From a young age, Karen Alice Dunbar played classic piano and guitar, which cemented her path in music. She furthered those aspirations at the University of College Cork, where she studied Music and Drama. Now, Karen Alice Dunbar is crafting heartfelt lyrics set to melodic backdrops of sound, while enriching the lives of other inspiring musicians, serving as their musical tutor. On her latest single "Almost," Karen carefully pairs melodic pop melodies alongside a country-folk soul.
"Almost" is the story of a relationship "perfect on paper" but lacking that special ingredient that ignites a burning flame between two people. The honest and revealing lyrics numb the pain of a failed romance, and the acceptance Karen sings about is a refreshing approach to subjects about heartache and loss.
"Almost" features delicate piano melodies that accompany Karen's soft and soulful voice. The slow and steady beat grounds the listener in the atmosphere of the song as an acoustic guitar marches the melody along. The listener is left with a feeling of happiness and light as Karen creates a story enriched musical environment. It's no wonder Karen was chosen as a semi-finalist with her song "Waiting for your Love," on RTE reality show "The Hit," in 2013. This inspiring artist continues to grow and foster her own unique sound, and her latest release, "Almost" is the product of her hard work and natural ability.
Your latest release "Almost" is a refreshing take on a breakup- its honest, aware and calming. What did you want the listener to experience on this track?
Thank you so much! Well, I've always written from the heart, as those are the types of artists that I tend to be personally drawn to. It's a snapshot of the end of a relationship that was almost perfect, and as with all of the writing, I'd like to think listeners could relate to it. What was your experience like on "The Hit" RTE Reality Show? What were you able to take away from that experience?
RTE "THE HIT" was so much fun! The song that I actually entered into the show, "Waiting for your Love", was one I had left unfinished for years, I finished it & put it forward last minute & was completely surprised! I was able to network with so many other talented songwriters that I'm still in touch with today. You're from Wexford, Ireland. What's the music community like there and how does your music reflect that environment?
It's funny, coming from a small town I was always bursting to get out & explore and travel when I was younger, and a lot of my songs would be of the Kelly Clarkson "Breakaway" ilk. Now I feel so lucky to have my base in such a wonderful spot, the sense of community here in Wexford and in my hometown of Gorey is so wonderful & rare. The music community here is also flourishing - the talent that comes from Wexford never ceases to amaze me! We loved the melodic pop atmosphere you created on "Almost," but there's also a country-folk layer you've embedded into the track. What genres do you regularly incorporate into your music?
Thank you, you know for years I tried to make my music sound more "indie", or "cooler", always comparing myself to other artists I admired releasing music especially here in Ireland. I have always adored pop music - I'm extremely passionate about melodies - & country/folk, from June Carter, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen to the contemporary Pop/Country artists like Cassadee Pope, Kacey Musgraves & Kelsea Ballerini, and I've taken 3 trips to Nashville, and it really clicked for me on those trips that I needed to honor the artist that I am rather than who I think I should be. I'm a pop girl & I'm (finally) okay with it!
What has been keeping you inspired this year and where do you see yourself going next?
These are awful & uncertain times for artists all over the world & especially here in Ireland. Very early on in lockdown, I decided to adopt the mentality of focusing on what I CAN control. As with most self-employed artists, I was always running around from job to job in autopilot, so busy & never really being in the moment. I decided to use this time to do all of the things I always said I would - so I started a YouTube channel with weekly tutorials & videos, I learned how to use the Acapella App to make multi-track videos which has been SO much fun, and I've been writing a song or 2 most weeks after months and months of no writing. I'll also be releasing another single this autumn so I'm very excited about that. I cannot wait to get back out there & perform for real live humans but in the meantime - thank GOD for the internet!
Photo credit: Ray Connolly