I never thought that I would have seen the day to interview one of the most beautiful and talented women that had mega hits from the 80’s up to the early 2000’s. This remarkable young woman is the first female artist to have her first three solo releases to hit #1 on the Billboard. Karyn White made a huge splash on the music scene with her female anthem “Superwoman” in which was produced and written by Babyface and LA Reid. In this article you will learn about how Ms. White was discovered and what she got coming up for all KW Hearts out there.
Karyn White was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in LA was amazing for her. “Here in LA you get to see so much, and you can dream your dreams and have them come true“. At an young age Karyn (she is the baby of the family) would often imitate her older sisters, one was a dancer and the other one was a singer with a voice that reminded her of Natalie Cole. With such influences in her family Karyn combine her family’s multi-talents into one big mega star package. At the age of 16 she auditioned for a group called Legacy. During that time Karyn participated in beauty pageants, talent shows, and continue her road to auditions.
Q&A With Karyn White
Rena Marie: Karyn what kind of impact has music made in your life?
Karyn White: Wow! Music is my life. It gave me purpose, music is healing and therapeutic. Music allows me to dream and make them come true. Music took me out of the hood, and gave me opportunities to travel around the world to experience different things.
Rena Marie: Who are some of your musical influences?
Karen White: Back in my day I often listen to and watched Stephanie Mills, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Prince, James Brown, Donna Summers, and Al Green.
Rena Marie: I can truly say that you are an artist who actually embodied the sounds and dance of those who influenced you. I can hear Stephanie Mills, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross in your voice and I can see the sassy choreography of Donna Summers.
Karyn White: Thank you oh wow! I learned the songs and choreography from the Wiz (both Diana Ross and Stephanie Mills versions) and performed them at talent shows.
Rena Marie: Who discovered you?
Karyn White: Initially I would have to say Don Cornelius from Soul Train.
Rena Marie: Was there a special event that took place for Don Cornelius to notice your talent?
Karyn White: At the time I was 17 years old, just graduated from high school when I auditioned for Don Cornelius and his artist O’Bryan. I performed a song and a routine from a soundtrack and they loved it. I was on tour with O’Bryan who was an opening act for the group Cameo. This was my first professional paid show.
Rena Marie: Have you ever done or considered doing Broadway Shows?
Karyn White: That is actually on my bucket list of things to do. However in high school I have been in plays. One play I will never forget is me playing the role of Dorothy from the Wiz. I was the first person to make it professionally out of the group in high school. I went to school with Bentley Kyle Evans the creator of the Martin Show and The Jamie Foxx show, and the beautiful and talented actress Wendy Raquel Robinson. Wendy and I took dance classes together, she is an amazing dancer. So shout out to Wendy and Bentley!
Rena Marie: You have memorable albums that people still listen to today. Which album is your favorite?
Karyn White: It will have to be my first album self-titled Karyn White. With all of the talented and beautiful hard working artists in Los Angeles, this album broke the barrier and became a huge success. I worked extremely hard and it paid off. So yes my first album is my favorite.
Rena Marie: I remember some of your number 1 hits from backyard parties at family functions, but of course I had to do a little research to see if you had any other songs that I may not recall hearing. For the first time I heard a Duet you had with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. How was it recording with Babyface?
Karyn White: Yes! “Love Saw It” is the name of the song that I did with Babyface. This is actually my favorite song because I was singing in my lower register. It was awesome working with Babyface. He has incredible talent.
Rena Marie: Have you worked with Babyface on any other song or album?
Karyn White: Yes! Babyface and LA Reid produced and wrote 6 songs on my first album self titled Karyn White. They wrote “Super Woman”, “Romantic”, “Secret Rendezvous”, and so forth. They also produced songs for Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown in which I sung background for them and other artists.
Rena Marie: Did you actually started off as a background singer?
Karyn White: I started out as a background singer. I sung background for Bobby Brown on “Tender Roni”, “Every Little Step”, and I sung on Johnny Gill’s “My My My”….I sung background for a lot of artists back then.
Rena Marie: I am glad that you came out from the shadows because your voice is so amazing.
Karyn White: Thank you! You know what they say the cream rises to the top!
Rena Marie: I know that a lot of artists change their music as the next generation of musical talents evolve the creativity of sounds. How do you feel about music today, and will you change your music to follow the music trend of today?
