Karen O performing with Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2013
|Birth name||Karen Lee Orzolek|
November 22, 1978 |
Busan, South Korea
|Origin||New Jersey, United States|
|Genres||Indie rock, art punk, alternative rock|
|Years active||Since 2000|
|Associated acts||Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Native Korean Rock
Karen O was born in November 1978 in Busan, South Korea to a Korean mother and a Polish father. She eventually moved to the United States, where she grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. She has commented on her childhood: "It's almost embarrassing how well-behaved I was, which is probably why I do things like spit water on myself on stage as an adult." She attended Oberlin College, but transferred to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Karen O is best known as the frontwoman for the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She has also been noted for her sense of fashion, wearing ostentatious outfits made by her friend, fashion designer Christian Joy. In the early days of the band, she became well known for her outrageous antics during live shows. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs first ever gig was fronting for The White Stripes.
Playboy made an offer for her to pose on their cover. Karen O said on the subject, "I was approached but I said no. Who knows though? Maybe I'll do it in the future, but now doesn't seem to be the right time." Since then, however, Karen stated in an interview with Associated Press magazine that she has changed her mind and would never do Playboy because of the audience that Playboy magazine attracts.
During a tour for the 2003 Livid Festival in Australia, at a sideshow at The Metro in Sydney, she accidentally danced off the stage and was reluctantly taken to a hospital. A few days later at the Sydney leg of the Livid Festival, she appeared in a wheelchair pushed by Angus Andrew.
Karen O won Spin Magazine's Sex Goddess Award in both 2004 and 2005. In 2006, she was named one of rock's hottest women by Blender. In 2007, Karen O placed #3 on Spinner.com's Women Who Rock Right Now. In February 2010, she won a Shockwaves NME Award for the Hottest Woman.
In 2011, she contributed vocals on the song "Pinky's Dream" on the David Lynch debut album Crazy Clown Time.
We still have to grab people by the collar … We put out a record every three years now; we could easily be forgotten. If you look at a lot of our peers that we came up with, a lot of them have disappeared.
O has also collaborated with James Iha on his second solo LP "Look To The Sky" released in 2012.
O was featured in the track "Cut Me Up" by Har Mar Superstar for the soundtrack to the 2005 horror film House of Wax. For the movie Jackass 2, Karen O collaborated with electronic artist Peaches and Johnny Knoxville to record a track entitled "Backass"; for Jackass 3D, she covered the Roger Alan Wade's "If You're Gonna Be Dumb" under the alternative title of "If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough". In 2007, she also contributed vocals to a version of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" for the I'm Not There movie soundtrack. At the end of episode 409, "Brothers Cinco", of the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! she performed a short song. She also has a song titled "Strange Love" on the album "Frankenweenie Unleashed!"
In May 2011, it was reported that Karen O had collaborated with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on a cover version of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" for the soundtrack to the English-language version of the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for which Reznor composed the score. In December 2011 it was announced that the song would open the soundtrack album, be released as the opening single, and be available free to all who pre-ordered before the official release date (December 9).
Where the Wild Things Are
Karen O composed all of the songs on the soundtrack of Where the Wild Things Are (with the exception of a cover of the Daniel Johnston song,"Worried Shoes") in collaboration with Carter Burwell. The film was directed by Spike Jonze, her boyfriend at the time. She is listed on the soundtrack as "Karen O and the Kids". Karen O and her Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmate Nick Zinner co-wrote "All is Love", which was nominated for the "Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media", a songwriter's award, at the 2010 Grammy Awards.
In 2004 Karen O, using the moniker Marshmellow, directed the music video for "We Fenced Other Gardens with the Bones of Our Own" by the Liars, fronted by her then boyfriend Angus Andrew. The following year she directed the "Blessed Evening" video for Foetus with her then boyfriend Spike Jonze working as cinematographer. In 2006 she directed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' video "Cheated Hearts".
Under the moniker Kids With Canes, Karen O and her boyfriend Barnaby Clay directed the music video for the Tiny Masters of Today song "Hologram World", released on February 8, 2008. Karen also contributed vocals to the song, served as choreographer of the video, in which she appears along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase as well as Mike D from the Beastie Boys, Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers, Russell Simins from the Blues Explosion and Sam James from The Mooney Suzuki.
