Karen Kalafatas (aka Karen K) is a singer, songwriter, wife, mother, sister, daughter, changemaker and artist-preneuer living in North Carolina’s Piedmont.
A former musical theater actress in New York City, Karen is best known for her enchanting voice, award-winning songs, and captivating performances. As founder of the nationally acclaimed tot-rock group Karen K & the Jitterbugs she is best known for her work in the family music industry. Called a “must see act” by the Boston Globe, and “what Taylor Swift would sound like if she had a second grader who wanted to hang with Mom,” by the Huffington Post, Karen has lit up hundreds of stages across the country and has been featured in multiple media outlets including The New York Times, Broadway World, PBS and CBS New York.
A stalwart leader committed to providing meaningful arts access to all children, Karen is the creator and executive producer of Kids Really Rock™, the largest free family music festival in the country. Held in Boston, Massachusetts, the event attracts 10,000 people annually. Karen is also a co-founder of Family Music Forward, whose aim is to dismantle systemic racism and amplify Black voices in the family music industry.
Karen has written and produced five musicals, released four original albums and performed for thousands of audience members big and small across the country and world. Her new single “for grown ups," February Strong, a song of hope, is a reflection of a promising artistic evolution, and a return to her southern roots. Karen gratefully spends nearly every pandemic moment with her husband John, daughter Rebecca and dog, Hewey in a little house with too many guitars in Chapel Hill.