Artist Spotlight: Karen Rodriguez
If you're an American Idol fan, you've certainly heard of What's In-Store Music client, Karen Rodriguez. The AI finalist captured the hearts of millions of viewers singing in both English and Spanish in the show's 10th season. Her new single, "Happy April Fools," is playing at retail locations across the country. Kind of sweet, considering the song's backstory ...
How was your experience on American Idol and of what performance are you the most proud?
My experience on American Idol was amazing! I learned so much from my time on the show and it gave me the opportunity to meet one of my biggest influences, Jennifer Lopez. I’m most proud of my performance of “Hero” by Mariah Carey - which I sang in both English and Spanish. It was an unbelievable opportunity to show the world my talents as a bi-lingual performer. The feedback I received from Jennifer, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson also blew me away and let me know that I was on my way to something special. You can watch the full performance here. Being bilingual is certainly an asset in any profession. How has being bilingual helped you as a songwriter?
I write songs in both English and Spanish, so I understand the nuances of each language as well as the unique qualities present in both American and Latin culture. There are certain words in Spanish that do not translate into English, and vice versa. Being bilingual has helped me as a songwriter because it challenges me to find words and phrases that capture the emotional essence of what I’m trying to convey in both languages, as opposed to literal translations which often times sacrifice a song’s meaning. Sometimes I feel I’m on an everlasting journey to find the perfect lyric. How did you connect with the multi-talented Romeo Santos?
I met Romeo Santos through another one of my idols, Marc Anthony. I was recording background vocals for Marc’s “Vivir Mi Vida” and Romeo happened to be in the studio. I found the courage to asked if they would listen to my music; just demo’s that I had written and recorded on GarageBand and a few a cappella songs. They said yes and I played them everything that I had, including a very rough version of “Happy April Fools.” Romeo really liked what he heard and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime by inviting me to write with him for his album Formula Vol. 2. We collaborated on three songs from the project including “Odio” featuring Drake, “Trust” featuring Tego Calderon, and “Gone Forever.” Since then, he has taken me under his wing and our working relationship flourished into a true mentorship.
What was the inspiration behind “Happy April Fools?
The inspiration for “Happy April Fools” came from real life experience. A few years back, I had plans to meet a guy at a party that was coincidentally happening on April Fools Day. I arrived to the party and it was like he was pranking me - despite promising me that he’d be there, he was nowhere to be found. I pretty much stayed until I was the last person at the party waiting for him to arrive. I finally left and when I got home, I wrote “Happy April Fools.” I got out my iPad and recorded the song on GarageBand. Then I took a nap, woke up, and wrote the Spanish version - all in the same day! You’ve released many Spanglish covers of popular songs on your YouTube channel. Any plans on doing more? If so, what will you cover next?
I will definitely be doing more Spanglish covers! I love translating songs into Spanglish because it gives my Spanish speaking audience a chance to enjoy songs like “Hello” or “Hotline Bling” when they may not otherwise be able to due to language barriers. There’s a few songs I have my eye on covering, and I’m thinking about letting my fans vote on the one I do next. Finally, a shameless plug. What would you like our readers to know about you?
I love acting and musical theater and will eventually expand to Broadway, TV and film. I’d love to voice a princess in a Disney, maybe become the first Latina Disney Princess!