Kara Coen is one of the most exciting new female soul artists of the south east.
The Australian singer/songwriter plays a unique fusion of blues and roots, smooth Jazz and pop.
With intoxicating vocals and compelling lyrics; she composes her music on guitar and piano.
She has been called a modern Aretha, compared to Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Sarah Blasko.
A dynamic, power house voice, with lyrics straight from the heart.
She is working on her debut album of original songs and gearing up for her first Australian tour with her new band The FireFlies.
Kara studied at The Australian Institute of Music, where she majored in Vocals and composition.
Kara has been composing on guitar and piano and crafting lyrics since she was 14.
She honed her song writing in the old Quaama hall, where she discovered her sound on a borrowed guitar and the keys of the community piano.
Kara writes songs from deep within her soul, she says that “on stage I am in my most vulnerable space, I open up my soul and let the audience inside my head.”
In the last few years the singer has also started to write music in a second language, taking audiences on a journey of catchy vocal melodies and captivating stories in both English and Spanish.
Kara started in the music industry at the age of 15, playing local open mics, festivals and competitions.
Working with Pol oshea, Ken Vatcher and John Mcviety; she recorded and released her first EP at 17.
The songwriters single “I’m so damn happy for you” was played on ABC radio (available on YouTube, click on song title to listen now)
The talented young artist was forced to take a hiatus from her budding musical career after she was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis. **(please see end of bio for important note)
Whilst no longer performing live, Kara continued to write music, building a huge repertoire of original songs and covers. She continued to play and volunteer as a sound tech for community events.
Kara also began working as a visual artist and was one the first Ambassador’s for Endometriosis Australia for her work as an awareness campaigner.
In 2017 she began to rekindle her music career, successfully auditioning for the Australian institute of Music and beginning a Bachelor of contemporary Music in Melbourne.
Returning to her home town of Quaama in 2019 and after enduring the devastating bushfires; she decided to base herself on the coast to help rebuild her family home and be part of the south east music community.
Kara is now building her own studio and working with her band The FireFlies on their first EP and tour. They released the first single Feminine Energy - a song about the power of vulnerability and triumph over adversity, on August 12, 2023.
She has put together four riveting shows of her original music and ‘like a version’ covers which she is taking around the south coast.
Along with her solo show, over 2023 Kara has worked on two duo collaborations, one with saxophonist and pianist Casey Greene and another with her lead guitarist Sats Kramer.
She and her band have also put together a up beat, exciting and sensual show, full of colour and theatrics which they debuted at the Cobargo Folk Festival in March. In June they were invited to play the WinterSun Festival and also supported Sydney band On The Stoop at The Murrah. Most recently in July the Kara Coen & The FireFlies headlined a Rural Fire Service fundraiser at Navigate Arts.
The popular singer is a regular guest with both her solo and duo shows at many south east venues including; Tilba Valley Winery and Ale House, Camel Rock Brewery Bar and Grill, Hotel Australasia, The Oyster Farmers Daughter and many more.
Kara was a competitor in the 2022 Australian Busking Championships, where she received the Michael Cookie award and was runner up in the open age category.
Over 2022 Kara acted as a support act to number of Australian and International artists. April saw her supporting touring Uruguayan artist Felipe Baldomir and popular Australian singer songwriter Austin Mackay on the “Everything is Fine” Australian 2022 tour.
She then was asked to support Tex Perkins and Matt Walker for two shows in November at Milton Theatre and Tilba Valley Winery.
More recently in 2023 she has supported South East artist, Sam Stevenson in April at Florabel Eden and Australian blues band, The Sunbears in May at The Kinema, Narooma.
Kara is also a talented visual artist. When she’s not writing and performing her music she can be found at her easel.
She paints highly detailed Australian flora and fauna, specialising in the native bird life that surrounds her studio.
She works in mixed mediums; ink, kuretake watercolour, charcoal and pastels.
Kara’s created a new sound with her FireFlies; the talented group of multi instrumentalists; Sats Kramer, Ashley Welsh and Saul Nightingale. A delicious collection of smooth, sensual love songs and funky up beat soul tunes, this singer and her amazing band will get your body moving and set your heart afire.
Sats Kramer - Electric Guitar / Backing Vocals
Sats has a lifetime of working in the music and arts industry. A successful photographer, film producer and multi instrumentalist musician in multiple bands including Howlin’Mitch and the Habaneros, Michael Menager Trio and now with Kara Coen & the FireFlies.
