Karmin: where love and music converge
MATTHEW SCHWERHA For Sun-Times Media
Karmin strikes a pose. | Courtesy of Epic Records
What do you get when you mix a Berklee-trained singer with a rapper who honed her singing skills in the shower?
Answer: Amy Heidemann, who with her fiancée Nick Noonan, form the chart-topping group Karmin. The 26-year-olds will be performing Sunday, Aug. 12 at Northalsted Market Days in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.
“It wasn’t really until after we graduated [from Berklee] that I was prompted to rap publicly,” Heidemann said. “I would rap in the shower and though I sounded good, I never thought people would take me seriously.”
Her rhymes have been taken more than seriously, as Karmin has enjoyed commercial success with their first single “Brokenhearted” and now with their most recent single, “Hello.”
“She’s just a very musical person,” said Noonan. “She was a hotshot singer when I met her. An incredible singer. She didn’t want to lose her reputation as being an amazing singer. But, it sounds good.”
The group, which tightropes between the rap and pop genres, first gained notoriety from their performances on YouTube and posting to a popular internet site, called Reddit.
“Reddit was one of our really supportive internet sites,”Heidemann said. “One of our friends in Boston called me and said our video was going viral and we needed to post it on Reddit. We posted ‘Look at Me Now’ and got 500,000 hits from Reddit. That helped push us over the million views mark in the first few days. We were kind of scared of [Reddit] because people are so opinionated and passionate. We didn’t know how they would respond.”
They responded positively, as “Look at Me Now,” a cover of Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, has nearly 71 million views on Youtube.
Even though he is more in the background of songs vocally, Noonan plays a vital role in the composition of the duo’s work.
“Nick is the maestro of the group,” Heidemann said. “He plays a lot of instruments but then he has an incredible talent for arranging sound together.”
And, what about the trained trombonist rapping on upcoming tracks?
“He’s definitely able to spit some rhymes,” Heidemann said.
Not quite as confident, Noonan said, “Rapping might be on the second album but I’m going to need a lot of beer before that.
“There’s going to be a lot of songs with Amy rapping and me on the chorus. Some back and forth more playing to the duo.”
Duos aren’t new to the music scene, but very few are a man and a woman, and even fewer are able to take a successful journey with the love of their life.
“It’s very, very cool,” Noonan said. “I never thought I’d be doing something like this with my fiancée. She is the most talented person I’ve ever worked with, ever. And I’ve played with some amazing people. I’ve been on stage with Herbie Hancock and Paul Simon.
“Amy just started rapping less than two years ago. She’s one of the most talented people alive right now.”
Follow Matthew Schwerha on Twitter @MatthewSchwerha