banner image

:: Spotlight :: Interview with rising American pop star Karina Bradley

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Karina Bradley is fast becoming one of the most charismatic music artists across parts of the United States. Her energetic pop style is being complemented by her association with distinguished producers in forging her career to a stronger level. I first became aware of Karina through Myspace and she has continued to be very proactive in the social media network. She continues to push the envelope through Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, as well as her own website. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Karina about her rise to prominence.

Q.Tell us a little about your background and whether you come from a musical family?

A. I was born in The Bronx, New York and moved to Pennsylvania when I was seven years old. I moved to Philadelphia five years ago. My Mum is from Puerto Rico and my Dad is half Italian / half Spanish. As far as music is concerned there wasn’t anyone in my family involved in music. I was always keen to enjoy singing and dancing (from about age three) with Mum. She loved Michael Jackson and we’d sing and dance to that.

Q.Tell us about your recent release “Madame President” (I suppose I should salute you)

A. (Laughs) I wasn’t quite ready to release a full-blown album so I got with my team to put together a body of work for my fans. We decided to create a mix tape, which isn’t done very often in the pop world. I have a lot of hip-hop connections and it was thought to have a pop/hip-hop mixtape. We used other tracks as well as my own unique ones. It was made over a four-month period and we came up with thirty tracks. We ended up using twenty-one as well as the Intro (Presidential speech). We remixed some songs that I really liked.

Q.On this mixtape you worked with DJ Diamond Kutz and Papoose…

A.Yes, I thought it would be amazing to team up with another female DJ. Kutz loved being involved. I am actually the first artist to get Diamond Kutz on a track. Papoose has been deeply involved with my project for a couple of years and we get along really well. You might also remember his wife Remy Ma – she is currently serving time and I have the privilege to have taken on two songs of hers.

Q.Generally, what goes into a campaign, like yours, to be discovered as a relatively new artist? Is it a male dominated industry?

A.It’s very hard. You really have to get a good team behind you and push yourself. The Internet is really important. I’ve just done the Red Carpet hosting role for the Philadelphia Fashion Week. All the Internet push has helped give me an opportunity like that. It requires a lot of time and energy. As for it being male-dominated, I haven’t experienced too many difficulties as a female. In the market that I’m in – the urban side – I feel that there aren’t too many females, particularly the way I look with the blonde hair. The males gravitate towards me and want to do projects with me.

Q.You’ve done various modelling campaigns, including Victoria’s Secret…

A.Yes, I modelled a little before I started singing and loved it. But my real passion was music. As far as Philadelphia Fashion Week is concerned, I was ecstatic about that. I hadn’t hosted an event like that before. There were many international designers – from Brazil, India, France, etc, and I got to meet many interesting people.

See video here of one of the Red Carpet interviews she conducted. Other videos can be viewed at her Youtube channel

Q.How important is your image?

A.Image is very important. Sometimes you get the idea that it’s more important than the music, but that’s false. For me, on an independent label, my image has changed. It’s a learning curve – to understand where you fall as an artist. I hooked up with Marc Clark, a celebrity stylist and designer in New York. We were able to get together and energise our thoughts to get the right look, and take things to the next level. We did a photo shoot about a month ago and he worked with me during Philadelphia Fashion Week. The response has been tremendous. Perception is reality.

Q.I remember reading that some journalists were critical of you back in 2009 for your media barrage. How do you respond to criticism like that, or anything else?

A.I have not heard anything negative in quite a while, but I was previously fighting an uphill battle with a blog site in my area. I was attacked by the editor of this blog. Someone from my team didn’t respond in the correct way and they attacked back verbally. But I know that not everyone is going to love you. All I can do is focus on what I have control over. I can control my music and my image, but not what critics want to say about me.

Q.I notice that you have other non-music interests.

A.I am a member of the National Speakers Association and also a certified trainer, so it’s good to be involved in those things when I take a break from the cut and thrust of the music.

Q.You run your own label Synergy Records. Have you got other plans for it?

A.I will definitely look to expand in the future. At the moment, I am the only artist on the label, but when I get to tour and bring in more resources, I will be able to expand and sign up others. I have writers and producers already signed to the label.

Q.Are there other producers you’d like to work with?

A.I would love to work with David Guetta and Jessie J. I love her work – music, lyrics, voice, etc. Of course, there are the A-List of artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce, but Jessie J is the one I am fascinated with now.

Q.Which people have influenced you greatly to date?

A.My father has had a big influence on my life. He and my mum split up when I was eight years old. He took my sister and me into his care and raised us. He struggled but kept being determined to raise two little girls despite the troubles. He motivated me to just keep pushing. I do have a special person in my life (not divulged) that motivates me as well.

Q.How important is the social interaction with fans, through the Internet – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc?

A.The Internet is extremely important and I try to do as much as I can. I appreciate my fans when they ask me questions through Twitter and Facebook. I try to give them the respect they deserve by responding to their interest in me. Thank goodness for today’s technology, particularly my iPhone where I can keep typing away while I get my hair or make-up done. The Internet allows me to reach a broader audience.

Q.Are you planning many appearances and/or live performances soon?

A.I’m putting together a college tour and perhaps a club tour. I definitely plan on doing a lot of live shows, starting in the next month or two.

Q.What have you got planned in the short-to-mid term future?

A.I definitely want to finish my album, and to find producers of the right genre who can help me make my project successful. I just want to make more and more music. I’m also hoping to do something in the fashion world, but music is in my heart at the moment. Fashion is more of a long-term goal.

Thanks to Karina for one of the most enjoyable chats I've had in a while. You can buy her Madam President mixtape through her website

Madam President front cover
Runway show at Philadelphia Fashion Week - wearing KahriAnne Kerr, purse is by Jacques Fath
Ready to Wear Runway Show: Karina Bradley wearing Sachika, with her stylist Marc Clark
Karina Bradley on the red carpet at the Couture Runway Show, wearing Jewels by Lisa