M.A.D. Wednesday Interview Series: Michele Karmin

bill bodkin chats with the New Jersey singer …

I’ve Been Performing Since: Long past the point of memory … very young.

I’m Based Out Of: New Jersey

Find My Current Music (online, in stores at): http://vibedeck.com/michelekarmin, http://www.MicheleKarmin.com, http://www.facebook.com/michelekarminmusic

New Record To Be Released: Let Me Introduce Myself … Again

My Sound Has Been Likened To: Jewel and Tori Amos

Awesome/Famous Bands I’ve Performed With: Ryan Cabrera

Pop-Break: You’ve performed at M.A.D. Wednesday previously. What is it about this night that has made it the indie showcase of the Jersey Shore area?

Michele Karmin: I enjoy the people and the scene. They all seem to be genuinely interested in discovering and supporting new artists.

PB: You’re based of the New York/New Jersey/Philly area. How has performing in each one of these areas, rich with musical history, helped foster your career? Is one area tougher to perform at, in terms of gaining audience appreciation, than others?

MK: Philly is beyond filled with musicians of such high caliber, so you can’t help but to be positively influenced and grow. All areas are receptive and seem to appreciate. If I had to pick one, I think New York City is a bit more difficult in terms of establishing yourself, just because its New York and its supposed to be, but that’s also why I love it.

PB: In your bio, it says that it wasn’t until 2009, when you released your first piano composition “Six Yearsk” that you set the mark for the future of your sound. What was your sound previous to the introduction of the pianok and why did you decide to bring the piano into your sound?

MK: Early onk my engineered sound was more pop-rock, but I floated around genres a lot for years in search of something. There were dance remixes, loungey kind of soulful ballads, rock and pop, etc. I had always loved the piano, and once I got past the baby steps of teaching myself, I discovered that it was what I was looking for. I felt it and knew it would shape my career from that point on. Learning, even in its most infant stage, helped me get through a lot of thick layers of myself. I think of the experience like meeting a person who becomes an amazing friend in my life. As the friendship builds, I feel as though they have been a part of me all along and can’t imagine my life without them.

PB: You opened for Ryan Cabrera for his East Coast Tour in 2009. What did you learn from touring with a musician who’s had mainstream success?

MK: The whole tour thing was completely foreign to me at the time, so it was nice to watch how a seasoned musician engages his crowd and shows appreciation to his fans. He’s humble and very personable, so he set a great example.

PB: In late 2010, you teamed up with DJ Tom Colontonio and wrote the trance song “Colors Of Tear.” How did you two come to work together and how was it working in the electronic genre when you’ve been working in more of the live, instrumental genre?

MK: A few years ago, I asked one of my producers to do a couple remixes for me. He later introduced me to Tom knowing I dug that kind of music. I took a listen and his production was fantastic, so it was a no-brainer for me. I have always had a passion/obsession for electronica. It’s totally an alter-ego’ yet it is slowly merging with the other one. I have no clue how to DJ, but if I could somehow play piano, sing and produce killer uplifting electronic sounds at the same time, I would be in my glory. One day …

PB: You have a new record coming out soon. What can people expect from the sound of the record? Also, how will this record stand out from your earlier catalog?

MK: It’s organic, somewhat quirky at times and just very real with a hint of electronic elements. I think I have always been pretty mature for my age, but I can definitely feel an emotional leap in this one. I look at this record as the starting point even though the previous albums and years have most certainly shaped me. It took me a while to get my foot on the starting line, but I’m here now, so it’s really an amazing feeling.

PB: There are a lot of awesome female singers out there today. What do you think separates you from the rest?

MK: My songs have quite a few dimensions to them — more so lyrically and spiritually. They are like connecting the puzzles of my mind, on their many levels. I feel that aspect alone, also makes them very relatable.

PB: And finally, what do you have planned, outside of the record, for the rest of 2011?

MK: I would like to finish setting up my home studio to speed up the release process of the really new music. I’m also looking forward to raising funds to tour again outside of my usual areas. I would really like to start traveling again.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites