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Kari Epps: The sweet, soulful sound of music

Kari Epps

Photo credit: Joe Kang

Kari Epps has a vocal prowess that makes you shudder. You take one sip of her musical tea, and you’ll find yourself begging for seconds. And, Kari surely isn’t a vocalist who can be placed in a box or tossed into a pile of mediocre artists. She commands the attention of those in earshot and captivates you with every verse whether she’s singing classical, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues or funk.

“I was that girl into sports and I have always sung. I played basketball and as soon as we finished warm ups, I had to sing the national anthem,” shares the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native.

Epps has been singing since she was a toddler so by the age of six, she was virtually a child star. “My mom always volunteered me to sing,” she remembers. Her dad often played oldies music, which left her feeling she grew up in the wrong era, or as we say in the South, ‘she was before her time.’

“My first introduction to the music industry was with Arrested Development. Speech’s studio was the first studio I’d ever walked into,” shares the twenty-something chartreuse.

Aretha Franklin, Mary Jane Girls, Whitney Houston, Sade and Brandy influenced her.
Life’s struggles drive her.

What’s her favorite song to cover?
“Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ – Someone once told me it was a song I should always sing.”

Has she ever experienced stage fright?
“Once I performed for Ne-Yo with a group where I was a member and it was like my alter-ego showed up and took over. It was a success. Ever since, I knew I had to give it my all.”

What is her alter ego’s name?
“Carmen”

In three words, who is Carmen?
“Bossy, feisty and a woman who knows what she wants.”

In three words, who is Kari?
“Kari is very family-oriented, energetic and happy.”

Having shared the same stage as Erykah Badu, Kandi Burruss, and Demetria McKinney, and most recently touring the world as background singer for B.o.B., Epps declares, “Here and now, I know it is my time. I am ready.”

Follow Kari Epps on Twitter: @KaRiMaRiA