Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman Karen O will take to the stage at this year’s Academy Awards to perform the wonderful ‘The Moon Song’ from the movie ‘Her’. Karen's been a musical visionary for over ten years now, but here's some more reasons why is Karen O is the coolest Oscar nominee.
Karen O, rock's most colourful frontwoman
She's rocks most daring frontwoman
Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen Orzolek was born in South Korea to her Korean mother and Polish father, eventually the family settled in the United States, specifically New Jersey where Karen grew up. After studying New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Karen formed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase and set off becoming rocks coolest front woman. The band released a self titled EP in 2001 which was followed up by their debut album ‘Fever to Tell’ in 2003. As the Yeah Yeah Yeahs achieved success Karen became immediately considered rock’s finest new front woman. As a vocalist she could unleash rabid punk rock screams, as heard on ‘Art Star’ or tackle much more tender moments like ‘Maps’. Karen also became known as a fearless onstage performer who combined a daring punk rock sensibility with her own unique sexuality that captured rock audiences across the globe.
Fashion's most unique icon
In 2001 Karen met fashion designer Christian Joy and began wearing her designs onstage. Karen was soon held up as a fearless fashion icon who wasn't afraid to mix clashing prints, creating a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns. She’s done everything from team trainers with a dress, champion bright neons and even looks amazing in unforgiving spandex, becoming New York’s queen of arty fashion. She’s also famous for her trademark hair which began as a black fringed bob and has since been mid length and even more recently blonde. Still Karen’s hair and image remain unique as she refuses to follow any trends or fashion fads.
Karen O and her famous bowl haircut
Opera's most daring newcomer
Karen’s creativity doesn't just push the boundaries of fashion. In 2007 she began conceiving ‘Stop the Virgens’ which she’s described as a ‘psycho-opera’. The collection of songs was staged as an indie avant grade opera and play in New York before moving to the Sydney Opera House. The semi autobiographical work has been descirbed as a 'psychedelic myth' and featured 13 piece musical accompaniment including her Yeah Yeah Yeahs band mates and the Beastie Boys priducer Money Mark.
A visual visionary
Director O’s vision also stretches to the video medium where she has worked behind the camera directing videos for "the Liars and Foetus. She also directed the 2006 Yeah Yeah Yeahs' video for ‘Cheated Hearts’. Her biggest directorial endeavour was working alongside her partner Barney Clay on the video for ‘Hologram World’ by Tiny Masters of Today. She also contributed backing vocals to the song as well as choreographing the video.
A sublime soundtrack collaborator
Karen’s first venture into the world of soundtracks was featuring on Har Mar Superstar’s song ‘Cut Me Up' for the House of Wax soundtrack. She would then collaborate with Peaches and Johnny Knoxville to record ‘Backass’ for the Jackass 3D movie soundtrack. Her song "Strange Love" appeared on an album of songs inspired by Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ accompanying the film's release. Her most acclaimed soundtrack work however has been with former boyfriend Spike Jonze, Karen O composed the soundtrack for his 2009 film Where the Wild Things Are and performed it as "Karen O and the Kids”. The song ‘All is Love’ which she wrote with her Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmate Nick Zinner was nominated for the "Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" in 2010. Now Karen is receiving perhaps her biggest accolade yet, an Academy Award nomination for ‘The Moon Song’ from Jonze’s ‘movie Her’.There is no doubt that Karen is long overdue some major mainstream recognition, but whether or not she wins the Oscar, she is undoubedly the most compelling and creative woman working in music today.
Watch the trailer for 'Her':