Karen David is not your average “girl next door.” This exotic star has everything you’ve been looking for: talent, sex appeal, star quality. The stylish actress, singer, and songwriter’s budding career has been going from strength to strength. Born in Shillong, in the foothills of the Himalayas and raised in Toronto, Canada, by a half Chinese/Khasi mother and a father from Chennai, the ever-alluring Karen was never one to be confined by the expected boundaries.
At 17, she won a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston to study jazz and gospel, where she discovered her flair for song writing. A few years later, she moved to London to study at The Guildford School of Acting and, the moment she announced, “I Have a Dream”, Benny Andersson snapped her up in a shot to join the original cast of the hit musical, “Mamma Mia!” Film director, Shekhar Kapur, brought his friend, the legend of Indian music, and “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, Golden Globe, Double Oscar winning, A.R. Rahman, who was developing “Bombay Dreams” at the time, down to see the show. Rahman was impressed by Karen and asked her to assist him and Don Black, in the development of the material for Bombay Dreams. Her reward was to be invited to perform some of the songs on stage on his highly acclaimed sell-out US and Canada tour. This was the start of a friendship that has led to Karen writing and recording with A.R. Rahman at his studios in Chennai, India.
So whilst Karen was taking the time in the studio to develop her unique “exotic pop” sound, her acting career has been getting bigger and bigger. Her very first film was with James McAvoy and Ian McShane in the Brit cult flick, “Bollywood Queen”. She then landed a role in Batman Begins, and co-starred with Stephen Grahame and James Lance, in Johnny Vaughn’s cult favourite for MTV Europe, “Top Buzzer.” Kevin Macdonald snapped her up to co-star in his short film, “Eureka”, and she co-starred opposite Steven Segal in “Flight of Fury”. As Asha, in the hard-hitting “Provoked”, she starred opposite Aishwarya Rai, Miranda Richardson, Naveen Andrews and Robbie Coltrane. In between takes, on set, she was asked to write and record the title song for the film, with A.R. Rahman. Together they penned, the beautiful and haunting “Alive”. But her international audience knows this budding starlet from recently playing the lead heroine, Layla, in NBC/Universal Pictures’ prequel, “The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior”, and as Liessa in the hugely successful Sky 1, TV mini-series, Terry Pratchet’s “The Colour of Magic”, where she starred opposite the likes of sir David Jason, Sean Astin, and Jeremy Irons. She has graced the front covers of many international mainstream and Asian magazines. She has also featured in ad campaigns for Roots in Canada.
She recently hosted the UK Asian Music Awards at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and collaborated with Shahin Badar and Metz n Trix in a performance of Ringa Ringa from Slumdog Millionaire. The Show will be broadcast worldwide on B4UMusic at the end of May to a potential audience of 30 million.
What’s next for KD? Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming release of her first single, “Magic Carpet Ride”, an epic musical homage to Asha Bhosle’s Bollywood blockbuster “Dum Maro Dum” with mixes from DJ Pathaan, Nucleya, FlavAsia, DJ Shadow, and DJ Dev.
Later this year, we will also see Karen in a cool cameo role in “Couples Retreat”, opposite Hollywood heavyweights, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman and Faizon Love. Also upcoming is a role with Bipasha Basu in “Quick Slip Me A Bride” due to start filming later this year.