Karen Lyu is a unique and animated jazz singer/songwriter who loves to give playful, powerful and unforgettable performances. She swings, scats and soulfully savors heartfelt, brave and quirky songs about life, love, and things that matter. Her music is touched by jazz, folk, pop, funk, Motown, 80's, Broadway, classical, Latin, world music, and Korean songs. Her vocal inspirations include Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Siegel (The Manhattan Transfer), Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eva Cassidy, Youn Sun Nah, Robert Robinson and Bobby McFerrin. People are usually surprised by Karen's powerful voice and stage persona!
Born in Seoul, Korea, Karen grew up with her struggling immigrant family in the US (CA, TX, and MN), got a Jazz Studies degree at Cornell College in IA, sang throughout the Midwest, and beyond, and now sings in South Korea. She's sung with 12 groups, including the Karen Lyu Jazz Experience, Karen Lyu Quartet, Yoo and Karen Duo, Karen Lyu & Fresh Jazz, Karen Lyu & Global Jazz, Pacha Mamas, Via Brasil, Jazz Transit, and Eddie Piccard Trio since 1993 and also with Soli Hughes (Sounds of Blackness), Devon Evans (Bob Marley), and Bruce Henry (Natalie Cole).
Karen’s singing has been featured on National Public Radio, Democracy Now, film, TV, radio, cable and all kinds of stages. She's also traveled and performed in the US, Korea, Europe, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Brazil. She has won a 2010 MusiCares/Grammy Foundation Emergency Grant, a 2010 NashvilleMuse Songwriter award, a 2007 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and more.