Karen Lee Batten has become a staple in the Canadian music industry. We first met her when she was a finalist on Season 1 of Canadian Idol in 2003. She’s back with new music!
Karen is a versatile artist and, if you remember back to the Canadian Idol days, she has a vibrant personality. We had the chance to connect with Karen to talk about her career, and life in general. It was a great conversation and her personalty shone right through interview.
Her latest single “Too Strong” was released at the tail-end of 2020. This song was created just before the pandemic began. Its empowering message of love, strength, and hope has taken on additional meaning now during the pandemic. It’s really great!
Stream “Too Strong” By Karen Lee Batten
An Interview With Karen Lee Batten
Front Porch Music: Thanks so much for joining us on the Front Porch! Why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience – let us know a little about you, where you’re from, and how your music journey started.
Karen Lee Batten: Hey Everyone, my name is Karen Lee Batten. I am from Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
Music for me started when I was about 4, when my mom decided to put me into piano lessons. Realizing pretty quickly that this redhead would never sit still, she pulled me out of that and put me back in at 6, where I successfully stayed until I was 15.
When I was a young girl, I remember watching my Dad in his Christian band named “Assurance,” and thought one day, one day I want to be on a stage like him. So I joined every choir I could and every band – choosing the alto sax as my instrument. This went on all the way to college. After that, I took on random jobs like waitressing and in retail, but finally one day I realized that all that I really wanted to do was be in the music industry, so I quit the other jobs and decided to only take jobs that had me around music, like hosting Karaoke or being a DJ. I recorded the odd thing and got to see some local shows as much as I could.
“Canadian Idol” came in 2003 and the rest is history!
Front Porch Music: Some of us will remember you as a finalist on Canadian Idol! What a wild ride that must have been. When you look back at that experience, what comes to mind?
Karen Lee Batten: To this day, I have lifelong friends from that experience. It was amazing – hard as hell but I would never take it back.
When I think back, it was a really weird world to eat, sleep and breath competition. No on can prepare you for what that feels like, what those days will look like. It taught me that this industry is not all flowers and lights, it is late nights and early mornings. It’s hearing “yes” but then 10 minutes later hearing “no”. It’s feedback that makes you feel higher than life and then comments that make you want to crawl into a hole and cause you to second-guess yourself.
It made me stronger, it made me wiser, it put a lot of thing into perspective in a really short compressed period of time. I am so grateful for the friends I made who made me laugh harder than I probably had ever laughed and to this day, we still root each other on.
Front Porch Music: Congrats on the release of your latest single “Too Strong”! It’s a great song. Tell us about this song – what is the inspiration behind the single?
Karen Lee Batten: Thank you so much!
One thing I love the most about this song is how it wasn’t planned – it happened without being scheduled. It was just some friends chatting about life after a long day. Then someone grabbing a guitar and noodling some stuff and one thing led to another and boom, this song happened.
What’s even cooler is that the initial meaning behind the song turned into two meanings when the world changed. We wrote this song about relationships – about not giving up. Pushing yourself to remember why you are together and telling each other that you are too strong to give up.
When the world changed, everyone felt it. Everyone deals with these new realities differently and everyone has different challenges to work with. It’s not easy, it hasn’t been easy. But we have to be strong because we are too strong.
Front Porch Music: You co-wrote this song with some heavy-hitters like Jeff Johnson, Mitch Merrett, and Chad Kroeger. What was the writing process like?
Karen Lee Batten: What I love so much about writing with these boys is that it’s so super casual, so relaxing, so many laughs and it’s real. It’s real life. Those boys are so unbelievably talented and so creative that it was one of the best writes I have ever been a part of.
Front Porch Music: This year has been interesting, to say the least. What has life been like for you throughout this pandemic? Have you picked up any new hobbies?
Karen Lee Batten: Life has been “weird” – I think that’s probably the best word for it.
It’s like a yo-yo of emotions – some days have been great, quiet, and chill. Then there are those moments of “I miss performing, I miss the stage, live music, I miss booking shows, and watching other bands. I miss seeing my friends and seeing my family and hugging people and going to the movies. I miss having work, making a living.”
But then I also am not one to stay down for long. So with that being said, yes, I did start a hobby! It’s something I have been doing for a while but decided to dive all in when the world changed because I needed to be busy!!
So my company is called “Earthya” and I hand make over 100 organic beauty and household products using the highest quality essential oils. It’s honestly been awesome, thanks for asking!
Front Porch Music: What’s next for you? Do you have more music coming out soon, what can we expect to see from you?
Karen Lee Batten: I do have new music coming!! Mitch and Jeff and I co-wrote the next 2 singles that are coming out and then we have plans for an EP release in the summer of 2021. I am so excited to still be able to release original music during this time. It keeps me excited for the future! 🙂
Thanks so much for joining us Karen! We can’t wait to hear that EP and see what’s next for you.