The Rapidian

Karisa Wilson to kick off Market at noon sharp

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Karisa Wilson will be performing at The Market presented by the Avenue for the Arts June 9 at 12 p.m. at 106 S. Division. Her newest album will be available for purchase - fresh off the press!
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Karisa Wilson at the Market. Creativity, Community, and Collaboration. Saturday June 9, 2012. Catch Wilson's performance at noon, copies of her newest album 'Stronger' will be available for purchase right by the stage at 106 S. Division.  Sample her tunes.

/Kirstin Anne Johnson

/Kirstin Anne Johnson

Karisa Wilson (pronounced Ka-REE-sa) has been gracious enough to squeeze a performance in at this year’s Market presented by the Avenue for the Arts on June 9. This busy artist will begin promptly at noon before heading off to a wedding later in the day. Catch her at the 106 S. Division stage where copies of her newest CD, fresh off the press as of June 2, will be available. The Market is all about celebrating creativity, collaboration and community and Wilson’s values run parallel making her a great fit for this event.

If you are unfamiliar with this local celebrity, she is a singer, songwriter, violinist, guitarist, collaborator, wife, a Taurus and an award-winning artist. Her hometown is Grand Rapids. She speaks Spanish and German. She teaches private lessons in voice, guitar and violin four days a week and also wrote for Recoil magazine for five to six years. Her music is bluesy, soulful and folksy.

About her musical background she says, “I’ve been playing violin since age ten (would have been earlier if I had my way). Classical turned out to be too narrow for me though. after college I ended up picking up guitar, and began to play violin non-classically.”


Wilson just released her newest album, titled "Stronger," during her first performance at Founders on June 2. As promised, she came in with a bang.

“Since it has been several years since I’ve put out a full album, I was able to craft it in a way that feels more polished than my first. I think that this is an uplifting album for women especially. The title 'Stronger' refers to the saying, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I don’t mean to sound like my situation is any tougher than anyone else’s, everyone faces difficulties in life whether it's cancer, bad life choices, whatever. Making the CD is my way of pulling through it all and I hope that whoever else listens to it finds something inspiring to pull them out of whatever funk they’re in, and that it is able to make someone’s day a little bit better,” she says. Wilson promises the album to touch on endurance and patience delivered with a little bit of sass. For music and info check out her website or become a fan on facebook.


While Wilson is essentially a solo artist, she sees the value in collaborating with other musicians. She plays with a string band for two of the tracks of her newest album. “The String Ensemble has been a great group of guys to work with," says Wilson. "My band doesn’t reflect the whole album though. I tend to be nomadic with bands; they are constantly changing, which I see as an opportunity to explore musicianship.” Her other collaborations include working with The Rocket Kings, La Famiglia, Nobodys Darlin’ and a slew of other bands ranging in genre from hip-hop to heavy metal. She has been recorded on at least 100 albums with other artists and musicians. 


In addition to a strong work ethic and roots in collaboration, this artist finds importance in community involvement. Though she modestly claims she’s not able to give as much time as she’d like, she is involved with several local nonprofits. Wilson states, “My involvement with the Children’s Assessment Center (dedicated to helping children who have been sexually assaulted) is a continued relationship that I enjoy.” She recently had the opportunity to help the C.A.C. with their yearly fundraiser, where she covered "I’ll Stand by You" by the Pretenders. “I was given the chance to interpret the song, along with the help of friend Jack Gregory (who helped me produce "Stronger" as well). By having a musician with a tie in the local community cover this song, it was more unique, more meaningful. I was happy to invest in my community and an organization that I believe in.”

Wilson has also been involved with the Avenue for the Arts in the past, and agrees that the Market is an important community building event. “Grand Rapids is pretty amazing actually. As a child, there was nothing going on besides Festival- now there are all sorts of amazing things going on downtown. As a musician, there are plentiful opportunities to perform around this town that don’t exist anywhere else. The Market has become something to look forward to in our summers. It is a platform to share what we do, outside of the bars.”

This event is a wonderful opportunity for the public to come out and show support of Grand Rapids' amazing creative class. The venue is unique, and there will be no shortage of entertainment, creativity, collaboration and community. Wilson's performance is a must-see at this year's Market, but stick around afterwards to check out over 65 vendors selling fine art and handcrafted goods and live entertaiment until 9 p.m. To view the full entertainment lineup visit our website.




This article was written by Jessica Hacker



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