#IMMusicMonday: Karen Hardy Talks Ariana Grande Remix, X-factor and More

New Jersey a Pop/Soul artist Karen Hardy, picked up and moved to Nashville,Tennessee in the fall of 2017. Her smooth sweet sound has often been compared to the likes of Sza and Ariana Grande, drawing inspiration from her Dads personal favourites The Beatles and Martin guitars. Turning her attention to new single ‘Nobody’,the singer-songwriter sat down with IndustryMe to discuss how she first got started, moving away from home and more.

Would you say that your parents played a crucial role in discovering your love for music?

Definitely – my dad played guitar a lot when I was growing up. He is a HUGE fan of the Beatles, so I think a lot the advice her gave me music career wise stemmed from that. Aside from the advice my parents, for the most part, allowed me to do what I wanted to do and figure out what I liked.

When I was a lot younger I tried a lot of sports but didn’t fall in love with anything until I found music. As soon as they noticed my love for music they put me into vocal lessons, so yeah they’ve been super supportive.

You mention the aftermath of an X factor audition being the catalyst for your career development, why was that such a defining moment for you?

I thought that being on TV was literally the only way to make it into the industry. When I didn’t get through to the next round I thought ‘well that’s it then, this is not gonna happen’. Looking back at it I realised that maybe 70% of the girls at that audition were exactly like me. I had to do something to make myself stand out. I picked up the guitar and started songwriting shortly after that. I realised that I had quite a soulful voice, so I began to incorporate R&B and jazz into my sound.

It took you some time to find your pop/R&B sound, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on that journey?

Listen to everything. My biggest problem was that I spent too much time trying to find it. its not something that you can seek out. Just make music and let it happen naturally, your sound will find you.

What inspired the move to Nashville?

I had been making music in Jersey for about 4 years. A lot of the people I was playing to were from an older crowd. I had done all the growing I could do from writing from my bedroom.

My vocal coach said to me one day ‘ you should move to Nashville, that’s where all the songwriters are’ and I was like ‘Whats a pop girl like me going to do in capital of country music’. When my parents and I travelled out there I actually found that there was a great pop scene out there. Nashville is really a melting pot of different musical styles and every other person you meet out there could be a potential co-writer which is really cool.

Nashville is particularly known for being the home of some of the best songwriters in the industry. What have you learned since moving out there?

I’d say I’ve definitely learned what not to do when it comes to writing music. So before my songs were a random mashup of lyrics and melodies but there was no formula to the way I was writing. Being out in Nashville I really learned what makes a good song.

Who are your 3 biggest musical influences?

Carrie Underwood. When I was in the 2nd grade my mum bought me one of her CDs and for years I would pretend to be her in front of my bed room mirror.

Carol King because she was an incredible songwriter. At the time she was writing with a lot of the men and killing it. she broke barriers doing her own thing.

Beyonce – she’s everything

Your sound has often been compared to that of Ariana Grande, if you could have remix one of your songs which would you pick and why?

That’s a good one. I guess it would be this new one ‘Nobody’ as people say it sounds a bit like her. Ultimately though, she has an amazing voice and would totally kill it. Who wants someone to sing their song better than them haha?

If there’s any song you wish you’d written which would it be?

There is this really cool song that I discovered on Spotify called ‘Lost’ by Blake rose. Its beautiful!

What’s been the biggest change for you as an artist between your last album and now?

Most of the songs from that time, I wrote when I was 17 and had no idea what I was doing or what being an artist was. This time around I know what my sound is and the music I am writing is a lot better.

How does it feel finally being able to share ‘Nobody’ with the world?

Its exciting! I haven’t put out any music since last October. Now I’m on a roll It’s gonna be a fun rest of the year.

Can you tell us a little more about the story behind the song?

I’ve always been the person that was in the background in large groups. I’ve never really fit in. In high school I always thought “it’s not me it’s them”. Then this year I had some of the same feelings and thought “maybe it is me”. I realised that there were a lot of people in my life that have taken the time to get to know and appreciate me and that they do love me for me, so the song is really about that.

Where can your fans see you live?

No tours planned for right now outside of Nashville, Jersey and NYC. However I do want to get out to Europe and parts of LA for a mini tour.

What are you working on right now?

 We are currently shooting the video for my song ‘Really Wanna’ which should be out mid fall. I’ll also be releasing the stripped down versions of 3 of my singles.

If there was any advice you could give to your 17 year old self about the music business what would it be?

  • Listen to your parents
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Stop trying to do everything yourself it is not possible.
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