Kari & Billy – Are You Ready For The Weekend

If you wanted to sum up the Nashville based duo Kari & Billy in one word it could be, “thankful”. With a second single that just reached the Music Row Country Breakout Chart and making weekly appearances playing their original music for a brand new television series on the Outdoor Channel, this couple has a lot to be thankful for! However, it is not just their successes they find necessary to be appreciative of. For this husband and wife team their entire existence as a duo is a blessing! From an outside perspective, perhaps it is difficult to imagine how this vibrant couple who compliments each other so effortlessly, both on and off stage, managed to find each other. Coming from very different backgrounds and having grown up on separate ends of the country over 2,000 miles away from each other, their meeting in itself was highly unlikely, not to mention them forming a musical duo. If you were to ask either Kari or Billy, however, they would tell you it is no mystery to them. “We know God was entirely behind our coming together”, Kari & Billy agree, “Not only as a couple, but also as a duo!”

Billy was born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL and was raised in the town of Mulberry. He spent the majority of his days in the great outdoors, hunting, fishing and trying to catch anything that would run from him. In contrast, Kari was born in a little town called Roseau in northern, MN, only 10 miles from the Canadian border! She had an early fascination with the arts and participated in dance, community plays, speech competitions and musical programs with her family. At the age of 7 she began taking violin lessons. “I took lessons at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music in Winnipeg, Canada”, Kari recalls, “And boy, am I blessed to have a mother who loves me and believes in me because she drove me to lessons, 5 hours round trip, usually in a blizzard!” She may have studied classical violin at a music conservatory but Kari’s first love was always country music. In high school she found an outlet for that love when she joined a local band who played on weekends in the surrounding area of her small town.

It was a little later in life that Billy started pursuing his love of music. Before the age of 22 he never would have imagined he would ever sing in front of a crowd but after much encouragement from a close friend who happened to overhear him singing, Billy decided to try it out in a singing competition. Shortly after this he was asked to hit the road with a band as their lead singer. He taught himself to play guitar and harmonica and just like that, his musical journey began!

Kari & Billy may have entered the uncharted waters of the music business at different times and in very different ways, but the Lord’s hand was at work when they both happened to make the big move to Nashville around the same time in hopes of furthering their careers. Before forming as a duo, Kari & Billy experienced some personal success with their music. Kari played fiddle and mandolin for and toured with many artists including John Rich/ Big $ Rich, Steel Magnolias, Trace Adkins and Gretchen Wilson. She performed with John Rich on live national television for the finale of Celebrity Apprentice and was in a music video filmed for College Game Day on ESPN with Big $ Rich. Billy recorded his own album of all self-written, self-produced original songs with award winning Nashville musicians and as an independent artist released a single and music video which received well over a million views on YouTube.

Upon meeting, it was easy to see that the pair shared a similar perspective and outlook on life and after getting the opportunity to play a few gigs together, they realized the similarities didn’t stop there! Billy felt that Kari’s fiddle playing and harmony vocals completed his sound so well that soon he didn’t want to play a show without her! “Our meeting was reminiscent of the movie Pretty Woman”, Billy states with a twinkle in his eye, “Well maybe I wasn’t a rich guy and Kari wasn’t a call girl…but she IS a pretty woman, so you can see how the basic idea is the same!” A witty sense of humor is another thing this new husband and wife duo shares and they know to use it on stage. They playfully joke back and forth and occasionally poke a little fun. “Most importantly we like to have fun on-stage!”, Kari laughs. “We don’t have on-stage personas, we’re just ourselves and try to connect with our audience on a personal level, no matter if we are playing to a crowd of 20 or 20,000!” People who had seen the two each play separately say there is just “something truly special” about them together. Since their first gig as an official duo, Kari & Billy have recorded a full length album of 16 original songs as well as an EP of 6 additional songs which Billy wrote and the couple produced together. They have played some of the biggest state fairs and festivals in the country, from Florida to Alaska and Wyoming to Connecticut. The duo recently wrote and produced all the music for the Drury Outdoors television series Thirteen sponsored by Under Amour on the Outdoor Channel.

It is safe to say that a common love for music is what initially brought Kari & Billy together, but what makes them blend so seamlessly? Anyone who has been to a Kari & Billy concert could tell you it is obvious the duo respects each other, not only as artists and musicians but as individuals. Kari & Billy have a sound that can only come from a deep appreciation and love for one another…AND many hours of driving up and down the road traveling to gigs singing their favorite songs a cappella!

“This crazy business has its peaks and valleys but what a blessing it is that we get to experience all of it together! We have set out to create music that will make people smile, think, cry or even just dance! Every time we get onstage we focus on providing a little something for everyone, from high energy fiddle songs that will get you on your feet and meaningful lyrics that will touch your heart. Most importantly, though, we want people to leave our shows knowing how thankful we are that we had the opportunity to sing our music together for them!” That, is what Kari & Billy are all about.

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