When she was just five years old, a teacher told her she spoke too much.
Her teacher said she should rather sing until she got tired of her voice. It didn’t work; instead Karla Christene’s passion for singing was ignited.
“If I’m sad, if I’m excited – what-ever I’m feeling, music just speaks to me,” the Bellville singer says.
Karla was already taking lessons with well-known vocal coach Riana van Wyk before she went to primary school, and won her first competition at the age of six.
Although she competed in many other competitions, her professional career took off in 2008, when she was invited to perform at Club Mykonos in Langebaan.
Since then she has performed on festival stages all over the country.
Karla, or Kaycee as she sometimes calls herself on stage, struggles to define the genre of her music.
Being a people pleaser, she has a diverse repertoire on stage – from her own English and Afrikaans originals to the “golden oldies” she adds to be able to better connect with her fans.
Karla released her second album, Eerste Liefde (first love) in March. After hearing the title track, a Belgian fan invited her to launch the album and tour in Europe.
“The tour was amazing.” She played at a big South African music festival in Belgium before heading to the Netherlands and France and says her audiences enjoyed her style and danced along to the music.
“Everyone in Belgium welcomed us with open arms. It was so nice to be able to experience that part of the world.”
Since returning, she’s been performing her normal shows, along with a few fund-raisers, and was nominated a second time in the Newcomer of the Year category at this year’s Bokkie awards.
She has also been commissioned to be part of the international Euro Covers project. She has been asked to sing Afrikaans translations of two of the songs from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest for a compilation album due to be released in Austria in May.
She is already performing one of the songs Dis nou die tyd vir my at her local performances. “I must admit it’s a big honour to be approached to be involved in something that’s such a big opportunity.”
Karla says having an active fan base sharing her posts and the fact that her music is playing on quite a few internet radio stations have helped her gain these international opportunities.
That doesn’t mean she’s got her heads in the clouds though. Karla often links her name to benefit concerts and is the ambassador for the Happy Hearts care centre, a non-profit organisation that works with children and the elderly.
Locals can see Karla in action this weekend when she performs at the Kraaifontein October Fest at Zoo Park on Saturday from 12:00. On Friday 30 October she’ll be performing at a fund-raising concert for the Justice for Nadia Stephanie Bond group. V
For more information about Karla or her upcoming shows, visit her website at www.karlachristene.com or visit her Facebook page: “Karla Fan Page”