Karen Staley was born in Weirton, WV, and raised in nearby, rural Hookstown, PA in the Tri-State area of WV, PA, and OH. She is a 30-year veteran of the Nashville music industry and has been involved in virtually every facet of the business from songwriting and performing to touring, recording, and producing. As a recording artist, Karen released two, critically acclaimed, major-label albums: Wildest Dreams on MCA and Fearless on Warner Bros, as well as several indie countries and gospel albums. Karen’s timeless hit songs (“Take Me As I Am” and “Hey Baby, Let’s Go to Vegas” by Faith Hill, “Keeper of the Stars” by T racy Byrd, “On A Night Like This” by Trick Pony , and more) have been played on the radio over 12 million times and counting. Those songs have collectively sold more than 20 million albums, singles, and downloads. Many of Karen’s songs have been nominated for Dove, Grammy, and International Bluegrass Awards. Karen won the prestigious Academy of Country Music (ACM) Song of The Year award with Tracy Byrd’s classic #1 hit, “Keeper of the Stars.” An international wedding favorite year after year, “Keeper of the Stars” is also among Country Music Television’s (CMT) 100 Greatest Country Love Songs of All Time. As a guitar player and background singer, Karen toured with Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Terri Clark, and Russ Taff. Karen is also a sought-after studio session singer and demo producer. She is one of the original mainstays at the Bluebird Café, the now-iconic listening room popularized by the ABC TV show, Nashville. Karen is one of four female pioneers (amidst Grammy-winning artists Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland , and Tricia Walker) of the now very prominent, “In the Round” format for concerts, originating at the Bluebird Café. Karen’s songs have not only been recorded by modern stars like Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Trick Pony, Terri Clark, and Tracy Byrd, but also by icons and legends including George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty , and Brenda Lee.
For nearly a decade, Karen has been actively crafting finely customized corporate ‘keynote concert’ events, often accompanied by her tailor-made celebratory (and sometimes humorous!) company theme songs/anthems. She also excels at facilitating the art of corporate/group team-building through songwriting. Karen engages each client’s organizational team in co-writing, performing, and recording a song about their business, school, or organization, all within an hour! Karen’s unique blend of intuition, empathy, and humor combined with her ease and adaptability to any circumstance is what makes her events so successful. Equipped with an immense talent for songwriting (right on the spot!), all while keeping participants engaged, entertained, and having fun is the reason organizations look to Karen time and again to create new memories, solidifying the message that teamwork is, indeed, what makes their dream work. The reason Karen was drawn to music in the first place was to reach people in some meaningful way. She continues to, quite naturally, endeavor for that intimate connection no matter the setting she presents in. Karen says she feels humbled and blessed to share her talents with so many diverse groups of people from all over the world and looks forward to every new opportunity to share the gift of music and human connection.
“I jokingly call myself the Forest Gump of country music,” laughs Karen, “So often, it really IS just a matter of showing up, heart open, and being willing to say ‘yes’ to new things! One of my favorite mottos is, ‘you were born an original, don’t die a copy,’ and I love imparting examples of that wisdom from my very own life. The power of each person’s individuality, within the framework of humanity (a strong team of people!), cannot be underestimated when it comes to success. It must be embraced!”