The journey – I come from a musical family and with a mixture of Maori, Tongan, Welsh and a dash of Portuguese heritage one may say it’s inevitable that I’d end up singing and performing. Music is in my bones, my soul and is constantly in my head. I still remember my favourite song at five years old, This Diamond Ring by Gary Lewis. Then there were the school plays, performances and Kapa Haka with Manaia where we won several national titles.
I’ve had the privilege of performing the New Zealand National Anthem in front of crowds of thousands at several prestigious events such as the New Zealand Maori vs New Zealand Barbarians Rugby match; the FIA Asia Pacific International Rally and New Zealand Citizenship Ceremonies. Although performing the National Anthem has been my shortest gig so to speak, it has equally been the most pressured and rewarding.
I have also performed at numerous International Jazz & Blues festivals around New Zealand and the Pacific Islands working with talented muscians from Los Angeles, San Francisco, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve also enjoyed getting on the air waves as a radio announcer on Magic Music FM hosting the ‘Kaz & all that Jazz’ show as well as doing voice overs for advertisements and having the pleasure of learning from one of the best vets in the industry, Robyn Lilley.
In 2005 a friend urged me to audtion for a singing competion on television. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I unexpectedly made it through the heats and into the final. Sad to say I didn’t win the competition but I was chuffed to get as far as I did as I made a music video of Billy Holiday’s song, It’s That Old Devil. Several years later I was invited back to make a guest appearance in a competition for past finalists on live television which lead me to a defining moment when one of the judge’s said, amongst other things, “Sorry Karen, I just don’t know who Karen Edwards is?” Who Karen Edwards is, what does he mean by this? Okay, he wasn’t Simon Cowell from the X Factor who is known to slice vulnerable budding artists with his sharp and controversial insults but it still had impact and most probably to my ego. Ouch. Masking my embarrasment I smiled graciously at the panel of judges and cameras in my face, and exited the stage. That comment resonated and self analysis kicked into overdrive, “Didn’t I put enough umph into it.. did I lack passion.. execution.. what was it that he saw, or didn’t see.. who am I as an artist?” Which catapulted me to my next phase and as Madonna would say, “Express Yourself“. Interpreted: in order to be real, be you – in order to be you, be real. And express that. So, I have put pen to paper expressing myself through my own songs and tunes. A work in progress, and I have come to realise that evolution as an artist is ongoing and at times comes with set backs and disappointments but if at anytime I feel knocked – I get up. I stand. I grow. In that order. Staying true to me. Being lead by my dream. Who can stop the sun from shining?