Karen Smith
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Karen Smith

Band Folk Acoustic


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Still working on that hot first release.



It was Karen’s Dad who first inspired her to play the guitar: as a child, she would sit on the floor in front of him as he twanged on the guitar strings and she would think to herself, ‘I want to play like him.’ Her first guitar cost fourteen pounds, of which she paid half and her parents paid the other half. Her Dad spotted her enthusiasm and gave her all of his music books. However, she wasn’t old enough to know the melodies of the folk songs and Beatles classics featured in the books, but, rather than let that interfere with her creativity, she made up her own melodies instead! By then, it was obvious that she had a musical gift.

At the age of eleven came Karen’s biggest challenge of her life when her family suffered a devastating trauma. It was through her music and her songwriting though that she found a way of expressing herself. She used music to cope with what had happened and, from then on, Karen's music became part of her fighting spirit.

By the age of fifteen, at the studio of Martin Barre of Jethro Tull fame, she had recorded twelve songs, written about her childhood experience, songs that were penned with innocence and honesty that has since become her trademark. Soon after, she began performing in public, first appearing at seventeen-years-old in a school concert, bravely standing alone on stage with her guitar, pouring her heart out to the captivated audience in front of her. Next came more requests for her to perform, most notably at a local rock extravaganza where, despite not being the main act, she became the star of the show, gaining even more press coverage under the headline: ‘Karen is the gem of rock extravaganza’.

As her musical career progressed, Karen attended a year long course at The London Music School where she proudly gained a Platinum Diploma from the Guitar Institute of Technology. There, using her songs as material, Karen fronted a band with fellow musicians, Ed Johnson (Drums), Mike Peacock (Bass), and Chris Weber (Guitar and of Featherlike fame). Karen's band went on to appear at The Wembley Conference Centre in The Mad About Music Show as well as being featured on the Channel Four News. They ended their year headlining London’s Subterania, having, by then, won the college’s prestigious award of Band of the Year.

Following this, Karen went on to play professionally as guitarist and backing vocalist to Madeleine (signed to Arista Records, BMG) sharing the bill with acts of world repute such as Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco. Karen was personally invited by virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist, Eric Roche, to perform at several of his gigs, where their combined raw talent left the audience wanting more.

Karen has played at many prestigious London venues including London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Shepherds Bush Empire, Ronnie Scotts, 12 Bar Club (London), Monarch (Camden), Water Rats (Kings Cross) and her biggest claim to fame so far is as guitarist and backing vocalist working for Mel C (Sporty Spice).

She has recorded with Eric Roche, Madeleine and, most recently, has recorded her own songs with Merlin Rhys Jones (writer and performer with Ian Dury and the Blockheads).

Testimonials From Karen Smith's Musical Career:
'I know so many, many musicians and Karen stands out way ahead of the crowd! I am proud of her because she is so genuine, honest and true. As soon as she plays and sings I can see and hear those qualities. She sincerely means everything she does.' Eric Roche (Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist)

'I really like your songwriting, not only the words but the chords and tunes as well. After I see you play I always hum the songs for days afterwards.’ Glenn Skinner (Writer and Producer)

'Karen's vocals and lyrical style are often beautiful and inspired. She is also a great guitarist. Having been asked to join Mel C's touring band, Karen is instead concentrating on her own material. Thank God!' Phil Taylor (Up All Night)

‘For all Merlin’s ability and experience, it was another act that stole the evening for me. Karen, who is just about sixteen, just about as modest as you can get and just about as gifted a singer-songwriter of her age as you’ll see, was performing her work for only the second time. She may have lacked the stage craft of Merlin, but she was compulsive listening and I was captivated by one distinct element missing from Merlin; she was not reproducing anyone’s music but Karen’s – and right from the heart it was too.' Journalist, Harry Pridmore, writing about Karen when she was just sixteen.

'They say that seeing is believing. In the case of Karen, guitarist and performer of her own songs, hearing is believing. What a truly beautiful voice she has.' Journalist, Kingsley Squire, writing about Karen when she was just seventeen.