A talented singer/songwriter and actress, Karen David moves effortlessly between film, television and a pop career.
This year she has thrilled audiences with live singing performances and her hit TV series Galavant, and is looking forward to the release of her British-Asian film Amar Akbar & Tony.
Asjad Nazir caught up with the multi-talented star to talk about her various projects, latest film, inspirations and more.
Do you find it easy to divide your time between music, TV and movies?
I love doing music, TV and films, so it never feels like a challenge to segue into the other. I think it’s more about schedules and finding time to balance everything. When I shoot a film, it is pretty full on and there’s not a lot of time to go into the studio to record, but I do find moments to write in between. I save all my ideas up for when I am in studio recordings at a later date.
Which of the creative spaces are you most comfortable in?
I am comfortable in all three. When I was a little girl, I wanted to sing, act in films and TV, so that is exactly what I focused on with my training, paying my dues, and then actually doing it. When I shoot for TV or films, I’m inspired to write new music. That’s what I love about being able to do all three – they keep me inspired and feed into each other.
You must have been pleased with the response your TV series Galavant got?
To have both critics and audiences rave about the show is something that doesn’t happen every day. It means the world to all of us involved in it that Galavant is so loved – it makes families come together and watch 30 minutes of medieval, comedy musical madness. I am just so happy this show happened. It’s so different and special, and it’s good to see big TV networks trying out different genres.
What has been the most memorable aspect of the Galavant journey?
There are a lot of wonderful aspects – doing things I never I imagined myself doing, like dancing with horses, acting alongside John Stamos, Al Yankovic, Hugh Bonneville and Ricky Gervias was too much fun. But working with Dan Fogelman, our amazing directors Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, was really special. With Alan, I sang all of his songs growing up. He has written the music to our childhoods. To be in the studio recording with him or see his name pop up on my phone, telling me what time to come to the orchestral recordings, it was surreal.
Tell us about your role in Amar Akbar & Tony?
I play Meera, the new bride to Uncle Jay and definitely the mysterious one. You don’t quite know what’s going on at first when you see her, but you know there is a story and-a-half behind her. I really enjoyed playing her, as her life is quite complicated and she is faced with a lot of challenges from her past, which comes flooding into her present new life, both as a new bride, and as a new immigrant to the UK. At the end of day, Meera is a young woman looking for what most people want – love, self-respect and happiness.
What was the most memorable moment from working on the film?
I loved the wedding scenes (not telling you whose, of course), but it was like a real Indian wedding with all the trimmings. It was a wonderful spectacle and to top it off, the weather was glorious. We danced the whole afternoon, laughing in between, and just having the time of our lives. (Laughs) What a fun way to pay the bills.
How important do you think it is to support independent cinema?
Never underestimate the power of a great story. We have seen movies with small budgets but great story lines that go on to do so well, like The Full Monty or Bend It Like Beckham. New, up-and-coming talent often comes or starts from the indie film world, and with that also come refreshingly raw stories, which big production companies might not necessarily take a punt on initially. There are usually more risks taken and creative freedom, which is why it’s vital to keep independent cinema alive and kicking.
What is your plan for the rest of the year?
Currently, I’m on hiatus for Galavant. We are waiting to see if we move forward with season 2, so fingers crossed. I know Dan, our show’s creator, has a lot of big things planned for a second season. I’m back in the studio recording new music and planning to release a new EP later this year. I just finished filming a top-secret, big-budget video game – all motion capture. Never done one before, and it’s like you’re filming a movie. The technology they use is incredible. I also finished filming an American indie movie called The Tiger Hunter.
What is your greatest unfulfilled ambition?
Touch wood, I don’t have any unfulfilled ambitions, not yet anyway. (Laughs) I’m lucky enough to be living my dreams and doing what I love. Anything else really is a wonderful bonus.
What inspires you today?
My family always and real-life stories, good and bad – how we overcome adversity, how we are constantly tested and challenged by what life throws at us. I know it’s my travels and life experiences that have made me a better actor, a better songwriter and hopefully a better performer too.
Finally, why should we watch Amar Akbar & Tony?
It is a heartwarming, bittersweet, coming-of-age story with things we can all relate to – the bond and strength of childhood friendships, and love being tested and challenged. The film will make you laugh and cry and it’s such a refreshing and raw perspective of today’s Brit Asians. You don’t have to be Asian or British to see this film, you just need to love an endearing and great story. Laughing is allowed too.
Amar Akbar & Tony is in cinemas on April 17.