Billboard Chart-topping singer Karine Hannah is working a new single, an upcoming show at Manhattan's Feinstein’s/54 Below, and her goal of performing on the Las Vegas strip. Judging by her current career trajectory, that goal may be achieved sooner rather than later. When we spoke to Hannah nearly four years ago, she had just wrapped her critically-acclaimed one-woman show, “Guilty Pleasures,” and was prepping a pop/dance release. While she has always wowed audiences with her impressive vocals, her sound has become more mature in preparation for Vegas audiences. Speaking exclusively to AXS, Hannah discussed her plan for getting to Sin City.
AXS: When we last spoke, you were promoting "Burning Up." Catch us up on what has been going on since then!
KARINE HANNAH: In 2015 and 2016, my first single, "Burning Up," climbed the Dance charts and got into the Top 5. My follow-up single ["Victory"] was released in 2016, and got into the Top 10. Since then, Cash Money released an EP and that's been doing pretty well on all streaming platforms. We're still working the EP, and I've been doing a lot of live shows. We're working towards being more of a live act, and eventually, do something in Vegas.
AXS: What is your live show like?
KH: I have two live shows. I have my live show with my original material, and that's very energetic. It's a cross between Celine Dion, Beyoncé (because it's very high energy), and Tina Turner (I know that Beyoncé has used her as a reference, too). And then I've been doing tributes to the biggest vocalists in the world. So with that, you're getting a more relaxed show, and this is the type of thing that we're trying to move to Vegas. It's me singing songs that most people in the world can't really sing. It's more of a controlled show, but it shows my vocal chops.
AXS: Songs that most people can't sing-- so that's like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston tributes?
KH: Everything that you're saying, and even going older-- like Barbra Streisand. Older legendary voices. The reason that I'm doing Streisand is number one, because I can. Secondly, people have said over the years that I have a little resemblance to her from like the 70s. It kind of works. People think that I could be her daughter or something.
AXS: I didn't notice any features or special appearances on the EPs. Is there a plan behind not having collaborations on the EPs?
KH: We got a lot of requests about possibly doing collaborations. Between my own management, the label, and the head of marketing, we didn't think that I was that kind of artist. We didn't want to go down the road with that, so we avoided it all. I did a feature on somebody's project, a rap group signed out of Sony Germany, and they actually did pretty well with that. That was the only time I decided to do a feature.
AXS: I know that you have a show coming up in September. Do we have to wait until then to see you live?
KH: Right now, yes. Normally I would be doing performances throughout the summer, but I'm moving from one apartment to another. By the time I do this move and get settled in, I'm going to be so exhausted that I'm not going to want to get on the road to do anything. The first thing that I accepted was to do something in September. Sometimes you just have to take time for yourself.
AXS: What's the direction for 2018?
KH: I'm starting to record new material. It's not going to be pop-dance anymore-- it's going to be a little more adult. We're trying to mold me into a more adult artist and a more live artist. It's going to be more adult torch songs, big vocal songs. Music that will sound great recorded and great live.