Actress turned singer Karen David really has the world at her feet. DESIblitz caught up with the star in an exclusive Gupshup about TV, music and movies.
“I feel as though I've really found my sound in ‘Dust To The Stars’ as the EP really reflects where I am in life.”
Karen Shenaz David is a Canadian British actress and singer. She was born in Shillong, India and raised in Canada. She later came to London to study.
Her father is Indian and her mother Khasi-Chinese. Growing up, Karen admits that she was constantly surrounded by culture due to her mixed heritage, and this led her to shy away from it at times.
Karen David can be truly described as an exotic beauty with long brown hair and luscious chocolate skin. If her beauty doesn’t pull you in then her amazing talent in acting and singing may just do the trick.
In an exclusive Gupshup with DESIblitz, the young talent says:
“I always say I was born in the Himalayas, I grew up in Toronto, but I developed in London. I came here for drama school and also to pursue my music.”
Karen is known most popularly for her role in BBC One Television series, Waterloo Road (2010-11). Karen portrayed Spanish teacher Francesca Montoya, an attractive young woman who fell in love with a student.
It was a racy and challenging role that really highlighted David’s versatility in acting.
The actress is also known for her role as Layla in The Scorpion King 2 (2008) and on children’s TV series, Pixelface (2011-12).
At 18, Karen won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. David majored in jazz and gospel, which led into her passion for songwriting. A few years later she moved to London to study at the Drama UK accredited school, Guilford School of Acting.
As soon as Karen left the Guilford School of Acting she was approached by ABBA member Benny Anderson. The Swedish singer and songwriter encouraged David to join the original cast of Mamma Mia.
This was Karen’s professional acting debut, which was seen by A R Rahman. This in itself opened up many doors for Karen including a bond of friendship with the Oscar-winning music director.
David aided Rahman in developing his Bollywood musical Bollywood Dreams. Her reward was to perform on stage with Rahman at the highly acclaimed sell-out US and Canada tour.
Her many roles in TV and film have included: Holby City (2003), Top Buzzer (2004), The Scorpion King 2, The Legend of Dick and Dom (2009), Couples Retreat (2009), Waterloo Road, Strike Back: Project Dawn (2011), Pixelface, Red Lights (2012), Castle (2013), Jack Ryan (2013), Amar, Akbar and Tony (2014).
Speaking about her diverse variety of roles, Karen says:
“Developing a character is kind of like painting. I always use painting as a reference for my music when I’m writing music or creating a character. Because there are so many different layers and textures. You’re creating a character that essentially is an extension of you.”
David has also been penned for the role of Meera in Amar Akbar and Tony. A film inspired by the classic film Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) with a new vision. Amar Akbar and Tony is a Bollywood comedy about the lives of three best friends, a Sikh, Muslim and an Irishman. The film is due for release in 2014.
With many opportunities and events coming in David’s direction she nearly declined this role:
“I really thought it wasn’t going to work. In fact, I told them as much as I love the script and I love Atul’s vision for the movie I would never ask for the schedule to be dictated around my wedding.”
The busy actress recently got married on the May 30. Her career at that point being so hectic that she had meeting the day before her wedding and the day after!
Her husband is Swedish songwriter and producer Carl Ryden. The duo met at a music project in London and fell for each other. Four years on and they had a lavish cliff top wedding in California.
As well as amazing acting skills, Karen is also a singer and songwriter. One of the many factors that influenced her into singing was Olivia Newton-John.
Karen’s older sister had posters all over her bedroom wall and would constantly be watching her on TV. This led to her being infatuated with Newton-John, one of her main inspirations.
David’s first EP ‘Daydreamer’ was a massive hit, receiving global recognition and expanding her fan base considerably.
One Direction’s Liam Payne and Beyonce’s cousin Shanica Knowles are also huge fans, supporting her over twitter. Consequently, her EP ‘Dust To Stars’ was an eagerly anticipated tune, with soulful vocals it’s a contrast to pop electric ‘Daydreamer’:
“When writing the EP, I aped a lot into my childhood memories of why I wanted to make music, so the tracks are very different to what I’ve done before.
“I wanted these songs to make my old and new fans smile, feel good about themselves, give them food for thought and most of all something to chill out to.”
“I feel as though I’ve really found my sound in ‘Dust To Stars’ as the EP really reflects where I am in life,” Karen adds.
Watch the music video to ‘Dust to Stars’ here.
David is also due to play a role in Jack Ryan, an upcoming action movie based on a terror plot. She plays the role of Penn a FBI agent, starring alongside top celebrities such as Kiera Knightley, Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh.
In order to play the role she received firearm weapon training. Jack Ryan will be released on the December 26, 2013.
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