Inspired by simple truths and conscientious themes, singer-songwriter, Kara Hesse brings a refreshing sound and an evocative message. Rooted in blues, classic rock, folk, and barbershop, Kara’s midwestern upbringing later collided with her love for pop, soul, & jazz. Her recently self-released debut EP Better By Morning reveals that very arsenal of influences. She has toured with Denver’s 103.5 The Fox’s Groove Hawgs, opening for acts such as BB King, Al Green, and Buddy Guy at Red Rocks, and continues to build her fan base, while touring between states. She currently lives in Monterey, California.
“Someone recently asked me why I chose music, and the first thing that came to mind was that I didn’t. When I was a kid, my dad would drag me out to the dive bars and get me to play with the cats there. He’d even slip me a thimble of whiskey to knock off the edge. Blame the Irish in us, but it’s the truth.”
Born in Wichita, Kansas, and soon relocating to Boulder, Colorado, Kara grew up in the very heart of music. “There was always music, always. Instruments lying around right at our disposal. Even through all our domestic troubles, music was always there to lighten our load. It’s what kept us going…” Kara’s musical seed was planted early on. One of four siblings, she recalls nights her father would coach them on songs like ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and ‘Nowhere Man’ in four-part harmony and have them sing to their grandmother after Sunday dinner.
At 15, Kara received a 4-track tape recorder for Christmas when her father noticed her beginning to write. Over the next few months, she worked up a 9 song album, full of domestic and youthful laments, and sold it around the school for five bucks a pop. She was then hired by a local songwriter to sing background harmonies, as well as cut a few tunes. “I got the bug. When the producer handed me that check, he said ‘now you can officially call yourself a professional.’ I was hooked… and the studio has become a place of refuge for me ever since.”
Years later, Kara attended Berklee School of Music in Boston on a vocal scholarship and stayed long enough to glean what she needed. “I think I knew I wouldn’t be attending for a degree.. just for a bit of knowledge and then be on my way.”
“I remember a man in the corner of some Denver dive, a blues cat under a black hat. He summoned me with a wave of a finger and whispered ‘We are the philosophers of our time… use it’ and from then on, I suppose I felt responsible. It just solidified my desire for it even more. Besides, I can’t keep a normal job for more than five minutes.”