“I grew up in a family for whom music was always THE event. It was the occasion, shared language, and ultimate reason to come together. It remains today the single most important way we're connected and thing we share. I vividly recall being not much more than 4 or 5 years old, standing beside my grandfather's upright piano listening to my beloved aunt Karen sing, begging her to 'play the sad songs.' I was obsessed with the sad songs..."
In Karmen’s family, every gathering revolved around the family band. Players, singers, and songwriters alike, and always at the center, her multi-instrumentalist father Dan Buttler, intuitively influencing her and the music.
Karmen Buttler found her spark when she was thirteen and decided she wanted to play guitar. She remembers her finger tips screaming, permanently colored green from the copper strings. But mostly Buttler remembers the thrill of a chord progression: That when it changed, your heart changed with it. That each step moved emotion and desire and could make you feel like the world was magical and that you knew its secret. She played for hours, one or two or three chords, over and over again, envisioning herself on a stage sharing this newfound secret with others.
At nineteen, the aspiring songwriter attended Mills College to study English but quickly found herself spending most of her time with other artists and musicians sharing songs. She began to sing for friends after much coaxing and soon started writing her first batch of original tunes.
Buttler's brief stint at college quickly led to a small record deal, a cross-country move, and all of her first musical experiences as an independent artist.
"Music was the only thing I could actually imagine doing... It was the only part of my life that was actually true... Creating, writing, singing, whatever, is only as good as it is generous and genuine. Once I got that, the music has never stopped coming.”