The KO at Home demo leak
On December 10, 2006, a home-recorded album titled KO at Home was leaked via an invite-only BitTorrent tracking site. The album, originally a personal gift to Dave Sitek of the NYC band TV on the Radio, was discovered inside a suitcase Sitek left behind in a New York City apartment. The disc's 14 tracks and scan of the cover – a photograph of Karen O, with a poem written by Oscar Wilde on the back side of the photo – quickly spread. The music news site stereogum.com broke the story of the leak the following morning and continued their coverage when Sitek lashed out at the fan who leaked the demos. Eventually Sitek followed up his comments with an apology letter. Karen O's response to the leak was "shit happens" and although she was somewhat "grossed out," she offered advice on which of the songs she liked the most, namely the tracks "Pumpkin" and "Snakes and Worms".
In 2011, Karen O married longtime boyfriend Barnaby Clay.
- Marks, Craig (February 25, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Stayin' Alive". Retrieved 22 November 2010. "On a wintry evening in late November , Karen O celebrated her 30th birthday by..."
- Chi, Minnie (2003-07-18). "Half Korean, 100% Rock Star". Asia Pacific Arts. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- Sheffield, Rob (2006-04-07). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Goth, Nerd, Slut". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- Catucci, Nick (March 29, 2009). "The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Return With New Album 'It’s Blitz!'". New York Magazine. New York. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- La Gorce, tammy. "Success Stories In New Jersey Rock: The Un-Springsteen", The New York Times, November 16, 2003. Accessed January 2, 2008. "All of which is fine by Ms. O, 24, an Englewood native who still lives in Bergen County but declined to say where. Any rock star who struts around in outfits made specifically for her by the designer Christian Joy can expect some of that, she said."
- "The Things They Say 13802". contactmusic.com. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – O Says No To Playboy June 10, 2003
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs Deal with Fame and Change
- "Boys with the hoods clean up". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-10-13.
- Errico, Mike (December 2006). "Hottest Women of...Rock". Blender Magazine Online. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
- "Women Who Rock Right Now: No. 3". Spinner.com. 2007-07-15. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- "Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O wins Shockwaves NME Awards Hottest Female honour". NME. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- Native Korean Rock & The Fishnets: Various Tracks (Stream)
- Mikael Wood (September 29, 2009). "Album review: Karen O and the Kids' 'Where the Wild Things Are'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-07-97. "…ethereal vocals over charmingly ramshackle folk-pop arrangements …"
- Addy Danti (November 26, 2010). "Download: Quinn Marston, 'Can You See Me Hear Me Now?'". Buzz Bands. Retrieved 2011-06-16. "(Marston's) voice … recalling both Karen O. and …"
- Margaret Wappler (April 18, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs will blitz the main stage Sunday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-07-97. "…singer Karen O yelps her mandate over slabs of marbled synths …"
- stereogum: New Karen O – "Highway 61 Revisited"
- Tom Breihan (May 27, 2011). "Trent Reznor and Karen O Cover Led Zeppelin". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Gil Kaufman (December 2, 2011). "'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' Track List Revealed". MTV. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Kasia Galazka (2007-11-20). "Karen O is Where the Wild Things Are". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- "Karen O's 'Where The Wild Things Are' song replaces Miley Cyrus in Grammys". NME. December 11, 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "Liars – We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Your Own". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Katie Zerwas (2004-07-15). "Liars: We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Your Own". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "Foetus: "Blessed Evening"". foetus.org. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Michele Lu (2006-07-28). "Fans star in Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Cheated Hearts" video with help from Final Cut editor Stephen Berger". Internet Video Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "New Release: Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Cheated Hearts"". Video Static. 2006-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- David Knight (2008-03-06). "Tiny Masters of Today’s Hologram World by Kids With Canes Inc.". PromoNews. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- stereogum: Karen (Dem)O
- stereogum: The Story Behind The Karen O Demo
- completely surrounded by no trees: 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
- Blogger: completely surrounded by no trees – Envoyer un message à un ami
- Karen O on Demo Leak: "Shit Happens"
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