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Karmin, Under the Influence

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With a feisty debut single, “Crash Your Party,” already making noise in various pop and urban radio markets across the country, Epic Records duo Karmin is beginning to establish a musical identity in its own right. For the most part, collaborators Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan have attracted a sizable audience by covering Top 40 hits (often with unique, offbeat versions) by a range of contemporary, cutting-edge artists. Irrespective of why they’ve chosen to interpret particular songs or why they’ve written certain kinds of original works, however, their performances have underscored some of the inspirations behind their sound.

On the duo’s Facebook page is a relatively brief but nonetheless telling list of Karmin’s acknowledged musical influences, spanning Mozart to the Beatles along with more contemporary fare like Coldplay, Kanye West, and Beyoncé. Considering both Heidemann and Noonan earned degrees from Boston’s Berklee College of Music, she as a vocal performance/songwriting major and he as a jazz trombone major, such an eclectic foundation doesn’t seem at all out of the ordinary. 

But then there are also some rather peculiar (and, on occasion, fictional) references — names like Walt Disney, Willy Wonka, Jim Carrey, and Monty Python — which yield, arguably, the most insight. This batch of characters is what Karmin seem to draw on when rapping at a feverish pace or when belting some giddy, infectious refrain. This is where their weird and whimsical streak begins.


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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.