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Karen O born Karen Lee Orzolek is a South Korean-born American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. O is best known as the lead vocalist for the American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In the band’s early days O was known for her outrageous antics during live shows. Their first ever gig was opening for The White Stripes.
Born in Busan, South Korea to a Korean mother and a Polish father the family moved to Englewood, New Jersey where she grew up. O attended Oberlin College before transferring to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2008, O began working on a side project called Native Korean Rock and the Fishnets with fellow New York City musicians. In 2009, O contributed backing vocals, screaming animal sounds and noises to the songs “Gemini Syringes,” “I Can Be A Frog,” and “Watching the Planets” on the Flaming Lips album Embryonic.
O collaborated with Smashing Pumpkin’s guitarist James Iha on his second solo album 2012’s Look to the Sky. In 2015, a Karen O song in tribute to American journalist Nellie Bly was used as part of a Google doodle commemorating Bly’s 151st birthday.
O contributed vocals to a version of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” for the I’m Not There film soundtrack. O collaborated with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on a cover version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” for the soundtrack of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film.
O composed the majority of the songs on Spike Jonze’s film Where the Wild Things Are. She is listed on the soundtrack as “Karen O and the Kids.” One song co-written by O was nominated for a Grammy Award at the 2010 Grammys.
O also contributed “The Moon Song” to Jonze’s film Her. The song was nominated in 2014 for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
O released her debut solo album Crush Songs in 2014. In 2015 O released a live album Live from Crush Palace, The album features live renditions of songs from Crush Songs, as well as “Hideaway” from Where the Wild Things Are and “The Moon Song” from Her.
O’s latest is a collaborative studio album with Grammy-winning musician Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse. The album Lux Prima features ethereal, laid back orchestration. The collaboration between the duo extends beyond the album with plans to pair their music with an immersive art installation in Los Angeles in April 2019.
Karen O discography
Crush Songs (2014)
Live from Crush Palace (2015)
Lux Prima with Danger Mouse (2019)
Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays Karen O’s collaboration with Danger Mouse. All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/
Check out the single “Turn The Light” from Karen O’s collaboration with Danger Mouse.