Sometimes a break up makes you stronger, however hard it might feel at the time. That seems to have been the case for Brighton-born, London-based singer songwriter Karen Anne, aka Girl Called Johnny. But it wasn’t a romantic liaison that bit the dust, it was her former band Ramona. After forming a band, there was a flash of attention bestowed upon them, which landed them a major label deal. Within a year they had split, something that Karen Anne still finds hard to accept.
The one thing it did though, was give her complete artistic freedom in making her music. And she has come up with a delicate mix of music which draws from her heroes, Patti Smith Chrissie Hyde and Lauryn Hill, through to the albums which remained important to her, The Smiths’ Hatful of Hollow and Lou Reed’s Transformer, and mixing it with a literary edge, particularly the lyrics of Rowland S Howard, one of which she took as her nom de plume.
Out on December 9th comes Hey Jackie, and it shows Karen Anne to be a sharp songwriter. Pitched somewhere between Motown Torch Song, early Blondie and this sense of the theatrical from Transformer. It’s accompanied by a video, directed by Karen Anne and featuring model Chris Millington.
Certainly, as hard as it is, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Girl Called Johnny and Karen Anne is very strong indeed.