Karen Celeste Cruz
Karen Celeste Kruz grew up in the Northeast, and started her lifelong journey in song as a child in choirs and shows around New England. Jazz was the music she grew up on. It was always playing in the house- that, and music from Broadway. Her parents were avid music lovers.
When Karen moved to Los Angeles it was from the desire to do more music. Karen studied music formally at the Dick Grove School of Music and Pasadena City College, and privately for voice including several years of opera training. She is an accomplished singer in a number of musical genres.
She has sung in many Southern California venues, including The Smokehouse and The Gardenia Room. Her voice has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald for its clarity, depth and timbre. She writes jazz/rock fusion music in collaboration with her husband, Al Garcia, who is also an accomplished musician.
Mostly, Karen remembers jazz constantly playing in her Connecticut home when she was growing up. It was her parent’s favorite music. She began singing publicly at the age of five in choir and school productions, and knew that being a singer was her destiny. Her voice transitions from clear precise tones to smokey, bluesy, and sometimes growly textures; big and open or as delicate as filigree. Her sound has been described as Ella Fitzgerald-esque with shades of Sara Vaughn and Janis Joplin.
Growing up in a primarily Hungarian family in Bridgeport, Connecticut strongly influenced her musicality – Hungarian music has its own musical scale. Other musical influences include Broadway musicals, R&B, blues, and Latin styles – all based in the eclectic neighborhood in which she grew up. Together with her husband, Al Garcia, she writes Jazz Fusion.
Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Connecticut and a Masters degree in Counseling from The University of LaVerne and has had a full career in education. She has studied voice, including opera, music and Latin percussion in Los Angeles, and has sung in many Los Angeles venues including The Gardenia and the E-spot Lounge at Vitellos.