Kara Ann Marie is one of those artists that seeks to inspire. With her partner Joshua Luke Smith, she created indie music label Orphan No More with the goal to shine a light of hope through the chaos that is life. Kara’s new EP Keeping On draws on her experience and training as a counsellor; the singer herself explaining that “these songs are what I needed to hear, personally, to walk through each season over the last few years. They profess both my belief and lack of it during times of loss, fulfillment and everywhere in between.” With this in mind, the EP could not only be a musical work, but a helpful tool for those experiencing hardships.
The title track, Keeping On begins with beautiful harmonic ‘ohs’ and soft guitar chords that progress into a powerfully spoken verse. I particularly enjoyed the melody on the lyrics ‘still waters’ and was impressed when Kara nailed the leap from a low note to a high note. Royalty was an excellent summation of the singer’s style, featuring the guitar and two vocals lines it was simple and honest. The tempo was slowed down for Walk Slow and had very little music to back up the vocal line at the beginning. It reminded me of those emotional moments in film narratives where the main character is separated from a loved one and stares longingly out of a window watching the rain. I Like The Way was a more upbeat track but also much more confusing. The vocals overpowered the music at its introduction and it was difficult to find the beat until percussion made it apparent. This could have easily been fixed by taking away the chorus of voices and just having Kara sing the melody.
I think it’s commendable the way Kara Ann Marie has amalgamated her two passions to make something that is both creative and therapeutic. With more work on her musical arrangements she could heighten the emotional connection her audience has with her music even further. I give the EP 8/10.