Karen Lyu is a sought-after Korean-American holistic voice expert and an award-winning jazz vocalist/songwriter/actor. Karen is a certified New Science of Singing Voice Teacher, a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), a member of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association (VASTA), and an eHow voice expert. In Minneapolis, MN, she was known as Voice Department Head and Executive Director of the legendary West Bank School of Music. Due to her love of jazz, she earned a BSS in Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance from Cornell College in 1993. Karen’s awards include a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and a MusiCares/Grammy Foundation grant. Her fun, compassionate, concise, and results-focused voice trainings for all ages have been offered in the US and in South Korea at venues such as West Bank School of Music, Korea Improv Theater, Tennessee Language Center, One World Festival, Doosan Corporation, and online since 1997. She loves exploring new technology and magic solutions!
Have you ever been frustrated by your voice? Do you cringe when you hear your voice -- like when you hear a recording of yourself? Do people make fun of your voice?
That used to be Karen Lyu years ago!
This is her now - click here! Karen is the #1 Jazz Artist in Korea on Reverbnation!
Karen's passion for singing, and struggle with her own voice, have led her to over a dozen voice instructors — including Roberta Davis (Berklee School of Music) and Dr. Oren Brown (Juilliard), researching various methods — including Seth Riggs' Speech Level Singing and Dr. Morton Cooper's ("The Voice Doctor") and voiceover training with Don Cosgrove (The Talent Center), various holistic health workers, and 24 years of voice coaching. Due to her love for jazz, she earned a BSS in Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance from Cornell College in 1993. She is also a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). As an actor, she has studied with a number of actor-trainers including T'Keyah Crystal Keymah (In Living Color) and Alan Dysert (Young and the Restless), and has also been a Seoul City Improv member since 2016. Among dozens of trainings, she has earned John Henny's New Science of Singing voice instructor certification, Peter Sage's 6-month Elite Mentorship Forum personal development certification, Jim Kwik's Superbrain certification, and she is currently doing Elise Arsenault's The Great Audiobook Adventure program. She is always learning something new! :)
Because of her research and experience, Karen has been recognized as a holistic voice expert by eHow.com, CityPages, StarTribune, Asian American Press, and more. Karen has earned Continuing Education Accreditation Program certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), and the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (TNAOC) for her "How to Protect Your Voice" Zoom and in-person workshops. Additionally, she is currently Facilitator of the Female Entrepreneur Music Academy Songwriters, Treasurer of North River Toastmasters Club, and was once a judge for the Hmong Idol USA national singing competition.
Karen loves to share what she's learned, and has inspired over 900 students to improve their voices ~ up to 36 students per week in Minnesota. Karen has helped absolute beginners to advanced singers, speakers and actors, from students age 8 to 80, since 1997. She started singing professionally in 1993, and has explored all kinds of voice solutions since 1989.
In addition, Karen has offered group learning experiences for various topics, such as "How to Protect Your Voice", "If You Can Speak, You Can Sing", "News Anchor English", and "Empower Your Voice for Women" at West Bank School of Music, Korea Improv Theater, Tennessee Language Center, Dreamland Arts, Walker Community Church, Earth Mother Mind Jam, One World Festival, Doosan Corporation, Toray Corporation, Yoons School of English, on Zoom, and by teleconference.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Karen grew up with her hard-working immigrant family (Mom was a registered nurse and Dad was an acupuncturist) in California, Texas, and Minnesota. She then got her Jazz Studies degree in Vocal Performance at Cornell College in Iowa, and also lived in Nashville, Tennessee. She now enjoys being an expat back in Seoul, South Korea, and has been fortunate to perform in the US, South Korea, Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Brazil.
An award-winning artist, Karen is a current member of Karen Lyu Jazz Experience, the Yoo and Karen Jazz Duo, and Karen Lyu Swing Quartet. She has also been fortunate to be a member of Karen Lyu & Fresh Jazz, the Ben and Karen Duo, Pacha Mamas, Karen Lyu & Global Jazz, Morris Wilson Band, Via Brasil, Bomba, Karen Lyu Quartet, Robert Robinson's Minneapolis Community College Gospel Choir, Jazz Transit, Eddie Piccard Trio, and also has sung as a solo vocalist since 1993. Her singing has been featured on National Public Radio, documentary film, TV, radio, cable, and on all kinds of stages. She has 3 of her own recordings - Karen Lyu Jazz Experience, Karen Lyu & Fresh Jazz, Karen Lyu & Global Jazz Live - and also has recorded with a number of other artists, groups and compilations over the years.
As an actor, she has experience acting in diverse roles for film, musical theater, plays, DVD, and online video (www.backstage.com/u/karenlyu). Her voiceover experience includes voiceover projects for Hyundai, Arirang TV, KFAI-FM radio, and more. As a director/producer/writer/actor, Karen, and her talented, international Jasmine Productions cast and crew, created a crowd-pleasing, inspiring and hilarious original dramedy short film: Stranger Angels!
Karen has won a bunch of honors, including... In 2010, she received a NashvilleMuse.com songwriting award and a MusiCares/Grammy Foundation emergency grant. In 2007, Karen won another 2 awards. A Minnesota State Arts Board cultural collaboration grant was given to Karen and to Maryam Yusefzadeh to create and produce an original musical called "Memories and Media Myths of Iran and North Korea" - which received a standing ovation. Also, in 2006, she received a nomination for Best Arts Article at the National Ethnic Media Awards, as an arts/features writer for Asian American Press newspaper in St. Paul, MN. In 1995, she won a Dayton's Department Store Emerging Artist Photography Grant.
WEST BANK SCHOOL OF MUSIC
In Minnesota, Karen became known for her 5 years at the historic West Bank School of Music as the head voice instructor, and for also becoming a board member, then board chair, then Executive Director within 2 years. in 2004. At that time, there were 30 faculty members and over 500 music students a year. She was honored to serve as the Executive Director for 2 years and to help save the beloved, legendary community music school from closing.
KIDS / ENGLISH
As with adults, Karen loves to motivate kids with fun and growth, innovation and compassion! She earned TESOL certification with ACTDEC Distinction Honors in 2012, and has enjoyed 10 years as a part-time English teacher and tutor for all ages. She also has experience with 1 English camp in Malaysia and 2 in Korea, reading and math tutoring with ClubZ in TN for special needs kids for 2 years, as a musical director for 5 children's musicals in MN, as a choir director for 2 kids choirs - Academia Cesar Chavez + Children's Center Montessori in MN, as a SteppingStone Theater roster artist for Girl Scouts, Adventure Bay, Minneapolis Public Schools, and more, and also as an independent artist-in-residence and afterschool programs teacher for 3 Minneapolis Public Schools.