Born in Hawaii to Japanese parents, Karuna grew up surrounded by music. Her father, a classical music singer and DJ, regularly took her to concerts as a child. When she moved to Japan, Karuna fell in love with jazz after she saw the late Nancy Wilson sing at a club in Tokyo. She was blown away by the heart-wrenching interpretation of the master vocalist's signature song "Guess Who I Saw Today". Karuna also became obsessed with bossa nova after hearing the songs of João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim.
Prior to Karuna's journey as a musical artist and lyricist, she was a recognized face in broadcast journalism, first on Japan's NHK Television, then later on other international networks, including Asia Business News, CNN International, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation. For fifteen years Karuna was seen by millions of viewers around the world and was highly commended at the Asian Television Awards as Best News Presenter.
After leaving journalism and during a challenging period in her life, Karuna, now based in the Washington, D.C. area, turned to singing as a source of comfort. At this time, she also met her mentor Nanny Assis who, upon seeing her passion for music, agreed to produce her debut album of bossa nova classics and jazz standards in three languages - English, Portuguese, and Japanese.
Karuna's first album, "To Love Again", was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2022 WAMMIE Awards in Washington, D.C. The album isn't just about romantic love, but also reflects the human need for self-love and compassion for others. Karuna hopes that her music will help lift spirits and bring joy to her listeners, especially during difficult times.
© Hiro Ugaya