Karen Jacobsen

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Karen Jacobsen
Karen Jacobsen - Smaller.jpg
Born Mackay, Queensland

Karen Elisabeth Jacobsen is a Queensland, Australia born and New York-based entertainer, singer, motivational speaker, voice-over artist and songwriter.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Mackay, Australia and writing songs from the age of seven, Jacobsen was inspired to be a professional singer by her idol Olivia Newton-John.[1][2] She graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University majoring in voice and piano, winning the Jazz Prize and completing her A.Mus.A. on piano.

Singing with the Queensland Youth Choir and being awarded the Warana Young Performer of the Year, she moved to Sydney making her musical theatre debut in the original Australian cast of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. She performed regularly on Australian television including Good Morning Australia and I Do I Do and her speaking and singing voices have been used on thousands of commercials for television, radio and online.

On 4 July 2000, she relocated to New York City,[3][4][5] writing and recording songs, and releasing nine CDs on her independent label Kurly Queen.[6][7]

Her songs have been on soundtracks for Dawson's Creek[8] and the NBC show Passions and she has shared the stage with Christopher Cross, Neil Sedaka, Norah Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Spyro Gyra, Deborah Cox and Rachael Sage.[9][10][11][12] She has written or recorded with Grammy Award winner Andy Zulla, Tony Award winner David Zippel, ARIA Award winner Sean O'Boyle and Emmy Award nominee Amy Powers.

International career[edit]

In 2002, Jacobsen's speaking voice was chosen as one of the Australian English options for the text-to-speech system used in GPS[13] units for Garmin, Navman, TomTom[14] and Mio and in telephone and computer software systems. Karen has been dubbed by ABC News[15] and CBS News as 'The Dashboard Diva'[16] and by the Gold Coast Bulletin as 'Gadget Girl'.[17]

She created the empowerment brand 'The GPS Girl'[18] and in speaking engagements[19] and performances shares the five directions for Recalculating,[20][21][22] how to 'Recalculate' in Business and Life and 'The GPS Girl's Top Ten Directions for Life'[23] and filmed the pilot of television show, 'Travel the World with The GPS Girl'.[24]

From 2011 to 2014, Jacobsen's voice was used as the original female Australian voice of the Siri application on Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads.[25][26]

Jacobsen was President of the New York Chapter of the National Speakers Association (2015) and performed on the main stage of the national conference singing The Star Spangled Banner and for the NSA Youth Convention in San Diego (2014).

She has appeared as Keynote Speaker [27] and Concert Performer at the Global Speakers Summit[28] in Vancouver in 2013, the World Meetings Forum[29] in Cancun (2014), the World Contact Forum in Mexico City (2014), the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association[30] conference (2015) Gold Coast, Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing conference[31] (2015) Tasmania and at TEDxTraverseCity.

She has performed her one woman show at the piano at Off-Broadway theaters Stage 72 at The Triad,[32][33] The Laurie Beechman Theatre[34] and Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, The Duplex[35] and The Bitter End.

Jacobsen has published two books, Recalculate - Directions for Driving Performance Success (2015) and The GPS Girl's Road Map for Your Future (2011).[36]

Her music and original songs have been recorded and released through Kurly Queen Records including By Request (1993), Strong Woman (1996), As I Am (2000), Being Brave (2002), Here In My Heart (2004), Kissing Someone Else (2007),[37] Melting Moments,[38] (Australia only 2009), Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun with Supa K with Supa K with Emmy Award winning composer Michael Whalen (2011), Take a Little Drive (2013),[39] and her 9th studio album Destination Christmas (2015).[40][41]

On Christmas Eve 2015, Jacobsen performed Hark the Herald Angels Sing[42] on the live telecast of the Vision Australia Carols by Candlelight[43][44][45] at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia. The 78th annual concert was attended by 12 000 people and viewed by over 2.7 million on the Nine Network across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Chosen to sing national anthems at major sporting events in both the United States and Australia, she performed Advance Australia Fair at the State of Origin Rugby League game in June, 2016 for a capacity crowd of 52, 000 at Suncorp Stadium Lang Park in Queensland. [46][47]

Charitable and promotional activities[edit]

Traveling to Lusaka, Zambia in 2006 to meet her sponsored child,[48] Jacobsen raised awareness of the benefits of child sponsorship as an advocate for Children International. She started a group called To Zambia With Love to support the work of Children International and encouraged others to sponsor children.

In 2010, she was invited to become an Ambassador for Dress for Success speaking for a number of Professional Women's Groups in New York and at events in Brisbane, Australia.

In 2014 and 2015 she was the keynote speaker for EYO,[49] an AAUW event for young women.

In 2015 she partnered with Careflight Helicopters and Mackay CQ Rescue[50] in Queensland, Australia speaking and singing at a series of events to raise awareness and funds for their lifesaving work.


Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Queensland Conservatorium of Music Griffith University 2016
President's Award for Distinguished Service, National Speakers Association 2016
Dottie Burman Award, National Speakers Association NYC Chapter 2012
Kauai Music Festival Song Contest, Runner Up 2004
Abe Olman Scholarship, Songwriters Hall of Fame 2003
U.K. Songwriting Contest, Pop Category Runner Up 2003
Dallas Songwriting Contest, Singer Songwriter Category 1st Place 2002


Jacobsen has a son who, she says, recognised her voice as that of Siri, saying "I wonder if he thinks everyone's mummy is in their iPhone.".[1]


  1. ^ a b Appel, Greg. "Meet the voice of Apple's Siri, Karen Jacobsen". ABC Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Australian woman behind Siri says she had no idea she was GPS voice". Mail Online. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Property Tales". Nypress.com. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Australian Karen Jacobsen, navigator voice for the Garmin GPS, joins the Manhattan cabaret". Nydailynews.com. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Karen Jacobsen". Indie Ezine. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "'GPS Girl' Karen Jacobsen Steers Herself Toward Singing". Myfoxla.com. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Jennifer Merin (19 January 2005). "Property Tales". Manhattan Media". pp. volume 17, issue 51. She's also established her own publishing company, Kurly Queen 
  8. ^ "Songs". Thevisionmovie.com. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Meet the face behind the voice of your GPS". Brisbanetimes.com.au. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Jess Perriam (3 March 2010). "Telling you where to go – ABC Perth – Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Hinchliffe, Mark (2 March 2010). "GPS Girl has singing cure for road rage". Courier Mail. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Google Image Result for http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2008/08/04/PH2008080402505.jpg". Google.com. Retrieved 16 March 2011.  External link in |title= (help)
  13. ^ Finan, Kristin (19 February 2009). "Meet the voice of GPS – and she's good with directions". Chron.com. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  14. ^ David Moye Contributor (12 July 2010). "'GPS Girl' Karen Jacobsen Directs Herself Toward Singing Career". Aolnews.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Dashboard Diva Sings in Person – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 21 November 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Voice of GPS Turns to Music". YouTube. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "The woman who voices Siri gives directions to 100 million people, but got lost on Gold Coast". GoldCoastBulletin. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  18. ^ "The New York Times". 
  19. ^ "Institute of Hospital Engineering Australia 60th National Conference 2009". Iceberg Events. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "Australia's GPS Girl becomes a cabaret singer". YouTube. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "Cabaret Scenes Review – Karen Jacobson". Cabaretscenes.org. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Feiler, Bruce (25 June 2010). "Turn Right, My Love". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ McCabe, Kathy (21 August 2009). "Karen Jacobsen helps us in the right direction". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  24. ^ "HOME". To Zambia With Love. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "First listen: New 'natural-sounding' Siri voices for the U.K., Australia, and Japan". iphone.appleinsider.com. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  26. ^ "The women (and man) behind Siri". Stuff. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  27. ^ "Keynote Speaker at SoTechI Series in Ipswich Australia". 
  28. ^ "Karen Jacobsen Sings "Nobody Does It Better" at the President's Ball - GSS 2013 thegpsgirl.com | itimes". itimes.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  29. ^ "What Event Speakers Wish Planners Knew: Branding, Professionalism and Partnerships". internationalmeetingsreview.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "About the conference - AAPA - Australian Asphalt Pavement Association". www.aapa.asn.au. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  31. ^ "Siri navigates her way to Hobart". Mercury. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  32. ^ "Review: Karen Jacobsen at Stage 72 - StageBuddy.com". StageBuddy.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  33. ^ "Lively Arts - Theatre". lively-arts.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  34. ^ "GPS-voice star: Turn here to see me sing". NY Daily News. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  35. ^ "Karen Jacobsen Performs Stripped Down At The Duplex". Top40-Charts.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  36. ^ "Positive speaker: Karen Jacobsen". BRW. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  37. ^ "Indie-Music.com review". 
  38. ^ "Sounds of Oz - Melting Moments Review". 
  39. ^ "Sydney Morning Herald". 
  40. ^ "TODAY Show Australia". 
  41. ^ "2DayFM". 
  42. ^ "Thousands Gather at Sidney Myer Music Bowl". 
  43. ^ "Carols by Candlelight". The Daily Mercury. 
  44. ^ "Toowoomba Chronicle". 
  45. ^ Te Koha, Nui (20 November 2015). "Herald Sun". Herald Sun. heraldsun.com.au. 
  46. ^ "Karen Jacobsen Belted Out the National Anthem". 22 June 2016. 
  47. ^ "National Anthem at State of Origin". 
  48. ^ "Yamaha Institutional and Commercial Services Department Provides Portable Grand Piano "To Zambia with Love"". usa.yamaha.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  49. ^ "For Blue Mountain Girls, "The Sky's the Limit"". Peekskill-Cortlandt, NY Patch. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  50. ^ "Meet the Mum behind the Voice of SIRIPakmag". www.pakmag.com.au. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 

External links[edit]