Karisa Wilson Plays Music in the Stacks

Karisa Wilson plays GRPL's Music in the Stacks concert series.
Karisa Wilson plays GRPL's Music in the Stacks concert series.

Hometown favorite Karisa Wilson is back and performing at the Grand Rapids Public Library’s concert series, Music in the Stacks. Wilson has been quite busy with a variety of projects since her last album release. Luckily, GR|Mag had the opportunity to speak with her about what she has been doing and what’s next.

GR|Mag: We see that you’re playing at GRPL for its Music in the Stacks concert series, how do you feel about performing in such a peculiar setting?

Karisa Wilson:   I’m excited to play in “the stacks!” I’ve played several times at the GR Public Library, so I think I’ll be quite comfortable. It’ll be fun and unique.

GR|Mag: How does the library differ from other venues you have played?

KW: The most obvious thing is that it isn’t a space that’s been designed for live, musical performance. Also, it’ll likely provide an audience that hasn’t yet heard my music.

GR|Mag: What have you been up to since the release of your last album, “Stronger” in 2012?

KW: I enjoyed a tour and making a music video after releasing this album. I also traveled to Uganda to record and produce “Songs from Salama Road,” an album of tunes from a group of orphaned young people. This project raised several thousand dollars to support their education and day to day needs.

Shortly after this, I started my family, which has been a primary focus for the last three years. I maintain a busy teaching schedule (violin, voice and guitar) at Triumph Music Academy, have recorded on UV Hippo and Watching For Foxes’ newest albums. I have performed for a series of private Failure Lab events, events for Art Prize and a host of other organizations.

GR|Mag: Can you tell about some of the recent projects you’ve been working on, specifically with America’s Music Company (AMC)?

KW: I’ve been singing and playing with the Blue Water Kings Band for the past three years, which mostly performs private corporate-type events. It’s very different from the song-writers’s life but I’ve been meeting and collaborating with some of the best musicians in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Chicago. I look forward to drawing on these connections for future projects.

The AMC is a new project that I’m very excited about. Our artistic director and creator, Mark Jackson, is a colleague at Triumph Music Academy, and a brilliant musician. I’ve been honored to work with him and be a part of this new musical theater company.

Our first show was Nov. 13, with another on Feb. 25 at the Park Theater in Holland, and in June at the Wealthy Theatre. It’s a faced-paced, educational, but very entertaining review called TV Land: A Musical Adventure. The audience will take a trip down the memory lane of shared experience that is television and the music of its shows and commercials.

GR|Mag: Do you plan to release any new music anytime soon? If so, how will it compare to your previous work?

KW: I have no immediate plans for releasing more music. I admire musicians (women) who are able to balance raising small children and still have mental/emotional/physical space to write. I have not found that balance yet, but hope to in the coming months and years. That said, I have written some new material which I look forward to releasing in the future.

GR|Mag: Are you playing any shows from now until the end of the year?

KW: I’m performing a Tom Petty tribute show with Max Lockwood and May Erlewine (among others tbd) at The Pyramid Scheme on Dec. 30. I have a number of private engagements, but will post anything readers can attend on the Karisawilson.com calendar!

GR|Mag: Will you be playing any New Year’s shows?

KW: This is the first in three years that I am not slated to play! I’m looking forward to hanging out with some friends.

GR|Mag: Is there anything else you want GR|Mag readers to know?

KW: I’ve gone through a lot of changes both as a person and an artist. I feel blessed to have a skill set that allows me to participate with music in such a variety of ways. Keep your eye out for a new style from your Kdub in the coming years. I’ll be getting away from my folky roots with the next project!

For more information on Karisa Wilson, visit her website.

*Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Library

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