Even before 16-year-old Karina Pasian signed to Def Jam records, the stellar singer was already making a name for herself. From her winning performance on Star Search in 2003 to singing at the White House last June during Black Music Month, this New York City chanteuse has been paying her professional dues since she was a toddler.
Q: What can we expect from your debut album, First Love?
I expect a lot of support, from my fans here in the U.S., as well as fans from all over the world. I also expect to fulfill people’s own expectations about my music.
Q: Why is it important for you to create music that reflects your age?
Well, that’s a very relative question. My age is relative to the experiences I have had in my life; my music and my lyrics are very universal and relate to young people my age as well as their parents. My music is progressive and is a reflection of changing times.
Q: What message are you trying to convey through your music to other teenagers?
I want to convey a message of empowerment so young people realize that it’s cool to be smart, talented and well-behaved.
Q: Who has influenced you musically?
First of all my parents have been a great influence in my musical life, because they guided me in the right direction. They played for me a variety of music at a very early age. Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Quincy Jones and others are some of the artists that have greatly influenced my musical life.
Q: Can you share with us your road to being signed to Def Jam? We heard that it was quite the bidding war!
It’s a long story, let me make it short . . . Interscope, Warner Music, Bad Boy, Televisa, Atlantic and Island/Def Jam were all in the bidding for my services. In the end, L.A. Reid made the best offer hands down, so after that it was easy to make a decision.
Q: Has it been difficult for you to maneuver through the music industry at such a young age?
Not really. I have my father who is very knowledgeable about the industry, plus my label has been very helpful to me.
Q: How has your Dominican-American culture influenced your music?
Well, my parents are both from D.R., and I’ve been raised in a mostly Dominican neighborhood. Dominicans are very emotional people who love to dance and be very dramatic, so I think that my music and my singing is a reflection of that.
Q: How instrumental has your Godfather, Quincy Jones, been in your musical development?
Quincy believed in me since day one. He always gives me great advice and is always pushing my label to allow me to make music with quality and integrity.
Q: Are there any artists who you’re looking forward to working with in the future?
Yes—Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys.
Q: On your first single, “Sixteen at War,” you talk about the issues that teenage girls face including boys, peer pressure and growing pains. In your opinion, are there any other issues within your generation that you feel need to be addressed?
School drop out, child abuse, early pregnancy and abstinence.
Q:What do you like to do for fun?
I love to go to the beach, go shopping to the malls, hang out with my friends and crack jokes on my sister and brothers.
Q: How would you describe your fashion style?
I would say my style is classy but fun with bright colors. It changes with the season and the occasion.