Karen’s musical journey began later in life when she discovered that singing along to jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald helped her deal with the heartbreak of a failing love affair. The romance, alas, ended but her love of performing has been going strong ever since.
After developing a serious interest in singing in 2002, Karen appears regularly at local jazz venues, and has developed a large and dedicated following for whom she delights in putting on a show. Karen also performs for private and corporate functions in Canada and the United States, and has appeared in concert at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, Merrickville’s Jazz Fest, GigSpace, Music@MillRoad, the Ottawa Grassroots Festival and the Warkworth Lilac Festival as well as at the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. She also appears at various retirement residences in the area and loves performing for and interacting with the residents. This year, she began organizing occasional private concert events in her neighbourhood.
Noted jazz historian the late Ron Sweetman described Karen’s singing as having “real feeling and a subtle swing in a deep, rich voice.” The late Jacques Emond, founding artistic director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, had the following comments: “Talented and versatile Karen Oxorn is a very interesting vocalist. She has a warm and swinging straightforward voice skilled with ballads as well as upbeat songs.” Since 2010, she has become more involved in producing jazz concerts and working as a volunteer for music events in the Ottawa area.
Peter HumJazz Critic, Musician / Ottawa Citizen
"Ottawa singer Karen Oxorn has impressed me over the last few years as someone who came late to jazz but made great strides thanks to her diligence and devotion."
Mark FergusonMusician, Arranger, Composer, Teacher / markferguson.ca
"Congratulations on a great tribute concert to Blossom Dearie. You sounded and looked marvelous and the audience loved it. Thanks for including me."
Jacques Emond 1934-2013Founding Artistic Director / Ottawa Jazz Festival
"Talented and versatile Karen Oxorn is a very interesting vocalist. She has a warm and swinging straightforward voice skilled with ballads as well as upbeat songs."
Ron Sweetman 1932-2018Jazz Historian and Radio Host / CKCU FM
"Real feeling and a subtle swing in a deep, rich voice."
"Karen Oxorn is a huge talent in the Ottawa jazz world. She has earned the title because of her rich, warm voice and her dedication to her craft. Karen has also impressed her audiences with her on-stage elegance, and her sense of humour."
"When performing, she has a captivating way of looking outward, as though she is thinking of something in the past, or perhaps it is the future. Whatever it is, Karen is a real entertainer and we are honoured to have had her perform at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival."
"Karen’s first appearance at Merrickville’s Jazz Fest in 2012 was our opportunity for explosive success over the following years. As our first Artistic Director, Karen's warmth, generosity and eagerness to make a difference with her music and that of other artists
led us to a huge boost in our goals to provide a showcase for local and city (eg. Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City) bands, and Merrickville is now on the map for great jazz. Thank you, Karen."
John Haysom, Bert Waslander, Howard TweddleMusicians / Glebop Jazz Trio
"Karen is not only an accomplished jazz singer but an all-round performer. She captivates an audience with her spirited style, with humour, with original lyrics. She is great to work with."
Michael Curtis HannaVocalist / Michael Curtis Hanna
"Karen, you are a consummate singer and performer, and I count it a joy to have shared the stage with you and your very special tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and the Great American Songbook. Bravo to you, my sister."
Shelley RussellPresident / Diva Productions, New York
"I first heard Karen sing at a small jazz club in NYC years ago. Sultry, smokin’ and sass are three words that come to mind when I think about her voice."
"I really enjoy working with Karen Oxorn. She is super-organized and knows her material. Karen is someone who has listened to and studied the great jazz vocalists."
"She can really swing and deliver a lyric. I also think Karen is a consummate entertainer. She keeps an audience totally engaged with her warm personality and quick wit."