Karyn Ann Lets Out Her Wild Side on Electronic “Who You Were (Remix)”
Alongside producer Tim Karplus, Portland’s Karyn Ann has reimagined her 2020 single “Who You Were” as an electronic banger with a brand new remix. Photo by Pastel Creative Studios.
Portland singer-songwriter Karyn Ann has aced her field so far. Living within an acoustic and nostalgic bubble of sound, she’s proved her songwriting and vocal abilities time and time again.
Back in 2018, I wrote about Ann’s sophomore record, Be Loud, for #WomxnCrush Music’s The Crush. Be Loud was rooted in this perfected nostalgia, playing with the sounds of the 60s and conjuring the spirits of songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell in her vocal performance and songwriting.
Though Ann’s 2020 single, “Who You Were,” lives in a place a little past the gritty 60s sound of her previous record, giving her vocals a bigger space to occupy atop beautiful piano balladry and string arrangement, the song still evokes the same mood and style that Ann has so consistently lived within.
But now, Ann’s showing a new side of herself, changing her 2020 single’s slow emotion into an upbeat, power-charged, and confident electronic banger, “Who You Were (Remix)”.
Revisiting “Who You Were” in 2021, Ann connected with producer Tim Karplus to breathe new life into the song, trading out the piano and strings for a swelling synth groove.
“Tim reached out to me asking if he could take a stab at doing a remix,” Ann said. “It seemed like such a fun idea and something I had never done before.”
Not only is the sound a completely fresh vision, but the new body the song lives within changes the meaning of the track as well, almost creating an entirely new character of Ann in the process.
“‘Who You Were’ was originally written from an outside perspective for a close relative who was watching someone lose themselves to addiction, but in a larger context was relatable to anyone who has ever felt lost or off track due to struggles with mental health,” Ann said.
“However, [with] the upbeat vibe, the song became more introspective and made me remember my younger self, the wild and more unabashed parts of my persona, and reminded me I should let that woman out from time to time.”
And let that woman out, she did. With the soon-to-be-released accompanying music video for “Who You Were (Remix)”, Ann shows the contrast between the song’s origins–singing from a sunlit room, surrounded by candles and guitars–to the wild side of her character that the remix lets loose–hair messy, donning a masquerade mask and cheetah print, dancing in a pulsing night club.
Though Ann has proved herself time and time again in her acoustic abilities, “Who You Were (Remix)” shows that she is no one-trick-pony. Her vocals and lyrics meld perfectly with the upbeat pop production that Karplus provides. Though there is no definitive plan to continue going down an electro-pop road, Ann says she’s not opposed to remixing some more tracks to keep letting that wild side out.
“I just had so much fun with this,” she said. “We’ll see what the future brings!”
Listen to “Who You Were (Remix)” above and on all streaming services.
Bren Swogger (they/them) is the creator and editor of Indie/Alt Magazine. Bren started Indie/Alt as a music blog during their sophomore year of high school, and after a long hiatus, relaunched it as an online entertainment magazine in 2021 for their capstone project at Pacific University. After 10 years in the music journalism industry, Bren has a long-standing passion for live music, but also loves to explore their passion for other artistic outlets. You can find Bren writing voraciously, adding to their never-ending stack of TBRs, and marathoning classic horror films.