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Karen Fowlie is an award winning singer songwriter with deep musical roots in her community. Fowlie and her band entertain audiences with melodic songs about Western Canadian life and have opened concerts for the bands Trooper and Streetheart. "Sparkly Alt. Country" is how reporter Scott Neufeild (North Shore Outlook/North Shore News) categorized Fowlie’s sound. Influenced by musical greats (Heart, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Jann Arden, Joni Mitchell, Carrie Underwood and more) Fowlie writes songs people can easily relate to.
Karen’s first solo release is called "Pushing the Edge”(2007). It’s an exciting Alt. Country/Rock collection of songs which delve down deep into human emotion and emerge with what’s best at hand.
“Karen Fowlie's homage to athletes might inspire us all."
- Tom Harrison (Vancouver Province newspaper).
Fowlie worked with producer Dale Penner (Nickelback/Holly McNarland/Matthew Good Band). She recorded seven original songs as well as cover songs by Tariq Hussein (CBC 3 Radio)/Chris Burke Gaffney, Russell Broom (Jann Arden) and Jefferson Airplane. John Lefebvre was the album’s executive producer.
Karen also created four-part string accompaniments for several songs on the album. Writing and singing harmonies comes easy for Karen from the years she studied French Horn, a harmony instrument. She is also classically trained in guitar (Royal Conservatory) and was also a vocalist with the Vancouver Bach Choir/Calgary Philharmonic Chorus.
Songs from Pushing the Edge were added to the “Make a Case Against Racism” CD, “Thunderstruck 9” extreme snowmobiling DVD and songs were featured in the Province Newspaper Playlist. Karen’s songs also represented BC in a trade mission to Japan.
Fowlie was later distinguished by BC’s Attorney General Wally Oppal when he acknowledged “Tell Me”, a song about overcoming bullying.
“When now or never comes way back when / and the old ones can see it to the end / they know when it’s the time to make a change.” - Excerpt from"Tell Me" Lyrics
In 2007, Karen became a mother. She toured around the Province with her little one and promoted her new album. She performed at festivals like Mountainfest (Merritt, British Columbia), The Great Canadian Bike Rally and opened shows for headlining bands Trooper and Streetheart.
After that flurry of activity, Karen took some time off to raise her son. Though she visited the recording studio less frequently in those years, Karen still performed regularly and hosted weekly jams from 2007-2018. She was inspired by the calibre of local talent and would later go on to create performance opportunities to help musicians.
In 2016 Karen teamed up with friends Christie McPhee and Tammy Weymouth and the trio entertained audiences for a beautiful time. The three part harmony ensemble was named, “Fowl Mouth McPhee” by Merritt’s (former) mayor Susan Roline and the ladies would bring crowds of people “up” with their on-stage antics.
The Fowlie and Friends Entertainment Society (FFES) was founded in 2016 by Karen, playwrite Clive Scarff and a forward thinking board of directors who wanted to grow the local arts scene.
They created numerous local Variety Shows featuring a wealth of musicians, comedians and actors. A large Canada Day concert was hosted in Horseshoe Bay as a tribute to Canadian women in music.
“I was overjoyed to receive a note of support from Sarah McLachlan”, Karen says "and honoured that she offered her words for our event.”
It’s a thrill to play on a large stage and artists need a chance to learn how to best poise themselves in the space. This became Karen’s next undertaking and she spoke to the FFES board about creating opportunities for emerging artists to hone their stage skills.
The team would later partner with the Kay Meek Centre for the Performing Arts and Fowlie hosted four open mic jams there.
Karen’s interest in theatre grew after her Kay Meek experience so Fowlie took on a new challenge. In 2017 she would write, produce and perform in a Christmas musical. The hour long musical had 14 people in the cast and was performed at the Kay Meek.
All in all, over 100 musicians took part in the events Karen and the Fowlie and Friends Entertainment Society envisioned from 2017-2018.
Late in 2018, Karen was presented with the West Vancouver Arts and Culture Award for the impact she made in the community.
With the rising encouragement from her last endeavours under her belt, Karen felt that it was time to return to song writing and recording. Dear friend and bassist Terri Breeze took the time to dream big with Karen and the two began to work together in the recording studio.
