Musically Chic Series: Karla Chisholm


There once was an indie jazz artist from Nebraska that traveled from United States to places like Switzerland, Dubai, Greece, Bahamas, Barbados, Czech Republic and Spain.

In November 2011, she released “Moving On” album featuring instrumentalists that have worked with artists such as Whitney Houston, Justin Timberlake, Prince and Chick Corea

Okay, this isn’t a fairy tale. It’s the story of singer, Karla Chisholm.

(Photo from Karla Chisholm).
(Photo from Karla Chisholm).

“I always loved singing & performing, but it wasn’t until I started gigging in college and was in the company of like souls that my life direction found me,” Chisholm said. Despite my other passions, there is nothing I’d rather do.”

Some of her 2013 accomplishments include: performing for President Obama at the 2013 Inaugural Ball, performing at a number of celebrity weddings, and recording live DVD at the world renowned Blues Alley in Washington DC.


What was your first live musical performance? 

“I debuted on the world stage at the Fox Mill Elementary School talent show with a rousing rendition of ‘I Wish I Was A Teddy Bear’,”Chisholm said. It was epic.”    


What do you remember about your Raw Baltimore experience?

“I had no idea what to expect performing with two instruments as opposed to my normal 8 and in a bar setting verses my normal supper club experience,” Chisholm said. 


What I do remember is making a split second decision to try a sing-a-long and to my delight at least 80 percent of the guests joined in! It was very fun and beautiful. Who knew there would be so many great singers in the audience?”


(Photo from Karla Chisholm).
(Photo from Karla Chisholm).

What do you love about playing live? 

“I cherish the unspoken language between myself and other musicians on stage, improvising, telling stories and connecting with the audience,” Chisholm said.  


The most rewarding moments are watching members of the audience as they drop the “baggage” they brought in with them and take the journey with me.”


What musical artists are you inspired by?

“I am inspired by Artist’s whose lyrics and approach catch you unaware like Jason Mraz, Jill Scott, and Regina Spektor,” Chisholm said.


I also cannot resist Jazz vocalists who can make a standard sound like they wrote it from personal experience. Nancy Wilson and Shirley Horn are great examples of this for me.”     


(Photo from Karla Chisholm).
(Photo from Karla Chisholm).

Who are some of your style icons?


I love the dresses worn by Ginger Rogers and Grace Kelly,” Chisholm said. Dresses that really don’t make any practical sense, but are lovelier than words. 


I also love high fashion design because it is all about texture and less about day-to-day functionality.”


If you had to describe your personal style in five words or less, what words would you pick? 

Classy. Funky. Earthy. Rockin’. Vintage.



(Photo from Karla Chisholm).
(Photo from Karla Chisholm).

What do you look for when picking out a stage outfit?

“I look for something eclectic and funky with a vintage elegance,” Chisholm said. I want to feel feminine and lovely, but with a little edge. 


Think Ginger Rogers with a leather jacket.”


Does your stage style differ from your personal style? Why or why not? “Definitely,” Chisholm said. I always want to feel like I’m dressing up for a gig. It feels transformative. I’m just a lady who likes to dress up for a party.”



(Photo from Karla Chisholm).
(Photo from Karla Chisholm).

Check out more of Karla Chisholm here: