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  • Alice Smith

5 Songs I Love w/ Kara Ali

Following the release of her latest single 'Old Pictures From High School', Flex caught up with NYC-based singer-songwriter Kara Ali to find out more about what goes into her eclectic sound. If you enjoy Kara's picks be sure to check out 'Old Pictures From High School' at the end of the article.

1. Help Me - Joni Mitchell

"I find it nearly impossible to select just one Joni song, but this song from Court and Spark is one of my all time favorites, blending the perfect mix of jazz and folk that I so often find influence in for my own music.  The guitar strumming pattern and drums set the energy of the song immediately, taking the listener on a journey through unique chord progressions and introspective lyrics in the way Joni does best. The instrumentation and energy of this particular song and all of the memories I have singing it with my mom make it an all-time favorite."

2. Midnight - Lianne La Havas

"Lianne La Havas is one of my favorite modern singer/songwriters and her acoustic performances are absolutely mesmerizing.  On Midnight, the combination of her gentle alto vocals with expert guitar picking skills are soothing, intricate, and so incredibly enjoyable to watch.  The lyrics are truly introspective, thoughtful, and romantic - all things that I aspire to achieve with my own writing as well.  And when she flips the octave at the end of the second verse, I get chills every time!"

3. Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse

"This song has such a perfect marriage of retro and modern with the "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" sample and Amy's strong contralto vocals. it's got that perfect juxtaposition of longing lyrics and an upbeat rhythm. I remember watching Amy's Grammy win for "Rehab" from my living room in high school and feeling so inspired by her soulful voice and unique sound.  When she passed away so young, I mourned the loss; I purchased Back to Black on vinyl while in college and quite literally wore in the groves with posthumous listening."

4. Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy - Judy Garland & Barbra Streisand

"Growing up engrossed in the musical theater world, I was raised on modern musicals, and also on a TON of Barbra.  This particular duet with Judy is one of the sweetest moments in musical history as far as I'm concerned, representing a tender introduction to stardom for Barbra from Judy and truly legendary vocal performance by two iconic female vocalists. Again, it makes me feel that wonderful mix of happy and melancholy in a perfect duet.  It's been covered more recently, but this original recording still gets me every time."

5. The Best of My Love - The Emotions

"The only way to describe this song is pure joy.  It embodies so much of what I love about disco and music from the '70s. The horns section, the tight harmonies, the steady and strong bassline, the outro strings and fade; it's an absolutely perfect song that is simply timeless - so much so that it resulted in the recently viral Lil' Boo Thang from Paul Russell.  Simply put - it's a song that makes you feel good."

Listen to Kara Ali 'Old Pictures From High School'



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