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karina-kernEarning money through professional performances is a dream come true for most musicians, and singer/songwriter Karina Kern leads by example as she has spent the past seven years sharing her passion from stages across Minnesota. Music has always been a part of Karina Kern’s life, originating back in childhood when she was growing up and singing in choirs and having wholesome jam sessions with her mom, belting songs at the top of their lungs. Karina’s favorite part about being a musician is getting to lay her soul on the ground every day and allow others to see the real her through the vulnerability of song: 

Memories of Musicians Creating Magic Together 

One of Karina’s favorite memories performing live was during a show at The Dog House in Maplewood, Minn., when she was covering a Johnny Cash song with her duo partner, Brian. They received a huge round of applause for their rendition and, while people cheered, they received a request to play a song by Jordan Davis. To her absolute surprise, halfway through the song, Jordan Davis rushed up onto the stage with them and started singing along. Karina was starstruck and experienced a sense of awe. This experience of sharing the stage with another talented artist is a memory Karina will never forget. 

Life Offstage for Karina 

Karina works 55-60 hours a week in a full-time job that includes a lot of travel, but despite sometimes feeling jet-lagged or tired, she always brings a high energy level to the stage when she performs, because she finds that any exhaustion disappears as soon as she steps into her element. She says that she sometimes still feels sensitive and insecure as a musician, but the fear is worth it to pursue her passion. 

Karina’s job and music take up most of her time, but she loves being outdoors in her free time – she once even had the opportunity to stay on a sheep farm in Norway which was an incredible adventure. When she’s home, Karina loves to camp, hike, run and fish with her black Labrador, Rover. She recently bought a house all by herself, and she loves to hang out there with Rover as she frolics around with flowers in her hair and sips on coffee – a beverage she can’t live without. 

Karina currently plays the guitar and piano, but if she could play any instrument perfectly, she would choose either the guitar or the violin. A few other fun facts about Karina are that she has tiny handwriting, and she secretly loves video editing. 


Karina’s View of Success in The Industry 

Success in the music industry looks different for everyone as there are unlimited paths you can take. Karina auditioned for The Voice three times but, despite not winning, the experience helped her grow as an artist. Realizing this wasn’t the best path for her, she developed her own definition of success and never gave up or let the “failure” define her. 

Karina measures success by the way she impacts her audience. There is something incredibly fulfilling about having someone in the audience expressing that her music changed their day, brought a smile to their face or a tear to their eye. Additionally, when someone shares that they have been struggling and relates heavily to a personal song she wrote, Karina knows that being vulnerable and sharing her story was worth it to help someone else through their hardships. 

The Vulnerability of Original Music 

Karina isn’t afraid to write music about the aspects of her life she feels the strongest about, no matter how personal they may be. Her first album was focused on the loss of her mother in 2016, where she used the songwriting to process her emotions and commemorate the life of her first best friend. Although it was difficult to share this vulnerable piece of her life, these songs have helped others as they process their own struggles, making it all worth it. 

Karina is currently writing her second album, and the unintentional theme is about running, wandering and vacating situations. Karina has always had an odd fixation on running from things that don’t allow her to grow anymore, admittedly making things more dramatic than they need to be which has evolved into the perfect focus for her album during this period of her life. 


Karina Draws Inspiration from Everywhere 

Aspiring artists within any industry can learn so much from talents who have come before them, and Karina believes this wholeheartedly. Ever since she was 13 years old, Karina has held the unwavering belief that Taylor Swift will always be the best songwriter. Admiring Swift’s ability to write songs, that sound poetic and beautiful, about any topic, Karina strives to achieve a similar artistic standard in her own original work. There are several other artists whose techniques Karina also draws inspiration from, including Brandi Carlisle, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band. 

Outside of other musicians, Karina’s most meaningful inspiration for her music is her fans. Whenever she writes a song, she plays it live for her fans before taking it to the studio. She closely observes her fans’ reactions while she performs. Judging their reactions to a lyric or note allows her to keep in touch with her audience and create meaningful music that others can connect with and relate to. 

Making The Most of Live Performances 

karina-kernKarina plays guitar and piano but, at this time, the guitar is the only instrument she’s brought with her to the stage – other than when she rocks the tambourine when she’s accompanied by her duo partner, Brian, who is a brilliant guitarist. Whether she is playing original music or covers, there is incomparable magic to connecting with fans during live performances. 

Karina has played at a variety of venues and throughout her experience she has noticed the significant difference a venue’s marketing efforts can make in the turnout of a performance. Karina has observed the value of interacting with followers when a venue tags her in a social media post about a show. Unfortunately there are some venues you would never know host musicians because they don’t advertise or post on social media. Karina always makes multiple posts about performances, tagging venues and cities, but the most successful turnout occurs when the venue also plays a role in the advertising efforts. 

A Busy Summer of Performing 

Although her stage name is Karina Kern, she has developed a few nicknames, including Karina Karina and KK. She is constantly working to grow her career and is in the process of establishing her full band, Karina Kern and the Pool Boys, to take her performances to the next level. She is scheduled to perform all over Minnesota this summer, at venues such as wineries, breweries, weddings, bars, restaurants and festivals, and all of the details can be found on her website, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and TipTree. 

The act of performing alone makes being a musician worth it, but the ability to earn money doing what you love creates the opportunity to dedicate more time to your passion. With the use of TipTree, a musician’s tool that allows artists to accept song requests and earn tips, Karina has been able to boost her income and play at new venues while connecting with more fans. One of her favorite aspects of TipTree is the ability to interact with fans who are too shy to approach her at live events. Through the app, she receives sweet messages, tips and words of encouragement that have helped her grow her confidence as her music career grows. 

If you are a musician looking for tools to help you establish a relationship with your fans while earning more tips, go to to learn more.

TipTree lets you create simple landing pages that quickly capture your fans’ contact information along with their tips, so you can generate new leads to follow up with again and again, even after they leave your page.