Karyn White: I listen to artists of today such as Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Beyonce who is an amazing talent, Childish Gambino, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, and J. Cole. As far as keeping up with the trends I want my music to stay true to me. I am bringing back the funk. The 60’s and 70’s to me had the best music, and that is evident today because artists of today are sampling music from those eras. Kendrick Lamar sampled the Isley Brothers and he brought back the funk. I feel the younger generation will appreciate funk music.
I am currently working on my new movie and soundtrack “Gale & The Storm”. After listening to Childish Gambino who is of this generation of young artist bringing back the funk in his music. Childish Gambino inspired me to keep true to myself and to bring back the funk. “Gale & The Storm” is loosely about me. Gale the main character was a funk singer who took a step back from music at the pinnacle of her career. I will always stay true to me and I don’t want to be fake about my music. People will listen to it and for those that don’t listen to it they just don’t. I know that this generation will enjoy the music based off of the funk music that Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, and Janelle Monae are bringing back.
Rena Marie: I must say that you are beautiful and have not aged a bit. What are Karyn’s secret to your youthful appearance?
Karyn White: I always tell young people to take care of themselves and be mindful of what you put into your body. The food industry has changed and now we are subjected to genetically modified foods. I always say stop eating fake food. Take care of your body with proper diet and exercise.
Rena Marie: I am sure you heard about artists that had mental break down due to lack of rest or just events that took place that was a bit more that they could juggle at the time. You were at the height of your career at the time you went on hiatus, what was going on at the time?
Karyn White: At the time I was married to Terry Lewis of the Mega producing duo Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam (responsible for a lot of artists music hits such as Michael and Janet Jackson, New Edition, Johnny Gill, Raja Nee, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Klymaxx, Chaka Khan, Alexander Oneal, Cherrelle, Vanessa Williams, Ralph Tresvant, just to name a few). During that time Terry and I we were the first Jay-Z and Beyonce because we were a superstar couple. People looked up to us and Terry was a great guy, a great husband. We had our daughter Ashley and my mom passed away. So with all this going on I was not being appreciative of my blessings. I never turned to drugs or alcohol, but I hurt myself by not appreciating everything that was coming my way. I had a good man, a beautiful career especially with my first album, a beautiful baby girl, and before Terry and I broke up we had just built a 30k sq foot mansion. I got into interior decorating and realty, I would buy homes decorate them and sell them. Every two years I would buy a home, fix it up, and flip them. I was flipping homes up to when the market crashed in the year 2000. I went on to dating a younger man who had the dreams of becoming the next Kanye West or Jay-Z. This relationship was not a good one due to the fact that this man came from the “microwave” generation. He thought that he could do the minimum work to get the great payday. I would say the good thing about him was that he helped me find my swag, but he was very narcissistic. Thank God I never spiraled out of control, instead I channeled that energy into realty, interior design, and creating a path for my comeback.
Rena Marie: Now that you are coming out with a new movie and soundtrack dedicated to funk music, Will you be coming out with a new album? Who are you looking forward to working with?
Karyn White: I am definitely planning on working on a new album. I have spoken with Ralph Tresvant from the group New Edition and we will be working on something together. I have not reached out to other people yet, but I will have a star studded album in the works.
Rena Marie: Speaking of Ralph Tresvant who is my heart throb from back in the day, recently New Edition had a 3 day mini movie series about their road to stardom. What do you think about their biopic movie?
Karyn White: I must say they did a real good job. Especially the young man that played as Ralph, he did such an incredible job, all of the cast did a marvelous job. When I spoke to Ralph he stated that the actor that played him was “Playing as me a little too hard…lol”. They were very pleased with the outcome of the movie.
Rena Marie: Do you see a Karyn White Biopic coming?
Karyn White: That would be awesome if someone actually come up with a Biopic about me, but for now I want to put out more work and make my comeback part of my musical milestone before considering a biopic.
Rena Marie: Anything you would like for people to know about what is next for Karyn White?
Karyn White: I am back! Be sure to go to my website karynwhite.me to get the lastest updates on music, tours, and so much more. Be on the lookout for my new movie and soundtrack “Gale & The Storm”. I love you all!
Sidenote: Karyn White had a Red Carpet affair on 10/12/17 for her new movie premier in Sacramento, CA. Be sure to go to her website karynwhite.me for more info on how to get the funkalicious soundtrack and the movie Gale & The Storm.