Born in Shillong, India in the foothills of the Himalayas, Karen David was raised in Toronto and came of age in the UK. At 17 she won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz and gospel. It was here she discovered a flair for songwriting and a love for drama, which led her to study at the Guildford School of Acting in London. It wasn’t long after finishing drama school that she landed her first acting role in the original stage cast of the London West End musical Mamma Mia!
Her talent as a singer and all-around performer led her to sign a record deal with BMG Europe, generating the 2003 single “It’s Me (You’re Talking To),” which became a Top Ten hit in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as well as BMG’s fourth highest airplay hit for a debut artist. Soon after, she was discovered by composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) who, impressed by her talents, invited David to help develop the soundtrack for the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. They subsequently created the theme tune for the British drama “Provoked,” in which David had a supporting role.
Unquestionably, it is her acting work in television that has earned Karen David the majority of her diehard fans in the UK and America. In the BBC’s BAFTA-nominated “Waterloo Road” she played Francesca Montoya, a teacher who fell in love with a student. The storyline generated plenty of controversy, and more and more admirers fell for her compelling performance, with the series generating over nine million viewers per episode.
Her film career began with a supporting co-lead role as a member of an R&B band in the UK cult hit, “Bollywood Queen” with James McAvoy, leading to a supporting role in Batman Begins, a co- leading role in The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, and notable performances in the Vince Vaughan comedy, “Couples Retreat”, and in the Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro drama, “Red Lights.” More recently she portrayed a tough FBI agent in the blockbuster, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, and part of a dysfunctional family in the acclaimed British comedy romance Amar Akbar & Tony.
On the musical front, Karen David is continually refining her passion for writing and recording “feel-good, indie-girl pop with a twist.” In the wake of her hit 2003 single, “It’s Me (You’re Talking To),” she released her first two EPs, The Live Sessions EP (2008) and Magic Carpet Ride (2009), followed by the 2010 single “Hypnotize” and three mixes. She shepherded the 2013 EP Dust to Stars, collaborating with such established songwriter/producers as Stefan Skarbek (Amy Winehouse), Carl Ryden (David Guetta, Nabiha, Cher, The Saturdays, Booty Luv), Boots Ottestad (Robbie Williams, Andy Grammer), Adam Argyle & Martin Brammer (Will Young, Newton Falkner, Olly Murs). She is back in the studio recording a new EP.
Karen David is also an avid supporter of charity who devotes much of her time to campaigning for various issues. She has been active in raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, and is also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. Combining her love of music and support for charity, she released a charity Christmas album in 2010, entitled My Christmas List, to raise money for a housing and homelessness shelter. She is also an active supporter of SOS Children’s Villages Foundation and Designers Against AIDS.