Today’s blog post is a bit special. It’s the transcription from this interview we had with Ms. Karolina Karner. Aside from being a record label, Eleven B Studios is also about teaching and talking about the music industry itself. So, enjoy this talk with Karolina, a great singer who has made it “happen” with some really smart ideas.
Question. When you started out in the music industry as a young person, you had your education and your skills as a singer, how did you proceed after that? And when you were there, what was the breaking point that really took you from being amateur to professional level?
For me, it’s realizing that I was able to control my own job situation that made a really huge impact. As a singer and musician, it’s really important to be well-prepared and that you’re creating your own gigs all the time. If no one is calling you, make sure that they want to call you because you’re always up to new stuff: create concerts and jam sessions, record yourself – just be out there.
Q. When you stood there and had nothing, what was the first gig you had?
I started gigging when I was sixteen in different top 40 cover bands. From there, the stage was a really good school for me because it gave me a lot of routine and stage persona which I brought to my other gigs. Just being on stage working with other musicians gave me more jobs so I don’t think I would’ve been in the same situation if I hadn’t been networking and meeting people – like you.
Q. What was the difficult part and the thing that made you realize that THAT is how it should be like?
I started studying to become a therapist. I went down “the safe path” such as going to a university in Sweden and get a steady job BUT I wasn’t happy. I realized I had to do something and I needed a challenge. I needed to go abroad – far from where I was so I applied to a school in L.A. and I got in and went to LA Music Academy. Being there in that environment among other musicians all the time made me realize that I wasn’t that far from living the dream – it was possible. The only thing that I needed to do was to put time into it because the talent and work ethic was there. As soon as I set my goal to start working as a singer, it happened for me. When I landed my first gig as a singer in a production that lasted more than three months, I realized this is something I can do. This is not just a gig here or there, it’s something I can make a living out of.
Q. What was the difference between you and the other people around you that have the same talent and skills? Why did you succeed and others didn’t?
I think being a musician and being your own company, you need to be interested in working with other stuff that’s far from the core of what you started with. You started out because you want to sing – the main focus is not always there, it has to be focused on goals, administration and reaching out.
Q. What made you realized that?
I think that happened in LA at school actually when we started arranging shows, I became the administrator and the person that talked to people or made it happen and I think that that’s something I enjoy doing also.
Q. So you started with this CORE thing, you were a singer and you realized that if you could combine the things in the process then all of a sudden you have many branches to spread your “leaves” and get more nutrition from the sun. So one thing that I’m fascinated about with you – which I think is smart – you teamed up with another girl.
I met a girl in LA, Teresa Perrelli, from Stockholm and we started hanging out and singing together. We realized that our voices sounded really good together and we have the same technique, approach, genres, and how to sing stuff. So when we moved back to Sweden, we continued singing together. I would do back up for her and she would do backups for me on gigs and other stuff like that. Then we realized we sound so damn good together that we should create a backup vocals unit, which we did. So now, we have a duo. I’m the low voice, she’s the high voice and we offer backup vocals for studio or live music. If you want us to arrange the harmonies, we’ll do that; if they wrote the harmonies already, we’ll just sing whatever they wrote. In our case, they would call us to do a session because they know our sound is good. It takes time to create a blend between voices and you need personal chemistry also – we have these; we’re safe, I know exactly where she’s going when she’s singing, I will follow her and vice versa. It’s very simple.
Q. What projects have you done so far that has been the hardest to accomplish, and which project was easier than you thought?
Both Teresa and I has always been very interested in soul gospel and funk music. That’s where we’ve been focusing on because we both loved it and it just happened naturally. Then we landed this gig with this amazing rock group called Astrakhan and they were doing “Jesus Christ Superstar” as a concert show. That music is not soul gospel or funk, it’s has odd meters, very weird harmonic wise, very challenging. We really had to sit down and find our new voice to do that – that was amazing and we grew so much.
Q. Sometimes, it’s hard to “package” a new product so that the customers will understand what their buying. Did you have that kind of experience with your duo?
Yes, all of the time in the beginning. The challenge is we’re not a duo that will go out and do shows like lead singers.
Q. How do you tackle those situations?
We have to pick and choose. When we feel like it’s something that develops us as a duo, we will still do it but our main focus has always been to be backup duo and to enhance whatever music is being played.
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Best / Dejo
CEO, Eleven B Studios