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Karina Pasian Says She Can’t ‘Choose’ Chris Brown, Preps ‘Trips to Venus’

Simone Smalls PR, Inc

Karina Pasian has never fit the mold of artists in her musical category. At 16, she was introduced to the music scene by way of the heartfelt single ’16 at War.’ The teenager became the center of a bidding war between Interscope, Bad Boy and Def Jam Records, the latter of which signed her to a contract in 2006. Her vocal talent is not only brawny but it crosses language barriers, and she’s able to belt out songs in English, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, French and Arabic.

Before she was even legal, the New Yorker made an impact for being unique. While labelmates like Rihanna were singing about heartbreak on ‘Take a Bow,’ Pasian was tackling single-parent households and the pressures of being a teenager on her first single, penned by none other than The-Dream and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart. The next few years would find Pasian doing everything from performing for former President George W. Bush at the White House celebration for Black Music Month in 2007, to snagging a Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary R&B Album category in 2008.

As her popularity hit a lull, the singer severed ties with Def Jam and is retooling her career and readying her sophomore album. Now 20, Pasian has been in the studio with Grammy-winning producers Needlz and Barry Eastmond, first constructing her EP ‘Trips to Venus,’ and now making new music. The six-track project was initially released last year to commemorate the holiday season, with a cover of Nat King Cole’s ‘The Christmas Song.’ The re-release — due out on Valentine’s Day — will find the Dominican chanteuse covering another legendary artist: Minnie Riperton.

In the midst of promoting the EP, Pasian reveals why she opted to channel Minnie Riperton on the project, what she’s learned since her first label deal, why she won’t be attending the 54th Annual Grammy Awards this year and the reason why she can’t choose between Chris Brown and one lauded soul singer.

Watch Karina Pasian’s ’16 at War’

Where did the title ‘Trips to Venus’ come from?

I literally just had a list of titles that I was brainstorming and that was one of them. I just thought, all the songs are love-based and Venus has to do with love and beauty and stuff. I don’t know where it came from, I just wrote down the title on the list, and that one just stuck out to me.

Of the five original songs on the EP, which means the most to you?

I would say ‘Perfectly Different.’ It was the first song that I wrote on my own. It felt very personal. I just really related to it a lot. When I wrote it, it was like two years ago. In that process I would just sing songs that [other] people would write. When I was signed to Def Jam I was younger too, so I just wanted to get experience and learn a lot. For me to finally just pour out what I was feeling, and I was actually in a relationship at the time — and it was actually what I was feeling at the moment — it meant a lot to me.

What was the inspiration behind covering Nat King Cole’s ‘The Christmas’ song?

I love, love, love, Christmas time. It’s what I really look forward to every year. That song is a classic. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I love jazz. I was like, you know what, I’m gong to put my own spin to it and see what comes out, and I loved it!

Tell me about the re-release of ‘Trips to Venus’ and how will it be different?

Well the re-release should happen Feb. 14. There are going to be probably one or two news songs on there. The version that was out was the holiday edition. [On the re-release] I did [Minnie Riperton's] ‘Loving You’ for a cover.

You were signed to Def Jam when you first came out. What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned about working in the music industry?

I guess just always be prepared for everything. Everything can happen in the blink of an eye, just always be prepared for those moments. Especially in the industry everything is so fast moving, you never know what can happen.

When you released ’16 at War,’ it was opposite of what we were hearing at that time. Where did that maturity come from?

I don’t know [laughs]. Just being so young in the industry and seeing things that not every regular teenager experiences and goes through. Even though I was still going to school, I would see what people were going through around me as well. I guess it just shapes who you are and how you see things. I just really wanted people to get a sense that I wasn’t just like a cookie cutter teeny bopper. I wanted people to take me seriously.

Was there any fear that the song could’ve backfired?

I think I’ve always been really secure. I feel like that will definitely go through in my music, and who I am as a person. There were moments of course where… we really weren’t sure what direction to go [with me] being so young. At the same time that was me taking a stance and showing who I am as an artist, and I feel like it was a pretty good introduction.

How did it feel to have your first album, ‘First Love,’ nominated for a Grammy?

It was amazing! I was actually doing my homework when I found out. It was like, “Oh OK, let me just put my homework away and start celebrating.” I really was surprised, I wasn’t expecting it. I was just so grateful and happy that they gave that to me.

The category that you were in, Best Contemporary R&B Album, will be removed after this year. Chris Brown, El DeBarge, R. Kelly, Ledisi and Kelly Price are all up for that award this year. Who are you rooting for to win?

Wow. Um, that’s pretty tough ’cause I love Chris Brown, I respect him so much as an artist. I think he’s amazing but Ledisi is amazing. I don’t know. I wouldn’t be able to [choose].

Are you going this year?

No, I’m not. I’m going to be working on music, so I can go to it next year!


Watch ‘Flashback: Chris Brown’

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SNTV - Flashback: Chris Brown

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