Reviewing ‘Hello’ and Karmin’s Past

Today Karmin released their new album, Hello, and I was just lucky enough to have previewed it last week!

Karmin, photo courtesy of Epic Records.

The Daringest Duo had recently explained that the album is dedicated to their fans and centered around their journey to success.

The album has the track ‘Walking on the Moon’ up first, and is not to be confused with the Police song. ‘Walking on the Moon’ includes soft melodies and sentimental lyrics, a catchy repetitive riff, and Amy Heidemann’s insane rapping. The instrumentation and rhythm remind me of Kanye West’s past endeavors, but the song straddles the line between being a love song and an assertive hip hop feel.

Of course we have their well known single, ‘Brokenhearted’ on there as well along with…well, the rest of their story!

My favorite track may just be ‘I Told You So’. It’s everything I would look forward to in a pop song. Unexpected instrumentation-we get some horns in here-and a different musical style. Guitars, synth, rapping, and an eastern sound. I’ve always loved it when artists incorporate harmonic minor, Phrygian, Persian scales…all that jazz! The duo cited the different skills and musical styles they learned at Berklee as an influence as to what went into their songs. ‘I Told You So’ is a great example of this.

During the last interview session I had with the two, they mentioned working with other songwriters on a few tracks. I can hear this in the track ‘Too Many Fish’, as it has a very Beyonce feel to it, but Karmin carries it well. ‘I’m Just Saying” is a sort of ‘go get ’em’ anthem, with a very straightforward pop feel.

‘Coming Up Strong’, a track already loved by fans, was written solely by Heidemann and Noonan. This surprised me. Upon listening to it for the first time, I felt that the track had a country pop feel to it, which made me question who the co-writers were. Turns out Noonan and Heidemann know a thing or two about the songwriting formula! The song is heartfelt and broken up well by Heidemann’s rapping over powerful harmonies.

The title track, ‘Hello’, may just be my second favorite track. Sure, the synths sound familiar to many pop songs, and the ‘hellos’ remind me of some Nirvana riffs, but the rapping makes this song. I love how the lyrics are a grand hello to new listeners and fans, while the rapping addresses those who criticized Karmin on their journey or didn’t believe they could make it. It’s just great. Even if you don’t like pop or rap, you have to give them a hand on this one. Sometimes you just want to say ‘look what I did, even when you didn’t think I could’ to anyone who put you down along the way, and Karmin’s ‘Hello’ does this without sounding mean or cocky. It’s reassurance for anyone facing the same journey.

The album is diverse and catchy, and I really enjoyed it. You can definitely tell that the two are talented musicians and well trained, which is very welcome in today’s industry. I’m very excited to see where they will go from here…but I also wanted to touch upon their past.

I contacted the Galaxy of Stars Talent Search in Nebraska about Amy Heidemann’s win, which led to her to Berklee College of Music.

Wynne Adams, the executive producer for the Galaxy of Stars Talent Search, first met Heidemann when she competed at the Adams County Fair in Hastings, Nebraska. She won second place!

Adams remembers Heidemann well.

“When I first saw Amy perform in 2003 in the Galaxy of Stars Talent Search I knew she had the ‘Shine Factor’, as we call it in the Galaxy of Stars. It is the presence and energy that radiates from a performer that can’t be taught or explained it ‘just is’.  She had the creativity, the passion and the most of all the drive to not wait for something to happen but to take action and commit to making her dream a reality. She is an inspiration and is now a shining star for all to see!”
She also recalled the following:
In 2005 as 1st Place Winner in the Galaxy of Stars Talent Search Finals in Lincoln, Nebraska, Amy was awarded a recording session at Upper Room Studios, owners Mike and Dawn Chavanu in Kearney, Nebraska. She recorded an original CD produced by Wynne Adams. She used local musicians from Kearney, NE on the project. The project was entitled, Eventually.  
The project included six songs which, according to the Galaxy of Stars website, was “submitted to the Berklee College of Music and opened the door to Amy receiving a four year scholarship”.

Amy Heidemann won first place in the Galaxy of Stars competition in Nebraska. This led to her recording an album, which was submitted to Berklee College of Music. (2005)

Amy Heidemann, 2003. Heidemann was a local star and won a talent competition before recording an album, which was submitted to Berklee College of Music.

As for Noonan, The Bangor Daily News had a great piece about his time in Maine, where he was a prominent member of the music community:
“The whole school system was really supportive of music. My whole family is really supportive of me and what I do. Old Town has one of the best jazz programs in the state. I had some amazing teachers. I was lucky all around,” said Noonan, who cites teachers David Saucier, Shianne Wheeler and Jeffrey A. Priest as inspirations.
-Bangor Daily News, 4/29/11
I had read that Noonan also received a four year scholarship, but was not able to confirm. When I met him at the Rethink Music conference, he mentioned going to music and jazz competitions, one which had taken place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, where we were speaking at the time!
Bravo to Karmin, and how far they have come! It’s great to see how involved the two were in their communities, and how much raw talent the two have.
As for Hello, you should see for yourself. I am willing to bet you will not be disappointed. Get yourself to iTunes or Newbury Comics!

7 thoughts on “Reviewing ‘Hello’ and Karmin’s Past

  1. I love Karmin almost more than I do one direction ( which is saying something) Karmin is perfect! I am not the one to like rap music but then I listened to karmins version of 6ft 7ft and then listened to the real version and karmins was catchy and fun unlike the staccato sound of actual rap! I love them! (very cute couple too)

  2. Hello I was wondering if the album eventually which heidemann had recorded to get into berklee was ever released to the public?

  3. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote
    the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to
    drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this
    is fantastic blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

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