UFO Network Interview Karen Harding
Karen Harding is firmly established as one of the best voices in dance music. Her list of collaborations includes the likes of Purple Disco Machine, Paul Woolford, Tujamo, Sonny Fodera, Redlight and even the legendary Giorgio Moroder. Never one to sit still, she recently crashed through half a billion streams of her music, while also celebrating a million sales of her breakthrough UK top 10 single ‘Say Something’. She’s back out performing live and just released her debut EP ‘Sweet Vibrations’ on US dance label, Ultra Music. 2022 is looking like it will be her biggest year yet, so we thought it was time UFO Network caught up with this hugely talented artist.
Hi Karen. We’ve been fans of your music for quite a while now so it’s exciting to see your debut EP ‘Sweet Vibrations’ arriving on Ultra Music. What can you tell us about this release?
Hey! Thank you, so good to be talking to you. This release feels like its been such a long time coming. Since my debut ‘Say Something’ in 2015 I feel like I’ve released so much music but this EP is really special to me as I feel like it’s a true Karen Harding release, I hope that you can hear that in the music.
A lot has been written about the difficulties and struggles faced by women in the music industry. You have enjoyed a lot of success so far in your career. What struggles have you had to overcome to get here?
For every artist I think each of us has had to overcome many struggles. Success isn’t something that just happens, there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes that begins to pay off at some point. For me, I feel like I’ve had to deal with a lot of rejection but every time I just tried my best to deal with it and not dwell on it for too long. You can’t please everyone so now I just allow people to take it or leave it, it doesn’t bother me.
Any advice for young singers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
I guess I would reiterate that music is an opinionated world and many people think they might have the answers for you but you have gotta follow your gut (it’s usually right!) and be confident in your own ability. No one can believe in you the way that you can.
If you were to join a girl band, which current artists would you want to be in it and why?
Ooh, well I’m absolutely obsessed with Yebba, her voice is just like the creamiest dessert. I’d love to just be in the room and hear her sing to be honest, haha! I also would love to have Doja Cat and SZA in a band too. I think they would be a hoot but also get things done too!
You have a range of styles across your music but who would you say has been a major influence on you as a performer and songwriter?
Well I have so many inspirations but one of my main ones is definitely Whitney Houston. A lot of people say this about me too and I think it’s obvious that I’m very much inspired by her vocals. In a lot of female performances, I’ve watched so many, I’m always in awe of the confidence and power that they hold and I think I try my best to channel this vibe when I perform too.
As an artist who performs live you must have been affected by the pandemic? How did you deal with this and what’s it like now you’re able to get back on stage?
Yeah, definitely wasn’t fun not being able to perform for so long but once I was back on stage it felt like I’d never had that time off. I did a lot of live streams last summer purely because I wanted to keep performing and give myself something to look forward to each week. I was able to try out new music and teach myself a little on the DJ decks so I’m kinda glad I made the most of it.
You have Filipino and Newcastle (UK) roots. How important are these to you and has your background had any impact on you as an artist?
Well, any Filipino will always tell you how much music is ingrained into the culture. Every party we went to included a videoke machine and a dance floor of some sort, so I was always encouraged to get up and perform. I think this definitely helped with my confidence from a young age. I love being from the North East, it has such a vibe to it, the people are beautiful and I will always call it my home.
What is the thing you like least about being a music artist (and don’t say doing interviews!)?
Haha! My least favourite thing definitely has to be the politics of releasing music. I hate wanting to release something then suddenly can’t because of some political reasoning that’s going on behind the scenes. This doesn’t happen very often but when it does it drives me mad!
‘Sweet Vibrations’ should keep your fans happy for a while but are you already working on new material? Any exciting collaborations you can tell us about?
Got a few things lined up to come but I’m mainly focusing on the EP. It’s been such a long time coming I want to make the most of every second.
What is one thing people don’t know about Karen Harding?
A lot of people don’t know this but I had a baby in June, she’s called Nina and she must be sick of the EP considering she heard it so much in the womb, haha!
Thanks very much for your time Karen and good luck with ‘Sweet Vibrations’.
Connect with Karen Harding
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