He also does integral work in mentoring, advising and promoting south east musicians with his current role at Creative Plus Business and his recent role with Music NSW.
Ashley Welsh-Jones - Drums
Ashley has been performing on the far south coast for over 6 years with multiple bands and artists. Her passion for music and drumming started early in high school and has quickly evolved as she is now seen regularly playing with many local artists including Howlin' Mitch, Kara Coen and Richard Cooke.
Saul Nightingale - Bass
Saul Nightingale is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, producer, songwriter, and teacher. Immersed in music since he was 13, a glimpse of Saul’s musical journey has seen him: Tour the U.S.A. with Elia Bel; perform at Sydney’s The State Theatre with Krune and regularly toured NSW with Swell.
Saul also performed on live TV with The Strangersfeature in the finalists of the Music Oz Awards with Hi-Fi Reactor.
Since moving to Bermagui in 2008 Saul has recorded and performed extensively with All at Sea; The Sweet Valentinos; World Fair; TheBristol Chart; Oil Panic; and BattleBird.
Kara has been called a modern Aretha, compared to Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Sarah Blasko.
A dynamic, power house voice, with a message of love, empowerment and inclusion.
She and the band can’t wait to finish the rest of the EP and get on the road and share the message of big love energy.
PERSONAL NOTE FROM KARA : “I was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis at 22 (a disease where endometrium like tissue grows outside the uterus in the pelvis and on and inside pelvic organs, it can also spread to nerves, the lungs and other areas - it affects 1in 9 women and female indentified at birth people and is responsible for over 30% of infertility) because of my late diagnosis, and the aggressive nature and spread of my disease; I live with daily, constant and chronic pelvic pain.
I have had six surgeries for endometriosis in the past ten years, along with multiple aggressive medications, including five rounds of breast cancer style treatment of chemically induced menopause drug.
I gave up having children and had a hysterectomy for adenomyosis (endometriosis of the uterus) at 29 to help alleviate some of my symptoms.
Unfortunately endometriosis had already spread into and around most of my pelvic organs and I will need further semi regular surgery for the foreseeable future.
During the time I was being diagnosed, I also entered into what ended up being a decade long relationship where I was the victim/survivor of DV.
This put huge walls in the way of continuing my music career.
Escaping that relationship and learning to live with chronic pain has lead to a large gap in my professional music experience.
The south east Australian music scene has been like a great enfolding set of many arms that have lifted me up and enabled me to follow a dream I had nearly given up on.
Especially my two friends and mentors Sats Kramer and Jacqui Howarth.
There is a reason I write the way I do, about empowerment and vulnerability and all that lies in between.
I’m writing for all those who can’t yet find their voices. I’m writing for hope, for change, for the next gen.
Some powerful words from an Afghan feminist poet I heard recently and that I now try to live by - USE THE THREAD OF YOUR WORDS TO SEW THE FLAG OF REBELLION…”
Kara Coen Quick facts
Compared to Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, a modern day Aretha Franklin.
Support act for The Sunbears - The Kinema 2023
Support act for Tex Perkins and Matt Walker; Milton Theatre and Tilba Winery Nov 2022
Majored in vocals and composition at the Australian Institute of Music
Supported Felipe Baldomir and Austin Mackay on Australian 2022 Tour
ABC Radio play for early release “I’m so damn happy for you”
Finalist in Regional Busking Championships Cooma 2022
Featured on compilation album “High Heels in the Woodheap”
Creating EP with input from producers/musicians Sats Kramer & Ashley Welsh Jones
Headline act for Creme de La Femme 2022 - Bend and Sip Bar Narooma
Endometriosis Awareness campaigner
Social Media Handles and Contacts
Email email@example.com MEMBER OF APRA/AMCOS
“Wow, what a voice. A modern take on the power of Aretha and Nina. Add to that elements of Amy Winehouse and Sarah Blasko and you have a complete package. Crafted stories that will take you on a journey" Sats Kramer, Regional Music Officer - MusicNSW
“Fantastic Voice” Allan Spencer -Organiser Australian National Busking Championship.
“Great Musician. Put on an amazing performance at our restaurant for date night.” Starfish, Batemans Bay
“Kara’s passion and creativity shine through when her mouth opens. She blew our socks off. A real crowd pleaser, ever the professional and a very cool lady” Adam Barrett - Entertainment Manager, Bermagui Country Club