By Robert Sauthoff — BN: Karen, tell our readers a little bit about the meaning behind the title of your new album #PlantingSeeds?
KB:This is my third CD. Since being an independent artist, my timelines differ from if I was with a record label, and, they demanded a certain release date. In between my releases, life happens and takes us through peaks and valleys. During life’s journey I continue to plant seeds in every aspect of my life and career. Since I for the most part write about my life in songs and lyric, I thought this would be apropo.
BN:What inspired you to use the hashtag in the title?
KB: Well, hashtag implies relevance on Social Media, and since tilling the soil, nurturing and giving perpetual care is relevant to your seeds growing, blossoming, healthy and strong, I thought it would be perfect. Plus it looks good..lol. I was inspired and thought it would be appreciated and understood. Especially with my back story which I am now happily sharing with you.
BN: How do you like the current social media? Are you active on twitter and instagram?
KB: I love Social Media!! Used responsibly and with a purpose, it is very advantageous, especially to someone like myself. It is 80 percent of my business self-promotion.
It affords Artist like myself the ability to be close to their “listeners,” communicate with them on a regular basis, as well as having autonomy with the momentum of their project. Also, it cuts out the middle man. Your hustle is more intense, but, it is so worth hustling for something you own and control. “God Bless the child who has her own”
BN:Who was the first artist you toured with during your time as a background singer?
KB:Wow, Ok let me think. That’s an excellent question. I say that because my career happened in layers. Ummmm…still thinking. Oh Ok, C&C Music Factory, then PMDawn,and many artists in between like Paul Simon, Dave Stewart, Rue Paul. Now that I am actually naming them…you’re taking me back -) I am highly favored, and abundantly blessed.
BN: What is the biggest lessons one of the singers you toured with has taught you?
KB: Loving your questions, my BABY Chaka Khan who is like my Mutha, Sista Friend told me to stay inspired, don’t let anyone take me away from what I have planned for myself family included. Meaning often folks don’t really get what it is WE do and the sacrifices we make to do it. The romantic and glamorous side is usually what people see, but hard work goes into every song, note, chord, lyric, inflection, movement, strum, fret etc.
Chaka told me to get out of my own way and keep my eyes on the prize as well as stay authentic..be You..she says. 🙂 I adore her. As you can see.
BN: Any bad experiences on the road?
KB: Ooooh chile…umph….well, of course there is good and bad in everything we do. However, I will refrain from sharing dirty laundry. Wait til’ my book…lol …then I will change the names to protect the guilty!!!! lol 😉
BN: What is life like on tour? What would people be surprised about being on the road?
KB: Life on tour is exciting, fun, fast paced, forever moving, culturally invigorating. When I first started touring I was younger and it was like the whole world was in my reach. It’s the best education..traveling that is. I think people would be surprised to know that on the road touring you can record an entire album, CD, song, right in your hotel room. Musicians bring their equipment and we have recorded so many songs that were hits on the radio. It all started either on the tour bus in our bunks, or in the hotel room with pro-tools and the like. Mobile studios if you will. Technology, go figure.
BN: Tell us about your fan base overseas?
KB: It’s another world overseas. Especially for Soul artists like myself. Here in the states, the music industry is saturated with a lot of the same type of music. In the U.S, you’ll have one major hit from an artist, usually a main stream artist (as opposed to an indie artist). It will be on the charts for weeks/months. You are inundated and conditioned to love this song/hit.
Every new artist will then come out with the same type of song cuz the bottom line is money, and everyone wants a top hit. So if auto tunes is the rage, then so it will be on each and every new song. It becomes mundane and unfair to those who have something different to offer. Thank God for the internet. Overseas is not as saturated and the people want to hear different authentic organic real soul music. Like back in the 70’s. Music stirred from the Soul by the Soul. They allow you to be yourself and not sound like every other artist on the charts. Live shows are the best. You can truly show your stuff and it is appreciated as such. I experience that every time I go there as a solo artist or singing background for such artists as Incognito, who is based in London, Pet Shop Boys, Dave Stewart, as well as American artist who are revered overseas like Chaka, Erykah, D’Angelo, Mary J. Each time it was a great experience. They even remember me when I go back. They are very loyal and respect the authenticity of an artist. It is always exciting when I perform overseas and I look forward to going back in the very near future. Your questions are awesome, got me thinking over here. 🙂
BN:What is the overall message or feeling you’d like for listeners to leave with as they listen to #PlantingSeeds?
KB: All of my projects/CD’s are a labor of love. I have been blessed to be a messenger through song and make a living from it. Every note I sing comes from my soul. Every lyric I write comes from my heart. And sharing my blessings is showing my appreciation for all of those who have supported me throughout my career. #Plantingseeds is my grown ’n sexxy CD. Life has happened and things don’t always go the way you plan, but, a strong foundation will always yield healthy fruit. This is the fruit of my labor. Plant a seed and it will grow with the right TLC. If I can touch one person with my journeys through song…then I have done my job and I think God is happy that I am putting my gift to good use. “Music is the Universal Language.”
BN:Tell us about your up coming singles and projects?
KB: I am currently working on something to represent the recent atrocities here in America with the ystemic racism that continues to escalate with unjust and unfair treatment to people of color. Namely Black Boys/Men and Brown boys/Men but ALL men/woman should be treated equal. I am also preparing for a jazz album as well as an acoustic project. My ultimate goal though is to produce new artists under my Indie label. Also I am a House head, so I will coming out with something for the DJ’s in my life. “Sky is the Limit…The only place to go is GO “UP”… HIGHER !!!
BN: Where can we find you online?
KB:You can find everything KAREN right on my website. www.karenbernod.com. I am on every Social Media outlet so I look forward to friending with you. 🙂
KB: Thank you so much for an awesome Q & A. I appreciate engaging conversation. I also appreciate questions with substance. Have a Blessed Holiday…and I am glad YOU’RE BACK!!! Peace n Love, Karen Bernod