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Interview with Karen Wolfe


Denise LaSalle is the Queen Of Soul/Blues music so there's nothing like learning the ropes from the Queen herself and that's what this exceptionally strong singer has done on her debut, "First Time Out". After spending the majority of her life singing Gospel Karen Wolfe backed the Queen for years both on the road and in the studio and has matured to be her own frontwoman.

Karen was born August 14th 1959 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Her career began when she was fifteen, singing in a Gospel quartet called "The Harmonettes". This aggregation recorded a CD entitled "Stop By Here". They changed their name to Direction and cut a second CD, "God Don't Make Mistakes". Soon after the group disbanded and Karen, recently married to a relative of Denise LaSalle, began singing with Lasalle's group commencing in 1997. LaSalle's road manager Anna Neal-Chow and her husband Bill Coday decided to sponsor Wolfe on the newly formed label, B & J Records and she's already making noise with her firs single "Back Door Love Affair"

Blues Critic Online took the opportunity to interview the upstart soon after the record's release.

The Interview

BC = Blues Critic

Karen = Karen Wolfe

Karen Wolfe "first Time Out"

BC = Your New CD is called "First Time Out" and I guess that's self-explanatory but you've been performing for years, right?

Karen = Yeah I have. I have been with Denise LaSalle with for ten years now and Gospel. I've done background vocals on Denise albums too.

BC = Speaking Of Denise. It appears she wrote a couple songs for your new album ("Unlovable Habits", "What Kind Of Man Is This"). But you wrote "Grown Ass Man". So, what's the motivation for that?

Karen = (Laughs). Well, Actually there was not a big motivation for that. Just needing material for the album and I thought about us women so I had to have something for us women. I know women would relate to this whether it be mothers, wives or girlfriends they would relate since this world is like 98% women (laughs).

BC = And have you noticed a response?

Karen = Yeah I've had a very good response. That particular song has gotten a very good response. The whole CD has got great reviews. Better than I expected. I am my own worst critic and actually it's turned out better than I had imagined.

BC = The liner notes says "all music by James Jackson".

Karen = Yeah that is my producer and he also the keyboardist for Denise. I guess he's been with her for quite a while now.

BC = How old were you when you got the music bug?

 Karen at 22 with daughter

Karen = When I was about fifteen. My father sings and I used to follow him around. he sang Gospel and I started my own Gospel group. me and my sister had a quartet. I did Gospel for 28 years. But singing for Denise got me thinking 'I could do this and you know I like singing. It's like Dr. Jekyl and Ms. Hyde when you're on stage.

BC = The track that seems to be jumping out is "Backdoor Love Affair"

Karen = That one is requested a lot. James Smith, who wrote "Plumber Man" and other songs wrote that one and the Denise songs she also cut for her own CD and I asked her to do those songs.

(editor's note: "Unlovable Habits" and "What Kind Of Man Is This" first appeared on LaSalle's "This Real Woman" album)

BC = So when you were performing those songs about "unlovable habits" in the studio was there any man you were thinking of?

Karen = (laughs) Ummm..I'm gonna stay on the safe side!

BC = What are your plans now?

Karen = I'm looking forward to going on the road and do gigs. You know just enjoying myself. Taking this CD to it's highest potential. I love the road. And my producer called the other day and we're already gonna go back in the studio and work on the next one.




(C) 2018. All written material found on this website is the property of Blues Critic and may only be used with permission and full accreditation (either "Blues Critic" or "Dylann DeAnna of Blues Critic") and link to this website.