Karen David, with her exotic beauty and multicultural pedigree (she has Chinese, Indian and Jewish heritage), is a multi-talented actress and singer-songwriter who has worked in film, television, stage and music.
Born in Shillong, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, David was raised in Toronto and came of age in the United Kingdom.
At 17, she won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz and gospel. It was here that she discovered a flair for songwriting and a love for drama, which led her to study at the Guildford School of Acting in London. It wasn’t long after finishing drama school that she landed her first acting role in the original stage cast of the London West End musical Mamma Mia!
David’s talent as a singer and all-around performer led her to sign a record deal with BMG Europe, generating the 2003 single “It’s Me (You’re Talking To),” which became a top-ten hit in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as well as BMG’s fourth-highest-airplay hit for a debut artist. Soon after, she was discovered by composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). Impressed by her talents, Rahman invited David to help develop the soundtrack for the Bollywood-themed musical
Bombay Dreams alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. They subsequently created the theme tune for the British drama Provoked, in which David had a supporting role.
David’s film career began with a supporting co-lead role as a member of an R&B band in the UK cult hit Bollywood Queen, leading to a supporting role in Batman Begins, a co-leading role in The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, and notable performances in the Vince Vaughan comedy Couples Retreat and in the Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro drama Red Lights.
Now, you may recognize David for her role as Spanish princess Isabella in ABC’s Galavant, a Disney-like musical comedy that has swept TV lovers right off their feet.
Karen chatted with me on the eve of ANOKHI’s 12th anniversary event, where we chatted about her multicultural pedigree, her unique upbringing, her journey into acting and how Galavant was a career-defining moment she’d been waiting for for a very long time.
Featured Image Credit: Vasanti Cosmetics