Even before 16-year-old Karina Pasian signed to Def Jam records, the
stellar singer was already making a name for herself. From her winning
performance on Star Search in 2003 to singing at the White House last
June during Black Music Month, this New York City chanteuse has been
paying her professional dues since she was a toddler.
"I've been singing and playing piano since I was three," says Karina.
"My babysitter had a piano, and she started teaching me how to play. It
wasn't until a year later that I began getting professional lessons."
While some have been quick to compare Karina Pasian to other performers
including Aaliyah, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey, one listen to her
self-assured debut disc is evidence enough that she is destined for
Karina remembers the first time she sang in front of an audience. "I
sang Céline Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' at a talent show. I was kind
of nervous, but the audience loved it."
From that point, there was no denying that music would be her life. A
few years later, after using the Prince-penned ballad "How Come U Don't
Call" for an audition,
Karina Pasian was cast on a revamped version of Star Search. "That was
such a wonderful experience," says Karina, who won the first round of
the competition with a rousing version of the Jackson Five classic
"I'll Be There."
Working with an array of songwriters, producers and artists that
include The Dream, Tricky Stewart, Gordon Chambers, Chris Brown,
Carlos McKinnney, Lil Mama and others, Karina proves to be a breath of
fresh soul. "I've recorded over 70 songs in the last two years," Karina
says. "It was a period of real growth for me as I learned to focus and
Karina Pasian's godfather, famed producer and businessman Quincy Jones,
has also been a guardian angel for the young singer. In addition to
giving her advice, the maestro included her in the "We Are the Future"
charity concert in 2006. Considering the talents Jones has worked with,
from Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan to Michael Jackson and Tamia, she
is in good company. "I know I'm blessed to have someone like Quincy in
my corner," she says.
A fan who embraces all forms of music, from the stylish Black pop of
Brandy to old school jazz greats, Karina performed the standard "Misty"
when she was at the White House last year. "Emilio Estefan, who has
been a friend of my family for years, helped to put the show together,
and invited me to be a part of it," says Karina. "Later, my brother
told me that I was the first Dominican to play at the White House, and
that made me very proud."
Studying music and voice at High School for the Professional Performing
Arts, the Washington Heights native was more than prepared for any
challenges that arose in the studio. "I was blessed to have some pretty
amazing teachers who prepared me well," she says sweetly. Refusing to
fall into any cliché, Karina Pasian has recorded an album that is a
reflection of her age and independent point of view.
Karina Pasian's song "Sixteen" is a song of independence and
admiration. "Ain't no daddy's where I'm from, its just mad mothers…why
am I disrespected by someone I should call brother," she sings in a
pristine voice. "I wanted to do a song about what teenager girls go
through in urban areas. It's not cool that boys think they're being
cute when they say nasty stuff to us on the street." Written and
produced by The Dream and Tricky Stewart, best known for their work
with Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Madonna's "Me Against the Music," the
song "Sixteen" reminds one of vintage Brill Building girls like the
Crystals or Little Eva with an electro-groove.
Another The Dream and Tricky Stewart track that will leave fans
breathless is "Baby Baby," an uptempo song that is destined to be a
dancefloor scorcher. "Though this is a fun song, it's not just a party
song," says Karina "It's about guys who simply see young women as sex
objects, but I refuse to be that girl." Indeed, like Aretha Franklin,
she simply wants some respect. Sharing the mic with rapper Lil Mama
("Lip Gloss" & "Shawty Get Loose"), the two young stars connected
in the studio. "Lil Mama was so cool, but it was her confidence in the
booth that was really exciting."
Produced and written by Carlos McKinney, the sing-songy "Can't Find the
Words" embraces elements of jazz and pop while simultaneously creating
a whimsical track that sounds like nothing else of the radio.
Additionally, Karina's favorite song "Winner," which highlights her
elegant piano (her light touch on the keyboard reminds one of Erroll
Garner) playing, is laidback and uplifting.
A beautiful young woman with more musical moxy than most sixteen year
olds, Karina Pasian has constructed one of the finest debut discs in
years. Melancholic and truthful, funky and real, blissful and bold,
Karina's album is the sound of a better tomorrow.