Karen David has more than one string to her bow. In addition to her budding music career, the stunning singer-songwriter is also making waves on the silver screen, pursuing her childhood passion to both act and sing professionally. Karen is certainly not your average ‘girl next door’ making headlines on both sides of the pond.
This exotic star ticks all the right boxes – she has talent, sex appeal and star quality that shines through everything she puts her passion and mind to.
Born in Shillong, on April 15, in the foothills of the Himalayas, and subsequently raised in Canada, and London, Karen David forged her own way from the very beginning.
Her passion for performing on stage began at age 17, when she won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied jazz and gospel. It was here that she discovered a natural flair for songwriting and a real love of drama, which led her to study at the Guildford School of Acting in London. It wasn’t long after finishing drama school, that she landed her first part in the West End musical Mamma Mia! being quickly snapped up by Benny Anderson (of ABBA) to join the original cast. This would become Karen’s acting debut and would ultimately propel her to the silver screen.
Combining her desire to pursue a singing and acting career, Karen next signed a record deal with BMG Europe, releasing her debut single It’s Me (You’re Talking To) in 2003. The single became a huge success entering the Top Ten in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The track was also BMG’s 4th highest airplay hit for a debut artist.
Soon afterwards, Karen was discovered by A.R Rahman, the composer who would famously achieve worldwide success for his score for Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. Impressed by Karen’s talents, he then invited her to help develop the soundtrack for the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. Subsequently, they created the theme tune for the British drama Provoked in which Karen also had a supporting role.
Karen’s work with A.R Rahman continued, together developing her tracks Carry Me Home and Shillong Shillong. The tracks featured on her first EP The Live Sessions EP in April 2008. Karen’s versatility and proficiency as an all-round performer made her cross over onto TV and film screens effortlessly. Her film career launched with a starring role as Layla in The Scorpion King 2, and she was cast by Christopher Nolan in a supporting role in Batman Begins as well as Steven Seagal's Flight of Fury, Sky 1’s The Colour of Magic and Couple’s Retreat featuring Jon Favreau and Kristen Davis. Karen also co-starred in Eureka – a film documentary directed by Oscar winner, Kevin MacDonald.
But it is perhaps her television roles that have earned her the majority of her diehard fans in the UK and America. Karen became a household name when she joined the cast of BBC 1’s BAFTA nominated, primetime, Waterloo Road (2011), where she played Francesca Montoya, a teacher who fell in love with a student. The storyline generated plenty of controversy however, more and more admirers fell for Karen’s compelling performance with the series generating over 9 million viewers per episode.
Karen also co-starred in an ensemble cast for two seasons on the hugely popular BBC comedy series, Pixelface, (produced by Graham Norton’s So Television). Her screen career has continued to flourish with subsequent work with Robert De Niro in Red Lights and with Francis Lawrence in Fox TV's hit drama, Touch. Written by Heroes creator, Tim Kring, and starring Hollywood heavyweights Kiefer Sutherland and Danny Glover. Karen played Kayla Graham in the pilot episode, an aspiring singer who works in a menial job at her local call centre in Dublin, Ireland. Karen worked with pop duo Wendy and Lisa on the track Three Little Birds which was sung by her character on the show. The one hour special preview was a huge success and debuted in America to 12.5 million viewers, winning its time slot, and making it the 2nd highest debut for a Fox drama in the past 5 years.
She has most recently been seen on the Alibi Channel, in ABC's hit crime drama, Castle, playing 20 year old Columbia University student, Sara El-Masri.
Karen will next grace our screens in December 2013, in a cameo role as FBI agent Penn in the new Jack Ryan movie, alongside Keira Knightley, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and Kenneth Branagh; and then again in early 2014 in new independent British film Amar, Akbar & Tony.
Balancing both acting and singing, Karen returned to the studio in early 2013 to create her latest self-penned EP ‘Dust to Stars’.
Karen has spent the past few months writing and recording with some of the worlds’ top songwriters including Boots Ottestad (Robbie Williams, Katherine McPhee), Adam Argyle & Martin Brammer (Olly Murs), and Stefan Skarbek (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Eliza Doolittle), to create this latest body of work. The eagerly anticipated album will be released in August 2013 and features a collection of five fantastic tracks including the title track Dust to Stars, Daydreamer, Connected, Kaleidoscope and Heartstrings.
In her personal life, Karen is an avid supporter of charity work and devotes much of her time to campaigning for various issues. She has been active in raising funds for Breast Cancer Awareness and is also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. Combining her love of music and support for charity, Karen released a charity Christmas album in 2010, entitled My Christmas List, to raise money for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter. She also raises awareness for SOS Children's Villages Foundation and Designers Against Aids.