She’s only sixteen years old, but this girl doesn’t sing your typical teenage pop songs. Def Jam’s newest recording artist, Karina Pasian voices the unspoken thoughts of a young woman a big world. Her songs deal with the every day hopes, happiness and boy drama, but she doesn’t hold back when it comes to telling guys how to treat a lady. Check out the interview with did with the rising songstress!
Hi Karina! How are you?
Hi, I’m good.
How old were you when you started playing the piano and knew you wanted to pursue music?
I was three years old when I started playing the piano, and basically since then I knew I wanted to do music for all my life. My dad and my mom, they put me in ballet and dance lessons. I’ve been in the school for music, since I was five years old. Since then I just knew it was what I wanted to do.
You’re one of the latest artists to join the DefJam family, how did that deal come about?
Well, it was actually like a bidding war for me when I was trying to get signed. It was Interscope, and Diddy … Bad Boy, Warner, and they were all trying to sign me. But, when I met with L.A. Reid we felt like it was the place for me, because it was home … New York. I’m from New York. So, basically I’d be here with my family, I felt like it was a good thing. L.A. Reid and everyone are really nice, the way they treated me … everything was great.
Why don’t you tell us a bit about your first single, “Sixteen At War”?
“Sixteen At War” is a song about what I see, through my eyes and what’s going around in neighborhoods everywhere. What a sixteen year old goes through. Basically, it’s a very social conscious song … talking about girls, and how guys see them as property; they don’t know how to respect them. How there’s not that many fathers caring about their children, that they don’t stay around. It’s just talking about young children, teenagers especially; we know what’s going on. We deal with struggles every day, so it’s just showing everybody what we all go through.
We hear you’ve been working with big names like Chris Brown, and Lil’ Mama. Can you tell about those tracks and who else you’ve collaborated with?
Well Lil’ Mama, she did a song with me called “Baby Baby”, and even though it’s a fun dance track, it still has a message. It talks about how guys are always trying to come talk to girls, and I’m trying to tell them ‘whoa hold on, you can’t be doing that. Because I have respect for myself and you have to respect me too’. Lil’ Mama put a very nice verse on it, and she was great to work with too. Chris Brown, we both have the same manager, she co-manages with my dad, Tina Davis … he’s a great person; I’ve seen and met with him a lot.
It seems like this would be a lot for a sixteen year old to handle. What’s the process of making an album and the last year been like for you?
Well, being sixteen I still have to go to school. That’s one thing my family is important on, education is very important; so I’m not just going to drop school because I have a record deal. During these past two and a half years, I’ve been traveling and recording my album. Every time that I go in to record, I always have a tutor … so, even though it’s kind of hard to balance I still go back to school. The teachers know what I’m going through. It could be a lot of work, but it’s what I’ve dreamed of doing.
So, you do still go to public school? Are you planning to go to prom?
Have you written any tracks that will be on your debut? If not, is that something you’re interested in doing?
No, but yea that’s something I’m interested in doing. My brother, he’s a producer and writer, I’ve been working with him. So, for the second album … I guess I’ll incorporate some writing in there.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston. Who are some of your musical influences?
Well, Whitney Houston has been a great influence on everything, I’ve been listening to her since I was young … Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder. My dad and mom, they’ve been playing very different, diverse music since I was little. So, I’ve listened to Russian music and Spanish, every type of music. Jazz … I really love Jazz, that’s also influenced me a lot. I’ve had a lot of wide varieties of influences, but I also have some that are new and fresh now … like Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé.
How have you been balancing school, a social life, and your growing music career?
I go to a performing arts school, people there they sing, dance and act. So, it’s not that different because I sing in school and stuff. Some people know, like my close friends know, but I don’t really like going around shouting out to everybody ‘I have a record deal, I’m signed to DefJam’. [Laughs] It’s not that hard to balance to me, but…
Well, at least it’s good that your friends understand.
Oh yeah, my friends understand.
What message do you hope to put out there to those that listen to your music?
I hope to put out a positive message for young people out there, to show them … ‘look at me I’m living my dream’, not to let anyone stop them. Keep going, keep striving for the best and never let anyone tell them they can’t do what they want to do.
Any news on the album? Such as a title or when it will be hitting store shelves?
It’s hoped to be released in June, but we don’t know the title yet. We’re still working on that.
Thank you so much. Good luck with the album, we’re really looking forward to hearing it.
No problem, thank you!