Glamorous pop rap from Karmin 

click to enlarge Stylish sounds: Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, the up-and-coming pop-rap duo Karmin, appear Friday at - Macy’s annual Glamorama. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Stylish sounds: Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, the up-and-coming pop-rap duo Karmin, appear Friday at Macy’s annual Glamorama.

Considering the meteoric rise of Karmin — the pop-rap duo Amy Heidemann formed with her keyboardist fiance, Nick Noonan — vocalist Heidemann has reached one conclusion.

“Everything that’s happened to us so far has been a freak coincidence,” she says.

That includes her 1950s-retro suicide roll hairstyle, which she stumbled across one evening in a Boston boutique window. After sporting it the next day in an early online video — a campy lo-fi version of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” that launched their breakthrough Karmincovers YouTube channel — she accidentally became an overnight fashion icon.

Now her suicide roll tutorial is an Internet sensation. “And I’ve got girls of every age sending me pictures of their suicide rolls on Twitter every day,” she says.

The couple — who play Macy’s Glamorama in The City on Friday — are still reeling from their booking on “Saturday Night Live,” months before their Epic debut “Hello” hits stores.

Heidemann also is dumbfounded to be one of two finalists in Rolling Stone magazine’s current Women Who Rock competition, which involved a Lollapalooza Festival faceoff between Karmin and Kosovo-born contender Rita Ora.
“We’re honored that we were selected, but I still have no idea how we were chosen,” she says.

The duo’s genesis was equally unlikely. The Nebraska-born Heidemann enrolled in Berklee to pursue songwriting, performance and business, where the Maine-bred Noonan was studying his favorite instrument, trombone.

He first noticed her tear it up at a student Stevie Wonder tribute. “But we didn’t have a full conversation until the first week of sophomore year, which is actually what our song ‘Brokenhearted’ is about,” he says.

“Yeah,” his paramour adds. “We met at this party, and then Nick doesn’t call me the next day, and I’m frantic, waiting for a message.”

But with her on guitar, him on synth, they started reinterpreting modern hits online, many of which featured the diva spitting rapid-fire rhymes — a skill she acquired while paying the bills as a wedding singer.

“I had to learn four to six hours of material, and I got pretty good at memorizing lyrics, so that’s why rapping came so easily,” she says. Noonan often joined the group on trombone.

Now, Karmin’s buoyant originals have made some remarkable inroads. At the “SNL” after-party at a restaurant, Noonan dropped by producer Lorne Michaels’ table to say thanks.

“Just as I shook his hand, someone tapped me on the shoulder, and it was Steven Spielberg and his wife,” he says. “He said ‘Man, you guys were fantastic! I loved the performance, loved the energy!’”

“And we were like, ‘Let’s back away,’” Heidemann adds. “‘Just back away while everything’s still good!’”

About The Author

Tom Lanham

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

More by Tom Lanham

Latest in Pop Music & Jazz

Friday, Jul 29, 2016

Videos

Readers also liked…

Most Popular Stories

© 2016 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation