Karen Fowlie – Musician
A single mom who lives in an old fishing town, Karen Fowlie asked herself what she could do for her changing community. She had run an open microphone jam at the Troller Pub for 3 years, and then became the artistic director at Hugos restaurant for 4 years after that. When the Vancouver North Shore lost two key places to play music in April of 2017, Karen approached the local arts councils to brainstorm with her about creating places for musicians to grow, develop and play the songs they wrote. Karen felt that music gave her not only a sense of belonging, but a feeling of connection with her community. If only she could help create that feeling for others, that would be a great thing.
It had been a long path before arriving at this place. In an old life, Karen completed studies at the University of Calgary for Psychology and Sociology and even spent some time as an Insurance agent. But when she heard the loud call of her dream in her mid twenties, it was time to find the vocation that really made her happy.
Karen’s first band was called “French Kiss the Fortune Teller,”and they gigged extensively around Calgary, Alberta. Karen found herself playing a show at an Amnesty International benefit concert and was moved after seeing ladies from Chile do their national dance, the Cueca. An offer from Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO) was presented to her shortly thereafter and Karen she accepted an offer to teach elementary students in an underfunded school in Santiago. Ten months later Karen returned to Canada. She went to the Royal Conservatory to study guitar and theory, joined the Bach choir and the Philharmonic chorus. A first soprano, Karen’s part in the Carmina Burana was once of her favourite classical parts.
Karen moved to Vancouver, BC in 2004 and released her first solo album called “Pushing the Edge” produced by Dale Penner (Matthew Good Band, Nickelback). Karen performs live frequently, and has been the emcee for the Merritt Summer of Music Festival, and West Vancouver Centennial Stage. She toured BC in 2013/2014 with Fowl Mouth McPhee, played at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and opened for Streetheart in the 2012 Great Canadian Bike Rally. Karen Fowlie Band toured BC in 2011-2012 and her band took the main stage at Great Canadian Bike Rally in 2011, opening for Trooper. And in 2007, Karen sang solo at Mountainfest.
Karen’s recorded works have obtained notable local and national exposure. Songs from “Pushing the Edge” have been added to the “Make a Case Against Racism” CD, the “Thunderstruck 9” extreme snowmobiling DVD, and several songs have been featured in the Province Newspaper Playlist. Consumers of Hevy D popcorn across Canada have downloaded Karen’s songs, and her music represented BC in a Trade Mission to Japan. And of note, Karen was distinguished in receiving a letter of acknowledgement of her original song, “Tell Me” from BC’s Attorney General Wally Oppal.
Karen’s passion for weaving music into the fabric of her community is further evident after a decade of working with youth in the Sea to Sky corridor as a music teacher. Karen now helps create opportunities for artists in her community via the non profit Fowlie and Friends Entertainment Society.