Call Answered: Karine Hannah: Feinstein's/54 Below: "Karine Hannah Sings Streisand Again!"
Barbra Streisand + Celine Dion + a rising singer = a really great interview!
Karine Hannah has had a very interesting journey. She has sung at Celine Dion’s wedding, collaborated with Jim Steinman (Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell), recently released her debut EP & is now returning to Feinstein’s/54 Below singing the songs of another iconic singer, Barbra Streisand!
Karine Hannah Sings Streisand Again! makes its return engagement to Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Friday, January 25 at 9:30pm. Featuring such classic Streisand hits as “People,” “Somewhere,” and “Guilty,” this show will surely satisfy any fan of Barbra Streisand. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? If I had to pick the first thing and person that inspired me, it would be: my earliest memory at three years old standing on a chair at my grandfather’s business Christmas party and singing a French song called “FRÉRE JACQUES” which is the french version of “ARE YOU SLEEPING, BROTHER JOHN.”
According to my mother I received such an applause and caused such an uproar. The audience raved and I apparently ate it up! I obviously loved the feeling of having an audience love me. The person who inspired me first would be my mother who recognized I had a natural ability, and always said that it was her dream to have a daughter and for her to be able to sing…she introduced me to music from artists that were grand vocalists and had me practice my voice to them on a regular basis.
2. Before we discuss your upcoming return engagement at Feinstein's/54 Below, we have to talk about being discovered by the greatest singer in the world - Celine Dion! At the age of 16, you caught Celine's eye while you were performing on a Canadian Television show. What was the moment like when you get a call that Celine Dion wants to meet you? What was it like to perform at her wedding? Do you still keep in touch with her? Who would ever think that Celine Dion would be watching TV and noticing me. I was on a local Montreal TV show called STAR FOR THE DAY and she saw me, contacted my manager (how she found him was a miracle too) and asked that I perform at her wedding. I met her for the first time the night of her wedding and I think I handled it pretty well. I thought I made it LOL.
The best memory was at the end of the night, Celine and I sat on the floor at the reception hall, she was still in her custom made wedding dress and me in my knock off Valentino gown that I had made for the occasion, she was explaining to me that the head piece she was wearing was all jewels and weighed over 50 pounds. It was bothering her and she couldn’t wait to remove it. It was stuck to her hair. I don't remember anything else we talked about except that she loved my name, especially because she had a niece whose name was Karine but was sick with cystic fibrosis. I sang her opening dance that she requested which was “THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE” and later in the evening I sang a duet and was accompanied on piano by David Foster. Boy, did I think I made it…We didn’t keep in touch, but periodically people in the industry that I was working with would see her and she would bring up my name. Celine also thought of me one time when she decided to pass on a song that was submitted to her and thought I should record it. I did record it but there was a reason she passed on it…;)
3. This January you are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with your Barbra Streisand tribute show. What are you looking forward to about bringing this show back? I’m looking forward to singing her songs with even more ease and bring even more of my style and touch to the material. In the prior show, I think I was trying to emulate her and this time it will be even more of my true self and not worrying about sounding exactly like her.
4. What made you initially want to create a show dedicated to Barbra Streisand? There has always been a reference made of me to Barbara Streisand, I bare a certain resemblance (not trying to look like her LOL) and vocally at times over the years people say I remind them of her.
That’s a big part of it, it seems like the natural thing for me to do. Another very important reason is because it was my mother’s biggest dream for me to sing Streisand’s music “live.” My mother recently passed away, so I want to do this for her as well. I told her it would take “a lot of balls” so she told me to “grow a pair.”
5. Barbra Streisand is an icon. Everyone knows who she is. Did you ever have any trepidation about performing a song of her music? Of course! I must be crazy!!
6. How do you feel you have made these songs your own? I think that these songs are a part of me as a vocalist. I may be more rough around the edges and lean more towards a soulful and raspy side, and I think it comes through which makes these songs interesting. I can sound crystal clear and have the same range as Barbra Streisand but then there’s a certain sound that will come through that gives it my own edge.
7. Which song did you know right away had to be in this show? "PEOPLE"….The list goes on...
8. Which song just missed the cut? “MAKE IT LIKE A MEMORY” It’s a song from her album GUILTY I love it so much, but it’s more obscure.
9. If you could duet with Barbra Streisand on any of her songs, which one would you want to sing with her? A song she recorded with Kim Carnes called “ MAKE NO MISTAKE, HE’S MINE” that would be very cool. Maybe in another lifetime…Maybe you can make that happen!
10. Which of Barbra Streisand’s songs would you consider your personal anthem for love, heartache, and strength? I have to pick three of her songs that are equally important to me for these reasons:
“LOVE COMES FROM THE MOST UNEXPECTED PLACES”
“MY HEART BELONGS TO ME”
More on Karine:
Karine Hannah’s voice hits hard. The Montreal-born and New York-based singer can deliver an overpoweringly emotional ballad just as seamlessly as she can sing just about anything. It’s what makes her self-proclaimed, “over-the-top pop sound”, so magnetic, majestic, and magnificent—appropriately living up to its moniker.
Her latest credits include: 2017/2018 EP released by Cash Money/Republic Records/ Universal Music. Many performances and appearances at Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, and a promo tour across the US.
Growing up in Canada, and at the age of sixteen, her performance on a Canadian television show caught the eye of none other than Celine Dion. The world-renowned diva went on to ask Karine to perform at her wedding. “That was really the start,” she recalls. “It was such an incredible moment, and I was driven to pursue this endlessly to fulfill my dreams as a world class singer.
Karine relocated to New York City. Within weeks of moving to the Big Apple, she linked up with none other than Jim Steinman [Meat Loaf, “Bat Out Of Hell”) and began collaborating with him. For the next few years, nearly every major label courted her, but she didn’t find a home until Cash Money Records/Republic Records/Universal music co-founders Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Baby” Williams heard a recording from her in their lawyer’s office and signed her. She is their one and only signed artist that is a pop artist.
“It happened at a time when I least expected it,” the songstress continues. “I’d been working so hard for so long, and then Cash Money came into the picture.
Their partnership kicked off with Karine’s incendiary debut single “Burning Up”, co-written and produced by Josh Harris. Climbing the billboard charts and making it all the way to number five. That’s only a prelude to what followed. Her next single co-written by Michael Jay called “Victory” which landed in the top 10 on the billboard charts.
Karine nods her vocal influences to legends such as Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Holiday, and as well as French and European artists she heard on the radio as a child. As a result, she’s got something completely her own and electrifying.