Music Review – Clouds by Karen Hardy

Layla Dorine
Layla Dorine 7 Min Read

19-year-old singer-songwriter Karen Hardy is releasing her debut EP on June 30th, 2017, featuring five new original songs that she dreamed up in her bedroom. Her sound is that of the pop genre, with soulful vocals.

This EP is a representation of the past four years of her life, spent growing up in New Jersey, before she moves to Nashville in the fall to focus on her songwriting. Her EP release show will be on July 1, 2017, at La Crepe French bakery in her hometown of East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Karen has always had an affinity for music, growing up listening to classics like The Beatles and Carole King. She was, in part, inspired by her grandfather, who was a trained opera singer. At 16 years old, Karen decided to leave public high school to pursue a diploma online, in order to spend more time with the craft she loves.

This summer, Karen will be playing in the New Jersey and New York area at train stations (specifically Hoboken, Secaucus, Union) and local coffee shops to grow her fan base. Her songs will also be playing on local college radios following the release of her EP.


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It’s not very often that I’m excited and captivated right from the first initial note, but when I hit play on the SoundCloud and Clouds began to fill my living room, I was hooked. The piano playing was beautiful, but when the beat kicked in and the tempo really picked up, it added an even deeper dynamic to the song. I could move to this, I could close my eyes and get sucked into this, but I could also edit to this music and work in the garden or in my kitchen. Karen’s voice is soulful and sweet, with beautiful range and a crisp pureness to it that reverberated through my soul as I listened.

“I could never be enough you wouldn’t let me in, not even once, and I gave it all that I have to fix this man. You say my name like you know who I am, now, sunken me deep in the cold ground, I’m sorry the world can’t give you all you need, now you fought the world all alone, as you think it has something to owe you, and you’ll be remembered as the lonely man. Just because you’ve lived your strife, doesn’t mean that I’ve lived a perfect life. You think you know everything I have to give….”

The lyrics of the lonely man. Wow. Of all of the songs, this was the one I connected with the most, this was the one I could connect to the characters in my own writing and pull emotion from. I felt like Karen was sharing a deep level of pain and disappointment through the words, and in doing so, I feel like the song would connect to anyone who’d ever felt like they tried to save someone they loved only to be shoved away. There is such passion, such sadness in the music, not just in the acoustic guitar playing either, but in the delivery.

I felt like I could listen to her sing for days. Her delivery is clear, never muddled by too much or too many additions. Rather than being busy, the stripped-down delivery allowed me, as a listener, to connect with the storytelling, mostly because I could listen to the lyrics without having to strain to make them out. There is a lot of heartbreak going on, lots of pain and hurt, emotional pieces of music with a soft beat that make singing along so easy.

I am eager to see what Karen follows the Clouds EP with. To know that she’s just 19, with pipes like that, able to not only hit the high notes but have some soul mixed in with her delivery, makes me excited for her future as a singer/songwriter.

Among her influences, Karen lists Carol King, Etta James and Beyonce, and I must say, I could certainly detect those influences presence in her work. I was so enthralled I went to Karen’s youtube channel and I listened to her cover of Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, that she performed with Kim Boyko, and wow, just wow. Castle on the Hill is quickly becoming one of my favorite songs anyway, and I was absolutely blown away by the passionate delivery and how well they handled the harmonies and sheer emotion in the song. Of course, I couldn’t resist adding it to my playlist and then going on to listen to her cover of B.B. King’s Stand By Me.

Talk about doing a cover justice. Karen rocked it out. high and sweet in places, lower and pleading in others, with a tiny country lilt at times and a whole lot of soul, even doing songs that aren’t her own she lets her enthusiasm and joy of music show. It is an easy, easy thing to say hey, anybody reading this, go give her music a listen. I doubt you will have reason to be disappointed.


Rating Tag: Soulful, Chilling, Hauntingly Melodic


Track Specific (0 to 5)

Clouds…. 5

The Lonely Man….5

When you ran away with her….5

If you knew….5


Overall Album 5

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LaylaDorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places. Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.