Australian born, New York based Pop Piano Singer and Songwriter Karen Jacobsen has a mission to create an extraordinary life. Whether performing a sold out show at NYCs The Duplex, to a crowd of 80 000 at Giants Stadium, or in the intimacy of a House Concert setting, a profound love of music, and a desire to connect with others through her songs is at the core of her purpose.
“…be prepared to lose your heart to Jacobsen,
or at the very least, leave singing her lovely, melody-driven songs.” New York Press
Her voice may be familiar to you, and she just might be giving you directions in your car all day every day. She is "Australian Karen", the Aussie voice (and one of the most popular) in the Garmin, Navman, TomTom and Mio GPS systems in millions of cars worldwide.
When Karen Jacobsen walks on stage you know she belongs there. She has the looks of a model, the presence of a superstar, and then you hear her voice - that "never-seen-a-cigarette-in-her-life-voice". Whether she is speaking, singing, hosting an event or a segment on a television show, everything about her commands your attention.
Her songs are catchy, melodic, timeless pop, kind of like Billy Joel would sing if he were a tall, blonde Australian woman.
Now New York based, Karen has shared the stage with Norah Jones, Christopher Cross, Jars of Clay, Three Dog Night, Deborah Cox, Cyndi Lauper, Spyro Gyra and her songs have been heard on Dawson's Creek and NBC.
Karen has performed across the US, Australia, Germany, England, Malaysia and Thailand alone at the grand piano, with a full band and a capella singing the anthem at major sporting events.
She has appeared on network television in the US and Australia as a performer and host, and released six CDs on her own label Kurly Queen. Her CD Kissing Someone Else was named in the Top 25 CDs for 2007 by Indie-Music.com, and is being released in Australia with the title “Melting Moments”.
Karen's life is all about making a difference and doing it now. The music video for her new single Melting Moments was inspired by her experience in Zambia, Africa performing for 250 children living in extreme poverty, and includes footage of that performance.
She proudly combines her charity work with her music, believing if we focus on our similarities instead of our differences, we will live in a world that works for everyone.
Originally from Mackay, a country town in the tropics near Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Karen performed in her first concert at the age of five and has rarely been off the stage since. At seven, with a longing to have curly hair, she wrote the song "Kurly Queen" which is now the name of her record label. Karen sang the entire soundtrack of Grease into her hairbrush in front of the mirror, learned classical piano and was drawn to musical theatre, the pure pop of Abba and her childhood idol Olivia Newton-John. Winning a local song contest at the age of thirteen, Karen's dream of a career in music felt within reach.
Classically trained in piano and voice and flirting with jazz at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Karen was working as a jingle singer and live performer as often as she was in college classes. Her first piano bar residency, at Brisbane’s Park Royal hotel is the venue for CD release celebration of “Melting Moments”, paying homage to her piano bar beginnings.
Relocating to Australia's largest city, Sydney, Karen landed a role in the Australian version of the Broadway show Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, singing the Star Spangled Banner 220 times in the six month run. Regular national television appearances followed, including Good Morning Australia, Midday and a fifteen-part series of the game show "I Do I Do". Karen's days were busy as a jingle and voice over artist, while she continued to write and play live up to five nights a week.
Although her life was settled and successful, in 2000 Karen was ready to fulfill her long held dream to move to America. She recorded the piano/vocal album "As I Am", sold everything, and arrived in New York City on July 4th, 2000. Karen loves that there are fireworks for her every year on that anniversary.
To New York City.
Karen immediately began performing at legendary live music venue The Bitter End, at songwriter showcases in the city, and was soon touring clubs and colleges throughout the U.S.
Making her U.S. Network Television Debut, Karen performed at the Mohegan Sun Arena for the NBC-TV Special Dare to Dream 2002: A Concert for Hope, also featuring Uncle Kracker, Jars of Clay, Dave Mason and Spyro Gyra. Karen co-wrote the theme song, and NBC-TV aired the concert nationally, with Karen closing the star-studded extravaganza, and Access Hollywood describing the song as "Wonderful writing .simple and clear and from the heart."
Karen's song "Supposed To Say" was used for the worldwide DVD release of the hit-TV series Dawson's Creek, her first US licensing deal.
Her first performance of The Star Spangled Banner on American soil was to a sellout crowd at Fenway Park in Boston. Madison Square Garden, Dodger Stadium and many other major sporting events followed, with a performance for 80 000 people at a New York Jets game at Giants Stadium being a career highlight.
She won the Abe Olman Scholarship for Excellence in Songwriting presented by the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, placed in a zillion song contests, and has appeared on the main stage at LA, Jersey City, Delaware & Ottawa Pride Festivals.
Recording and releasing "Here In My Heart" in 2005, Karen performed with her band at New York clubs including Fez and The Cutting Room. She toured the country with Jennifer Marks opening for Cyndi Lauper, and has shared the stage with Norah Jones, Christopher Cross, Three Dog Night and Deborah Cox.
Remixes of her song "Your Body Over Mine" by DJ Randy Bettis and David Boyd of BetBoyz, were released in 2006, while Karen continued to record her next studio album.
"Kissing Someone Else" was released in January 2007 at Joe's Pub in New York City to rave reviews and radio play across the country. and the same month Karen finally met her childhood idol Olivia Newton-John.
The music video for her new single "Melting Moments" was inspired by Karen's recent experience traveling to Zambia, Africa and includes footage from that journey.
Karen started the group To Zambia With Love to actively raise awareness about child sponsorship through Children International. After sponsoring six year old Edina Muumbu, she felt compelled to travel to Africa to meet her. In addition to doing so, Karen performed a concert for 250 children living in extreme poverty, and with the assistance of Yamaha donated a portable stage grand piano to the center, to start a music education program.
Karen is currently promoting her new record “Melting Moments” in Australia, and Jennifer Leyton of Indie-Music.com says "Her artistic growth is so evident on this CD that it has to be spilling over into her live performances.find her schedule and plan around it."
Karen's Live Performance Promo Video:
Karen's Music Video for the single "Melting Moments":
Amazingly for an Aussie, Karen has performed The Star Spangled Banner at Madison Square Garden, Dodger Stadium and Fenway Park, and at a New York Jets game to a capacity crowd of 80 000 at Giants Stadium. She has appeared on the main stage at Los Angeles, Jersey City, Delaware & Ottawa Pride Festivals and her many awards include the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting, in the Billboard, John Lennon, UK, Unisong and USA Song Contests, and in the Kauai Music Festival.
If you haven't yet heard or heard of the striking silky voiced diva from down under, you soon will!