To some in the music industry she may be considered a late bloomer because she did not take music seriously until her early twenties. Her love for Michael Jackson has turned heads through her tribute to him. Karina talks about how her growing up in a Honduran household evolved to her passion for r&b, and how her being lesbian has not won her a popularity contest when it comes to getting gigs. However she explains that as long as you are being who you are the success will come. Karina Iglesias, a product of classical training, combined with a gospel and r&b background has a brought her to new heights. Lesbian Life sat down with Karina and were entertained by her strong will and confidence.
Lesbian Life: You were born and raised in Miami and, your parents are Honduran, yet your bio states that your style of music was influenced by rhythm and blues, boleros, gospel and hip-hop. How were you exposed to such a diverse background of music growing up in a Honduran household? Karina Iglesias;
Well I used to actually spend the summers in Honduras instead of going to Summer School. I picked up on all of the Latin influences because I would listen to nothing but Hispanic music. I spent the rest of the year back home in the states. I would watch this channel called Juke Box- you could call in and select a video that you wanted to see. It was a lot of hip hop playing back in those days. The gospel came from singing at church with my grandmother, it was a Christian Hispanic Baptist Church and I would sing in the little children's choir. I've loved music for so long, anything that would be played on the radio, whether it was Marvin Gaye or any Hispanic artist, I would just pick up on it, because I was a little sponge.
Explain to our readers what boleros music sounds like?
What you would call a standard in jazz, boleros is in Spanish. Boleros is old standard Spanish songs. It has a specific type of rhythm so you could compare it to a Jazz standard.
Who were some of your musical influences?
The first name I'm going to say is Michael Jackson for obvious reasons, I don't know if you have seen me doing the video of "Man In The Mirror" on you tube
but I sing it with a choir at a church and it was maybe about a month and a half after Michael's passing. As soon as I sang the opening lines to Man In The Mirror
everyone just stood up. It was a pretty powerful moment in that church and in my life. I've been influenced by him. He has been the pinnacle of everything. He was the true epitome of success in everything that he did, he's inspired so many people and…I get all choked up right now, every day I wake up, I can't believe he's gone. He has really been pretty instrumental in me deciding to do this for a living. We could spend this whole hour talking about artists, but for the most part Michael Jackson, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway(he was one of my favorite singers), Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, everything I listened to since I was a kid!
Do you write all of your material?
Yes. Out of all of the songs on my album, except for two I co-wrote with my producer Bill Cruise. At what age did you write your first song do you remember? I do actually, I wrote my first song which is "Good For Me", which was the first song that I ever got recorded, and it's on the album, that was the first song I wrote and I was 25.
Your voice was classically trained, but you ended up on the live music scene in Miami, how did that evolve?
Wow, I was in college and, I signed up for voice lessons, not knowing what it was going to involve. I just thought I would learn techniques and all of that. I ended up being hooked up with this voice teacher her name was Ada De Luque, she studied in Italy, and she taught me the classical way of singing. I sing in different languages, German, Italian, French, English and Spanish. I took three years of it. I was so impressed with how much my voice changed and how much wider my range became. If you know how to work the technique you will never lose your voice. Aretha Franklin is proof of that, she can still sing and she has been doing it for almost 50 years. So I was pretty blessed to have that experience. To sing opera, is not the same singing technique you would use to sing a pop or an r&b song, but those tools are very helpful in helping the longevity of your voice.
With your training in classical music and the ranges you are able to accomplish with classical training did you wake up one day and decided you wanted to be on the live band scene?
I never really took music seriously until I got in college. I took maybe one piano class in high school. I was in children's choirs when I was in elementary school but after I grew up and went to middle school and then high school, I never took a music class so I kind of started in my 20's when I went to college. I would sing at parties with my friends. I looked in the paper one day looking for someone who was looking for a singer. I answered an ad in the newspaper and the next thing I knew I started to sing at different places and different little restaurants and that's where it pretty much began. Really wet behind the ears, really like not comfortable at all, I started singing when I was 23 or 24 and after that, the work kept piling up. I quit my banker job, and I haven't really looked back since. I've had this Bohemian thing going for a while and I love it! Then I auditioned for more bands that had more staying power and a little more talent. I started working with better musicians. I kind of honed in on my craft a little more. I actually took voice lessons from Karen Jones
. She had a different technique, which I also learned a lot from. I was in her choir when she was here in Miami. Karen was the choir director when I first started singing at 25. A friend of mine took me to this church, I saw the choir and immediately I fell in love with it! A week later I joined the choir, I became like a little diamond in the rough because I'd do little solos here and there and it all kind of started to bloom thereafter. I was still working with bands on the side but in this choir, I just came out of my shell and that's how the song writing ended up happening because I dove in head first.