Of the breadth of skills Terri possesses, she is highly skilled at audio and video engineering. With Karen’s songs and vision, the group set to task.
Terri engineered the music recording of “Oh Holy Night” when the group performed live at Caulfield Cove Hall. “A Caulfeild Cove Christmas” came out (Dec 2018) featuring the live track as well as two of Karen’s other original songs “Christmas is Tomorrow” and “Fly”.
"This song ["Fly"] rocks! and so do you! The guitar is like wind blowing with your voice angelically swooping through my mind as I close my eyes. Heck yes, heck yes. One word- beautiful.
Thank you for that. " JB (Fan)
Karen could feel tensions within with different ethnic groups in her community and she began to communicate about using music as a way to bring people together locally.
In February of 2019, Karen, Terri and Mike Hurst (piano) took part in a televised broadcast to China. Karen sang “TheMoon Represents My Heart” in Mandarin at Richmond’s Chinese New Year celebration. It was intended as a tribute and an act of friendship to the Chinese people in Karen’s community.
A recording of “The Moon Represents My Heart” was later released June 1st of 2019.
Television talk show host Eileen Fong invited Karen to be her special guest on “Leisure Talk” talk show. Being a single parent herself, Karen had empathy for immigrants who were left by partners to raise children so the other could return to their country of origin to procure income. Karen hoped “The Moon Represents My Heart” would encourage continued hope in those who felt alone.
Some of Karen’s musical friendships also continued to grow and in Spring of 2019, Karen invited three musicians to work closely with her. The band became known as “Karen Fowlie – the Originals”. The name was chosen to differentiate the project and band’s music from the cover music they had often played in the community.
Terri Breeze, Owen Thomas and Mal Temple all met at one of Karen’s open mic jams and had been playing in the local circuit. Owen brought a traditional country guitar tone to the group, while Terri‘s progressive rock bass lines and Mal’s dynamic drumming created a unique Westcoast sound accompanying Karen’s songs.
Besides regular engagements in local establishments, the group performed in several festivals including the Harmony Arts Festival and BC Country Music Association Awards kickoff party.
With all of these experiences under her belt, Karen’s songwriting shifted. Her songs became warmer and perhaps a bit more family oriented. You can really hear the shift in “Home”, Fowlie’s next release.
“Home” came out on April 17, 2020 at the outset of the Covid pandemic. Karen hoped the song would help keep people’s spirits up.
"It's the place where love lingers on / when you feel your hope is gone / it's the place of you and me / this home is built from memories.” (Lyric from “Home”)
It wasn’t long after the release when Karen put a call out for photos and memories of her West Vancouver village for an instrumental version of “Home”. Local historian Chris Adshead saw the call, offered to collaborate with Fowlie and they set to work to create a historical music video. While the group were working on the project, Karen released "Cherry Blossoms"June 26, 2020.
In “Cherry Blossoms” Karen writes about how people fall in love.
"Do you meet a stranger / know that there's no danger / because destiny attracts you and it's love at first sight? Or are you together for a reason / like money, age a season / or do you give your love away / like blossoms in the breeze?"
Karen is thankful to have received a grant from Creative BC and the Province of BC in support of her songwriting. "Cherry Blossoms" is one of two songs that Fowlie wrote for the grant.
That was only a few days before Canada Day. Chris and Karen launched the music video“A tribute to Horseshoe Bay – Then and Now” on Youtube July 1, 2020. Fowlie released an instrumental version of her song “Home” that day as well. The video celebrates the changing face of Horseshoe Bay and had hundreds of hits in its first few hours posted.
These days, Karen, Terri and the band have been preparing for a live concert online. There are an incredible number of moving parts when combining live audio / video for an online concert and Terri has taken on the engineering challenge. In this upcoming show, you’ll see Karen, Terri, Owen, Mal and Mike as they perform six songs live to you in your living room.
The online concert date will be announced soon! Please check back to this site for more information.
. Karen is excited to connect with friends and fans. You can follow her on social media and stream songs for free on Spotify:
“You’ve got to hear this girl’s voice!”
– CFUV Radio Victoria
"Karen Fowlie brings a genuine warmth and vitality to her stage presence...engaging audiences with a generous mix of positive vibe along with her infectious energy..."
- B. J. Doyle, Coast Reporter Newspaper