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Karen Lehner- Nothing Personal, But . . .

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Sunday, August 24, 2003
"You don't, and you can't, outguess the universe. It's not that by saying the right prayer or throw salt over your shoulder or whatever superstition you follow, you can avoid things, sometimes they just happen. Good and bad."

Talking about the inspiration for her new single Nothing Personal, San Francisco's Karen Lehner is upbeat and open about the inspiration for her new single Nothing Personal.

"For example, someone who is a lousy person can win the lottery while someone who's a real saint can have nothing and be robbed," she continues.

"It's what you do with happens to you that matters, that's where you have control. The message then, is not to take life too personally. Life happens."

While most dance tracks remain instrumental or mono-syllabic, Lehner's approach is to merge her thoughtful, interesting lyrics with club beats and sounds and for Nothing Personal she's turned again to ex drum & bass maestro Jamie Myerson and former S Express man Pete Lorimar. Myerson previously appeared on her debut UK single Made To Order and is also contributing sounds to her upcoming album, scheduled for release towards the end of the year. For Lehner, though, currently recuperating from breaking her hand in a biking accident, her focus (and life) remains Nothing Personal. Jonty Skrufff posed the questions.

Skrufff: I understand Nothing Personal is also about the break-up of a significant relationship, is it about an experience you personally had-

Karen Lehner: "My music is definitely inspired by life experiences, not all the time, though concerning this song, for sure, yeah, but there are definitely two meanings to the song. On one level it discusses how someone tells you they don't want to see you any more how can you not take that personally- It's definitely about that but the main reason I wrote it was to talk about the random lousy things that can happen to you in life. Such as when someone tail-ends you, you're sitting at a red light then someone crashes into your rear, you didn't do anything, you were just sitting there following the rules, when something happened.

But then, there are things in relationships when people say the problem's not you, it's me, it's nothing personal, but you still experience that personal pain. In general something really lousy happened to me and I thought, I followed all the rules, I did all the right things, yet this happened. I understood that I can't spend my life trying to figure out everybody's rulebook. Who's to say what religion is right, I just want to live my life as close to the truth as I can, try to do the good stuff and do the best I can with what's given to me. That's where the song came from."

Skrufff: Are you a believer in Nietzsche's philosophy of whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger-

Karen Lehner: "Another spin on that is if someone slams a door then a window opens somewhere else. I'm definitely more of a glass is half full kind of person and I'd rather be an informed optimist than an informed pessimist. They both have the same information, one sees hope, the other sees none."

Skrufff: What's Jamie Myerson's role been on the new track-

Karen Lehner: "He's done a radio edit remix, then we also have the 29 Palms dance remix by Pete Lorimar, which is very different. Jamie and I have worked on some other tracks together in the studio but for this one I sent him the parts and he mixed them himself."

Skrufff: You're based in San Francisco yet devoting lots of energy to the UK for this record, what draws you over here-

Karen Lehner: "For one thing I find the UK scene is much more vibrant, people have much wider musical tastes and there's an openness and also a passion that people have in the UK for real music. Not carbon copy, cookie cutter assembly line music where everyone sounds like a slightly different version of the same thing. From my experience of just going into the record stores in the UK you have so many dif