Jazz singer and songwriter Karen Souza will be releasing her highly anticipated new album “Velvet Vault” on December 1, 2017! Featuring several jazz standards, “Velvet Vault” is a more mature and more subtle than Karen's previous efforts, and she truly feels is her best album to date.
Saya Karen, “'Velvet Vault' is really three albums that coexist as one. On the one hand I wanted to record several of the jazz standards that the public love when I sing them live. Then, there were those well known jazzy versions of classics of the 80's and 90's, and finally I have my own material as an artist that I wanted to include. So we can say that this is a record that should shine as a great success of those three concepts.”
There are several guests on Karen's new album: What can you say about the participation of Toku, the Japanese Frank Sinatra, Robin Banerjee, the guitarist of Amy Winehouse and Tom “Bones” Malone, the historical multi-instrumentalist of the Blues Brothers and leader of the band of Saturday Night Live? Three incredible musicians and three great human beings. Says Karen, “TOKU surprised me from the first moment we started to collaborate, not only does he have an incredible voice but he is one of the most subtle trumpet players I have ever met. A great person with whom we plan to shoot a video clip during my next visit to Tokyo. Recording with Robin was extra pressure for me given that he was the guitarist of Amy Winehouse and was the one who had recorded in his version of Valerie. That he agreed to record his guitar in my version was a source of pride and extra pressure. And with Tom the chemistry was immediate, I came to the studio in NYC, we looked at each other and without having to say anything he put his magic into my tracks. He is a unique musician, one in a million.”
Although Karen Souza's voice seems to be made for Jazz, her career began under different pseudonyms, writing songs and providing vocals to several electronic music producers, which made her part of many House hits, included in numerous records as prestigious as Pacha Ibiza, FTV (Fashion TV), Paris Dernier, Hotel Costes and Privé, among others.
Karen started flirting with Jazz when she was invited to participate in the first album of the Jazz & 80's series. At that time, no one could imagine how successful these series would become overnight. Her producer saw in Karen the ideal voice for this project. They worked together enthusiastically, making Karen Souza and her unique voice the core of each album in these series. She went on to record vocals continuously for the series Jazz & 70's, Jazz & 80's and Jazz and 90's, which bring together great pop songs from all these eras in a jazz/blues format. To the surprise of the entertainment business, these albums have earned an amazing fan base in many countries and within different age groups, which resulted in almost every record label trying to recreate the concept. “Essentials,” her first album, compiles Karen's best renditions from the albums previously mentioned. It was released in March 2011, and it immediately became a sales success, to the point it was tagged as “New and Noteworthy” on iTunes.
By the middle of 2011, Karen and a classic jazz trio, began to perform around the world. That gave the audience the chance to meet her in person. With Music Brokers, her record label, they thought it was the right time to produce new material. As a result, she went to Los Angeles to work with some of the world's greatest songwriters, such as Pamela Phillips Oland (pamoland.com), a multiple Grammy nominee lyricist who has worked with artists like Whitney Houston, Earth, Wind & Fire and Aretha Franklin, among others.
In 2012, Karen Souza released “Hotel Souza,” an album that was produced by Joel McNeely, famous for his work with Tony Bennet and Peggy Lee. The album was a total surprise given its originality and beauty. About this album, Karen said, “It's been a pleasure working with Joel, this record represents that magical time.” Shortly after its release, “Hotel Souza” reached the first positions in the Top 10 of the most popular record stores in Latin America, staying for months. It also reached the #10 position in the Top Jazz Albums in the US.
Because of Karen's constant evolution and requests from her fans on her social networks, Karen embarked on a new version album. “Essentials II” was recorded in the city of New York and the vocals were produced by the famous songwriter, record producer and co-founder of The Orchard, Richard Gottehrer. In 2013, her version of “Creep” by Radiohead was used extensively in the film “The Zero Theorem.” Terry Gilliam, who directed the film, was unfamiliar with the original.
Karen has accomplished five years of successful live presentations, accompanied by her classic jazz trio, piano, double bass and drums. In the beginning of the year 2015 Karen returned to Japan for a second performance at the famous jazz club Blue Note (this time performing in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya). Karen appeared very close to her audience, as usual, concluding each concert with a “meet and greet” opportunity, and albums signing. In the month of June the artist traveled to Europe, appearing in Spain. Her performance took place in the city of Madrid, at the legendary hall Galileo Galilei, and in Barcelona at the hall Luz de Gas. Both concerts were sold out well in advance. The affection demonstrated by both the audience and the press, reflect her deep fan base in Spain and across Europe.
Her 2016 shows were a great success: Karen participated for first time, of the legendary Tabarka Jazz festival in Tunez, singing on the same stage where Miles Davis and Diana Krall once performed. The audience was impressed by the sweet tones of Karen's voice and her overall warmth. She promised to return to the country soon.
And now, much to the excitement of Karen's fans worldwide, her new album “Velvet Vault” will soon be available in digital formats, CD and also vinyl! On November 11th Karen will be presenting “Velvet Vault” at the Lunario of the National Auditorium of Mexico and from there she will start a tour that will take her throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia.
In closing Karen has this to impart, “I am so honored to have had the chance to tour, to go around the world and meet my fans who support me, it really fills me with pride. I would say that that, more than the gold and platinum awards and discs, my fan base is my greatest achievement.”