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Humans of Oxford: Karen Mayet: Don't stop the beat

Claire Mullaney
Claire Mullaney

No matter what she's doing -- working, walking, sitting in class -- if you see Karen Mayet, odds are she's thinking about one thing: music.

At only 5 years old she tried to soothe her younger brother, Rod, who was fussing in the backseat, by creating her own lullaby.

She was awed by the melody's power to close his eyes, though now she admits that he probably fell asleep because he was 3 and it was late.

Rod fell asleep and Karen fell in love.

Two years later Karen was practicing on a small, homemade stage in her basement, made of wooden planks and the love of a mother. Karen rehearsed leading up to her audition for a kids talent show in Mexico, "Codigo F.A.M.A."

It was the first time she sang in front of people. Extremely nervous and with a producer watching, Karen sang 'in' words as opposed to singing them 'out' for others to hear. But all she knew was that she liked it.

She walked out and told her mom, "It's okay. If it went bad, I'll just audition every year until I get in."

Karen never auditioned again, but she did continue to write and sing. She recorded voice memos of her work until the seventh grade when she got her first instrument: an acoustic guitar. Her mom wouldn't let her buy an electric one.

"I'm forever grateful she wouldn't let me [purchase an electric guitar] because from then on, everything clicked," Karen explained. "Everything fell into place."

Her songwriting has become easier -- she composes and writes lyrics at the same time rather than separately. She writes about the people in her life and the people she hasn't found yet.

Karen auditioned for "America's Got Talent" late last semester. Since the producers only listen to acts for 30 seconds and few contestants actually appear on the show, she doesn't expect a call back.

She isn't giving up her music anytime soon, though.

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"It's a part of me," she laughs. "I hate saying that, it's so cliche. But it's true."