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Vocalist Karen Poole jumps into deep end with debut album
'Hidden' was 10 years in the making
Published Wednesday, February 24, 2021 5:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Karen Poole released her first long-playing album, “Hidden” on Feb. 12.

Karen Poole released her debut album on her 35th birthday.

“Hidden” debuted on Feb. 12. JazzNSoul will present a live virtual release concert on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5-7.

The album includes 14 songs with 15 tracks, all of which will be performed at the virtual show. The evening will include a full live band with Tim Scott Jr. on drums, Stefan Kallander on guitar, Johnny Abraham on keyboard—he produced “Never Alone” and “You Don’t Change” on the album—Courtney Gibson on bass. Gibson produced “Wait for You” and “Supply” on “Hidden.” Singers Shayla St. James, Britney Hughes and KeAndra Davis will provide background vocals.

The opening track is a prayer from her 87-year-old grandmother Ruth Walker.

“She sings this song she taught me when I was a child and then she prays a prayer for me,” Poole said. “Then it goes into the music after that.”

Poole chose the album title not only after the song, but to highlight the journey toward completing it. The Norfolk, Virginia native and Norfolk State University alumna relocated to Charlotte in 2017 with a debut EP, 2010’s “Life Lessons” in her portfolio. It has been a long road to realizing “Hidden” as an LP after spending most of 2020 working on the album.

“I feel like because I have been working at this for so long—over 10 years—I feel like now is my time,” she said. “Everything leading up to now, I have been able to put out a single here and there and help other artists with their music, working in the local churches, things like that, I feel like I have been kind of hidden in preparation mode—preparing me for this time, this season. Now is my time. I am not saying I am about to ‘blow up,’ but everything I have been working hard for has finally brought me to this place to share what I have been working on. That is why I chose the word ‘Hidden’ for the title.”

Poole’s album is a reflection of her diverse music interests. The singer, songwriter, musician and producer’s style does not fit a particular genre. It pulls influences from indie, contemporary gospel, Christian, jazz, R&B, and country. Overall, it features a message of encouragement.

“I am very diverse with my taste in music,” she said. “Just about anybody can find something on there that they can connect with. The music is really inspirational. I don’t really like to say I’m just a gospel artist because I feel like that kind of puts me in a box. I do sing a lot about God’s love. I try to inspire and encourage people.”

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