Karisa Wilson is an award winning singer-songwriter from Michigan. Her debut album “Little Girl” won the WYCE’s Album of the Year Jammie, one of Michigan’s most prestigious indie music awards. Karisa writes and performs a blend of Indie Folk, jazz and blues. She’s also a classically trained violinist.
Her name is Karisa. Ka-REE-sa. Please don’t say it any other way.
Drives her crazy.
Karisa is from the Greek, XAPIS. It means grace.
When they gave her that name, her parents could not possibly have known that they would leave her so soon. The day before Karisa turned 29, she lost her mom. The next year, she lost her dad.
“Everyone knows the cliché,” she says. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Not surprising that’s the title she chose for her second album: Stronger.
Now an accomplished vocalist and guitarist, Karisa started her musical journey as a classical violinist. In high school she found her voice, and after college she picked up a guitar.
As she played local gigs in West Michigan, demand for her unique soulful blend of jazz, blues and folk—think eclectic Americana—grew.
Karisa went on to capture the 2008 WYCE ‘Best New Artist‘, as well as the coveted ‘Album of the Year’ Jammie awards. She’s gone on to win “Best Contemporary Folk” for her Stronger album, and an ArtPrize music award for single, “The Courage of One”.
Her parents are not here to witness her success. But their influence continues in her life every day as she works to forge connections through her music. She can feel the moment when that happens, when performance becomes conviction.
Karisa performs solo, as duo or with a full band. She has shared the stage with national artists Seal, Ziggy Marley, Pat Benatar, Sam Phillips, Billy Bob Thornton, and has performed for Barack Obama. She has performed and recorded with national artist Brian VanderArk (The Verve Pipe), and has often been a featured artist in the Meijer Garden’s Tuesday Summer Concert series. Favorite venues include, Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, The Living Room and The Bitter End in New York City, Wheatland Festival, and Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake, MI.
Karisa teaches violin, voice and guitar and Ukulele at the Triumph Music Academy, performs with the Bluewater Kings Band and with a brand new theater/music company called America’s Music Company, and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband John and sons John-Paul & Quentin. They are expecting their third son in Oct/Nov of 2018!
Friends and collaborators:
Bluewater Kings Band, Mark Jackson, Kyle Thompson, UV Hippo, Serita’s Black Rose, Grand Rapids Carolers, Michael Triant, Lou Musa, Jake Gerard, Russell Gorton, Rob Mulligan, Jack Gregory, Greg Baxter, Paul Lesinski, Andrew Martin, Michael Sullivan, Susan Picking, The Rockit King, Fauxgrass Music, Brian Vander Ark and The Verve Pipe.