Karen Elson: Roots Music From The Runway


Singer-songwriter Karen Elson recently performed a studio session at WFUV.

Singer-songwriter Karen Elson recently performed a studio session at WFUV. Kate Elson hide caption

itoggle caption Kate Elson

Until recently, Karen Elson was best known for her modeling career: for walking the runways for top designers like Chanel and Versace and gracing the covers of fashion magazines around the world. But now she's being recognized for her musical talents, as well.

Elson released The Ghost Who Walks last year to great critical praise, and although it's her debut, she's actually been making music for years. Long before she became a model, her original dream was to be a singer, but growing up in a working-class industrial town made that goal seem more like a fantasy. So when she was chosen to be become a model as a teenager, it was like she'd won the lottery: "I felt like I had to do it, because if I didn't, I'd be working in a supermarket the rest of my life."

Fashion then became Elson's connection to the music world. Her work as a model led her from the U.K. to New York City, where she helped found a cabaret troupe called The Citizens Band. She also had help from her famous husband, The White Stripes' Jack White, who encouraged her to record her music.

Although he took the helm as producer on her album, this isn't just another Jack White side project. The Ghost Who Walks sounds decidedly different from his work, and reveals that Elson has a style of her own — as also evidenced by the acoustic-guitar-and-accordion arrangements she shares in this Studio A session.



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