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Karen Waldrup enjoys challenge of Bravo TV series

Karen Waldrup.jpg

It’s one thing to meet one of your inspirations. It’s another thing to perform in front of that person on a TV show.

Nashville, Tenn.-based singer/songwriter Karen Waldrup did just that when she played the song “My City” for host/judge Jewel and others on the new Bravo series Platinum Hit.

The 24-year-old Waldrup checked in following the first episode of Platinum Hit, which aired May 30th. How did you learn about Platinum Hit, and what were some of the steps you had to take to get selected for the show?
Karen Waldrup: “I first heard of Platinum Hit from a co-writer friend of mine, Sandy Ramos. She sent me an e-mail and mentioned I may be interested in auditioning. I typically just sign up to audition without even thinking of it when it comes to music stuff. Most of the time, you don’t have much to lose.

“So, I got online and signed up for the Nashville audition. Then a music mentor of mine, Mark Bennett, and my Internet manager, Julian Bankston, also told me about the show. I knew since three different sources had informed me about it that it would probably be a cool thing for me to do.

“On the day of the auditions, it was so hot in Nashville! I almost did not go to the audition because of the heat and the long lines. Julian called me up on the phone. He said, ‘Karen, where are you for this audition?’ And I replied, ‘I am not standing in the heat all day for that today, Julian, it’s too hot.’ With a certain tone in his voice, he said, ‘You are obviously not that serious about your music.’ Within a few hours, I was on Music Row in line to audition. I am so glad and thankful that he pushed me to go. It was meant to be.”

Talk about working with fellow contestants Nick Nittoli and Jes Hudak on “My City.” What was your contribution to writing this song? And what was going through your mind as you performed it with them on the first episode of the show?
Waldrup: “I loved writing with Jes and Nick for the first episode. They are both amazing songwriters, and it was a pleasure to work with each of them. When writing this song, we all really contributed equally and had a really amazing co-write. It played out well considering that we won! I remember not wanting to write with Nick, but as soon as we got into the room, the creative flow started flowing and we made it happen.

“It was so much fun performing it as it felt so natural up there with Jes and Nick. They are both amazing writers and musicians on guitar and keys!”

You count Jewel as one of your inspirations. Did you cross paths with her off-camera, and if so, what did you talk about?
Waldrup: “Jewel is one of my biggest inspirations! We got to hang out a bit off-camera on the show, and she told stories of her life and how it was when she was up-and-coming. She told one story about her inspiration for ‘Who Will Save Your Soul’ and how it came from a hitchhiking trip. She has such a peaceful and open soul.”

What was the biggest lesson you learned from the first episode?
Waldrup: “The biggest lesson I learned from the first episode was to be really careful with what you write. We fortunately won, but they were pretty hard on us regarding every single piece that went into the song. I had to step it up in the songwriting world as far as being more careful about each word I placed in the songs. And the time crunch didn’t help! It was very challenging, and the first episode helped me understand the importance of writing clearly and with meaning. I feel I am a much better writer from being a part of this first Los Angeles episode.”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

Platinum Hit airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.

Karen Waldrup on tour (schedule subject to change):

* June 7: CMA Fest: Wild Beaver Saloon — Nashville, Tenn.
* June 10: Bull & Whistle — Lebanon, Tenn.
* June 18: WhaBah Steakhouse — Bowling Green, Ky.
* June 21: Dan McGuinness — Cool Springs, Tenn.
* June 24: Eagle Nest — Buchanan, Tenn.
* June 25: The Breakers of Swan Bay — Buchanan, Tenn.
* June 28: 12th and Porter — Nashville, Tenn.
* June 29: Bunganut Pig Pub & Eatery — Franklin, Tenn.