Karen O’Shea has been mesmerising her audiences with her amazing vocal talents since an early age. Originally from Darwin, she’s worked professionally since leaving school.
Diversity has become a signature of Karen, having sung a variety of genres from jazz, 50’s, 60’s rock’n’roll through to songs from Chaka Khan, Roxette, Earth Wind and Fire, James Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Carol King, Eva Cassidy and into the popular artists of today such as Pink, Ed Sheeran, Colbie Caillat, Taylor Swift, Megan Trainor as well as country artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Dolly, Eagles, Keith Urban just to name a few.
In Darwin, Karen was part of a duo called ‘Cat in the Hat’, who released an independent record, supported artists including Randy Crawford, Christine Anu, James Morrison, CBD and was invited by the Australian High Commissioner in Brunei to go over and perform. Whilst there, they had the privilege of playing before the Sultan’s (2nd) wife during her birthday celebration.
Later, after her move to Sydney, Karen toured with Richard Clapton as a backing vocalist in the early 90’s and was also part of an original group called ‘Sydney Sound Machine’. Supporting Wilson Pickett whilst with this line-up was a highlight.
Karen can also lay claim to being part of the very first ‘College of Country Music’ which was held in Tamworth back in ’97.
It was here that she and Lyn Bowtell became fast friends, writing and recording ‘I Can Fly’ (which was released on a compilation soundtrack). Karen went on to be a Grand Finalist in the prestigious Toyota Star Maker 2000 & 2001.
After recording her debut album, ‘Wish’, with Rod McCormack, Karen appeared as a guest artist on both Bert Newton’s GMA show and the Denise Drysdale midday show. She was also awarded the coveted Frank Ifield International Spur Award for Best New Female Performer 2001 and picked up ‘Best Independent Female Artist’ at the Independent CM Awards 2002.
Karen was also awarded the ‘Best Female Vocal’ TIARA (Tamworth Independent Artists Recognition Awards) in 2002 and picked up another in 2004 for ‘Collaboration’ with Billy Bridge.
After her successes as a solo artist, Karen joined forces with Lyn Bowtell and Kate Ballantyne, creating the formidable trio harmony group, ‘BELLA’.
As ‘Bella’, the girls first recorded an EP then their album ‘Gravity’. They won 2 Golden Guitars for ‘Best Group’ at the Tamworth CM Awards in 2005 and 2006 and were Finalists again for the same category in 2007. Bella toured Australia, were a featured artist at the ‘Carols in the Domain’ and also got to collaborate with Jimmy Barnes and Troy Casser-Daley on their rendition of ‘Bird on a Wire’.
Based near Newcastle, Karen now works consistently as a soloist most weekends. With her love of singing and having had so many opportunities to sing such a diverse range of songs, there is no doubt that Karen could sing almost anything.
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