1.) So is KAAREN, like “Car-In the garage.” Kaaren Styles or K Double A, K-Steezy, Miss Styles and Terp, we got all that right?!? So what’s in your name, where did it come from?
Got it! My birth name is Kaaren Alise Terpack, which has basically been the vain of my existence. But it’s cool to have a unique name. My mother named me the Dutch name Kaaren (we’re not Dutch) pronounced Car-en. It’s weird to say for Americans so they called me Karen most of my life, but spelled it with the double A, which caused just as much confusion. I eventually learned to embrace the correct pronunciation. Styles came from me doing hair initially, and it just worked with the fact that I do different music styles. Kaaren is me, Styles is what I do.
2.) So you spent most of your life in Pittsburgh before moving to Detroit and Miami . How does the Pittsburgh music scene relate and differ from where you are now?
Well… those scenes are all very different, but Detroit and Pittsburgh are much more similar than Miami. It’s that working class, bold as I wanna be, gritty American culture. The music is soulful and the scenes are much more community based. Miami has a much more international influence. Because people are constantly coming and going the scene is also always changing. It might be more about image than content in Miami, but it is a greater global market so I am taking advantage of that. Plus I’ve found some cool little niches that remind me of the scene I ran with in the East End of Pittsburgh.
3.) Do you still hold in ties with Pittsburgh artists, producers, etc that you would like to shout out?
I am working on some stuff with Ricky P, Joanna LLC, and Vaig. I have mad love for Kellee Maize and the Nakturnal Owl Tribe. I have been working with them on and off for years. It’s pretty cool to run into my old interns from ID Labs. They have all come so far from those days so shout outs to Jackie, Basick Sickness, Barry and everyone hustlin. And a big shout out to Daru Jones. He isn’t PGH born, but he did his thing in the city for a while and played with a lot of Pittsburgh Artists. He’s killing it as a drummer on headlining tours and he deserves mad respect for that.
4.) Your music seems to pull in many genres and styles. What 1 style sums you up the most even if its a name you came up with?
I like Trip-Hip-Hop but it’s more than that. My newer stuff is def more futuristic. But I always put in Soul. Shit, I have no idea! How about STYLES MUSIC! Trademark. Ha
5.) you mention having a diverse post college career, tell us about it.
Man I have had so many random jobs! But really cool random jobs. I went to college for Film since it involved acting, music and art, but really I wanted to be a singer. After school I worked on production for PBS, I worked at ID Labs Studio, I started Soulcasion throwing parties and I was there when Nakturnal started. I spent a year working at Trinity Lutheran Church in the North Side which was honestly the best learning experience ever. Moving to Miami I worked for Slip N Slide Records, I did casting for Miami Ink and Mtv, I ran the front desk of the former Versace Mansion, I go-go danced… and then I decided I didn’t want to work for anyone. So I quit everything. I went back to my roots (no pun intended) as a hair braider and did some intense training in Hair & Cosmetology. Now I am styling celebrities, getting flown around the world, and best of all I run my own business, Make N Style. This was what allowed me the time to get back into music, since I gave it up for a few years. I feel really blessed to have had the experiences I have and to be doing what I love right now.
6.) what can we expect from you in 2013?
I have a few projects coming out in Spring and Summer. The first is going to be released and pushed primarily in Pittsburgh, called Steel EP. I’m really excited to get back home in April and show love. My homie Web Three and I are releasing an album called New Normal in May. It’s some “rock meets hiphop and they went to a circus” type shit! I have a collabo with UK producer LoopG that is a lot of dubstep and electronic music. And then this summer will be my full solo project which I have been writing recording, and even drawing for, for the last year. It’s going to be very strange, I can’t wait! I’ll be doing shows this summer and fall, and we’ll see what happens.
7.) most artist work within a circle of people. Who is in your current circle?
Web Three and I are very close and love collaborating, even though we each have own style and our own scenes. He is a huge source of inspiration for me. Death Proof! My DJ, Nasty Nate, and I host The Rich Flo Show together every Friday night plus we play events as a DJ/Emcee duo called StylesNasty. I usually go to DJ Huggy for any mixing I need because he is really one of the best and he knows my voice. The rest of my recording in Miami happens at Insane Sound Studio. And I guess my fiance is probably my best teammate and biggest supporter. He always tells me truthfully if something is good or not. I like to think my circle is always evolving. I do a lot on my own, so I wouldn’t mind expanding it either.
8.) who have you not yet worked with that you would like to?
I want to do a track with Chevy Woods. We did one together a long time ago but I’d love to revisit that situation all these years later. He’s super talented and was always very cool. I am dying to work with Santogold. She is not really mainstream, but she is one of the most creative people I have ever heard. And like me she is into all different kinds of music. Emelie Sandre is a beast!!! She is huge in the UK but justs starting to get noticed in the US. And… I want to do something with MayDay. They are a Miami based hiphop band that I have followed for years. Their tight and their emcees are dope.
9.) what other interests do you hold close to you?
Anything creative I treasure. I make music, but I also draw, I sew, I craft. My art is probably my most effective way to express the things I can’t always say in words. It’s very personal and very close to my heart and sometimes hard to share. But I also really love hosting! Like, LOVE it. So whether it’s a BBQ at my house, or a meeting with my Make n Style team, or my online show, I just really love having people around and making sure they have a unique, memorable experience.
10.) I have seen mentioned of gardening and eating right. Is this part of your everyday lifestyle?
I am really getting into gardening! I know, I’m such a dork, but I am into the organic movement and growing my own vegetables. My old roommate Ray Stone is a vegan, from Detroit, and wrote a book called Eat Like You Give A Damn. He put me on to so much truth about the production of food that we eat every day, how unnatural we have become due to convenience, and I just can’t ignore that now. I want to live a long, healthy life. And I like caring for the life I create. It’s seriously therapeutic on so many different levels.
11.) POPGH stands for people of Pittsburgh going hard. How do you go hard for Pittsburgh?
I might have left but I spent 25 years there and I go back often. Everyone in Miami knows I’m from Pittsburgh because I say it proudly. I rock my Timebomb t-shirts, my Polamalu jersey, even got the Steelers diamond tattooed on my back. I follow what’s happening in the scene and I still support my people in the city as much as I can. For example I just linked up the ladies at Nakturnal with the coordinators of the international event RAW Artists. I had participated with the event in Miami and I just knew it would be something awesome for Pittsburgh. Nakturnal ran the first ever RAW event in Pittsburgh and it sold out. They will do it every month now. I don’t hesitate to try and make those connections out of love for the 412. It’s important to me to stand by my roots.
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