a crazy thought occurred to Karen: could she dare ask Mikelangelo himself if he would sing with her? They had been at least on speaking terms for several years, and Mikelangelo had pulled Karen out of the audience at The Vanguard Theatre in Newtown the previous year to sing “Hallelujah” with him, but this seemed like a big leap. Plucking up courage after the Canberra show Karen started telling Mikelangelo about her new project and by the time she got to the part about needing a male vocalist on “Fairytale” his excitement was almost as great as hers! It turns out he loves the song and was delighted to be given the opportunity to sing Shane’s part. It was Mikelangelo’s suggestion then that Karen should arrange for them to do ‘a couple of gigs’ together so that he could justify flying up to record at Pegasus that really took Karen’s breath away!

Once dates were settled on, a manic few weeks ensued, organising two live shows, “Music & Mayhem” and an afternoon in the studio at Pegasus; suffice it to say that a great deal of fun was had by all. The album “In These Shoes?” has now been finalised and will be launched initially to a UK audience during September and October 2016 before being officially launched ‘back home’ probably after Christmas 2016 – watch this space, Karen’s website and Karen’s Facebook for details! Pre-launch copies of the album will be available on Karen’s website.

After the UK tour is past, Karen will again be available ‘for hire’ for any listening audience, whether for full-on corporate gigs or intimate house concerts, as a solo performer or with others – you can get her with a full ensemble of professional backing musicians; she has her own excellent quality PA equipment complete with sound technician – husband John! You can listen to any of her recorded tracks and watch any of a huge range of videos all via her website. Keep an eye on the website and ‘like’ her page on Facebook to be kept up to date with her news.

Karen J White
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Set list
Play lists are complied to suit anticipated audiences & venues
Influences
International artists such as Kirsty MacColl, Billy Connolly, Amanda Palmer, Tom Lehrer, Leonard Cohen and Loudon Wainwright III; Australian artists such as Clancy (Mark Grigg), Klara McMurray, Mikelangelo and Paul Kelly.
Gig Highlights
Port Unplugged 2006, 2007 & 2008
Songbirds in Port 2008
Quintessential Quirk 2009 & 2010
By Request Album Launch 2014
Kirstyfest, London 2013, 2014 & 2015
Ruthin Allstyles, Wales 2014 & 2015
Music & Mayhem, Yungaburra & Port Douglas, 2016

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