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  • Rani Creative

Karen Sandoval-Santana

In Toronto, she found Sunset Cyphers, an open mic night at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Through Kensington Market, she befriended a community of artists. Karen would busk with them and it was only a matter of time before she grew confident enough to start performing at venues such as Amsterdam Bicycle Club, Friday Roots, and The Hideout. Eventually, she started to get booked for shows with the Dreamhouse Collective at the B-Side Lounge and The Shop1566. All these gigs have played a crucial role in helping Karen find her sound and gaining back her confidence.

Her first EP, Apples and Oranges, was released in 2018. Two years later, she dropped the single “Under You.” Apples and Oranges is a self-reflection and a collection of poems, fragments, and entries from old journals. She has also starred in the short film Strangers Again, and created a home video called “I’m Way Too Young to Feel This Much” and the short film “It Smelled of Summer Rains.” The latter was showcased at the Dream House Film Festival and won best silent short film.

She can say confidently that whatever she does, she makes it her own. She takes a lot of pride in her Hispanic heritage and French-Canadian background. She’s currently working on a project that is very different from her previous work, and it will be her first in French and Spanish. She is fully embracing her identity and her sound, and is super excited for what the future holds. Her work reveals a lot about who she is, the way she thinks and feels. Her goal is to inspire other girls to build themselves up freely without fear of judgment. Whenever she feels insecure about herself or the content she produces, she asks herself, “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?” It’s a reminder of how valuable her voice can be.

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