About Karen Bates
I was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside in 1961. Left home at 17 and moved to London. I sing, write songs (lyrics and music) and play guitar. I’ve performed solo, in a three-part harmony jazz trio, and in pop/soul/function bands.
I performed with The Bitter End in New York, and have played in London including: The Astoria Theatre, Ronnie Scotts, Shaw Theatre, Bloomsbury Theatre, Mean Fiddler, The Vortex, Pizza Express Dean Street, The Rosemary Branch, Hope & Anchor, The Weavers Arms, Half Moon, Putney. I’ve also played at several festivals in northern Italy. I was a member of the Pro-Musica Opera Chorus and we performed “Les Troyens” and Verdi’s “Nabucco” at The Royal Albert Hall, London, and Britten’s “War Requiem” in Barcelona, Spain.
I have supported Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Brian Kennedy, Ralph McTell, and Hank Wangford. I performed on a TV show with Jools Holland, filmed at The Astoria, and live sessions on Capital Radio, Radio Merseyside, and the Nightride Sessions for Radio 2. As a session singer, I’ve recorded for Soundalikes for Zomba Records (as Celine Dion, Tracey Chapman, Madonna, Lisa Stansfield, Was Not Was, SNAP!, Beverley Craven, Urban Cookie Collective, Suzanne Vega).
Musicians I’ve worked with: Mo Foster (with Gary Moore), Pino Palladino, Mark Lockheart, Frank Ricotti, Ray Russell, Chris Birkett.
Awards I’ve won: BASCA songwriting award 1992, and the Making Music Magazine songwriting competition 2009.
I was commissioned to write music for the plays “Colder than Here” and “Fourplay”. The songwriting competition was actually a great rejuvenator for me. It’s hard keeping going with full-time work commitments but my love of music/performing/writing keeps me afloat. The generous comments/support of fellow competitors in the competition was a huge boost.
Late Night Flying has been an unexpected, happy spin off from the songwriting competition. I hope the completion the album brings a sense of achievement to all involved, and some great reviews (in addition to a few sales) would mean a lot to everyone I’m sure.