LA Spotlight: Karmin

  Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan of Karmin

In spectacular fashion, the story of Berklee alumni phenom Karmin continues to unfold.

In late November, Amy Heidemann '08 and Nick Noonan '08, who make up the duo, won their first American Music Award, in the Best New Media category, which recognized the overwhelming online response they received. In December 2011, the music video of Karmin's new single "Crash Your Party" was unveiled on the Times Square JumboTron. The two were also chosen for VEVO's emerging artist LIFT program, and shortly after Thanksgiving, they set out on the road for a series of concert appearances. Tour highlights included opening for Gym Class Heroes and Lady Gaga at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and at Madison Square Garden before a 22,000-strong audience, and performing in Miami with Pitbull, LMFAO, Foster the People, and Avril Lavigne.

It all began in April 2011, when Karmin ignited the blogosphere with its cover of Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" on YouTube. The clip quickly racked up millions of viewers and caught the attention of the hip-hop community. "We hoped that people would like our version, but we didn't expect all this," Heidemann says of the viral buzz. The duo's fresh-sounding combination of pop music and hip hop, in tandem with a retro forties look, gives Karmin an image that combines fun and attitude.

After signing with Epic Records and L.A. Reid, the duo has been working on its original songs with such A-list producers as Stargate, Tricky Stewart, Dr. Luke, and most recently, the Runners, who produced "Crash Your Party." One MTV review commented on Heidemann's breakneck rap skills on the track saying, "She's supplied a mile-a-minute tongue-twister during the song's bridge that'll have your eyes crossing in 10 seconds flat." The review continues, "No offense, Busta Rhymes, but I think this girl just schooled you!"

From the early days recording covers in their Back Bay apartment to their relocation to Los Angeles a few months ago, this past year has been a whirlwind for Heidemann and Noonan. Stay tuned-this story is worth following.

Watch them on Saturday Night Live on February 11 and check out

-Peter Gordon '78
Director of Berklee Center in LA