16 April, 2012
Every now and then, a talent comes along that you know can never be contained or held back. Such was the case when Karise Eden came into my life in late 2009 looking for some advice and mentoring. We sat alfresco drinking coffee at a local Woy Woy cafe and, the then seventeen year old, shyly told me about her life, everything she’d been through and how much she lived for music and singing. She had an old, battered up guitar at her side and I could tell it was a part of her, almost like it was surgically attached. It was her best and most trusted friend, I think.
Beneath the wild hair, tattoos, piercings and barely hidden angst, there were huge hazel/green eyes that expressed a vulnerability that frightened me a little, to be honest. This kid had been through more in her seventeen years than most of us would go through in ten lifetimes. She was street wise and intelligent, yes, but she was also young and naive about the world, sensitive with no self-esteem, and frankly I just wanted to give her a great big hug. I’ve noticed over the years that she has that effect on most people!
After about an hour of discussing what she wanted to do with her music, she asked if she could sing me a song. “Why not?” I replied. Artists often pull me up in the strangest places wanting me to hear them, so sitting there in front of the cafe listening to an impromptu performance, with strangers eating and chatting around us, was nothing new to me.
Without hesitation, Karise picked up her guitar and started to play. I admit that now I can’t remember what she sang. All I remember was being completely stunned and mesmerised by this waifish girl as she poured her heart out with her whole being.
That’s the thing. Yes, she has an undeniable, unique and explosive vocal talent, but when Karise sings its like she is laying out all her emotions for you, as if in sharing her pain it might somehow lessen it a little for her. After she finished and I was able to breathe again, I told her I would do whatever I could to help her – whilst silently pledging my undying allegiance.
It has been such a pleasure and privilege to watch Karise grow and mature, not only as a singer but also as a person. Have I helped a little along the way? I hope so. At The Voice Australia blind auditions after party she held last night, Karise thanked me for helping her and for being there for her. No, Karise. Thank YOU, for allowing me to be part of your magnificent journey. After all, there was never a doubt in my mind that you were headed for stardom – with or without anyone’s help.
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