INTERVIEW: Karmin Contemplated Covering Whitney on ‘SNL’; Explains ‘Cheerio’ Line in ‘Brokenhearted’

Amy Heidemann idolized Whitney Houston as a child. She can remember singing along to Houston’s hits, attempting to mimic those massive vocal runs. The Berklee graduate dreamt that one day she could become as famous as the icon.

Little did Heidemann know as a child growing up in Nebraska that a weird twist of fate would prevent her from ever meeting Houston. Yet, this same twist would position the superstar uniquely in her fan’s career and life.


Heidemann and fiancé Nick Noonan have gained fame as the duo Karmin. First, it was their cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” The video went viral on YouTube to the tune of over 60 million views. An appearance on “Ellen” and a national media tour followed, and then Epic Records called. Now Karmin is touring the country to promote its single, “Brokenhearted,” which is off the group’s debut album, due out this spring.

The night of February 11, Karmin was preparing to perform “Brokenhearted” on “Saturday Night Live.” About two hours prior to show time in New York, news broke from Los Angeles that Houston had been found dead in her hotel room. Heidemann revealed on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that before the show, there was talk backstage about the duo paying tribute to the fallen star by covering one of her songs, as they had done with so many other artists on the band’s YouTube channel.

“[Houston’s] like covering Adele, or The Beatles; it’s really difficult to tackle something like that,” she explained. “We decided not to in the end of it.”

Heidemann clarified that when Karmin does attempt to perform a tough song, it usually comes with modifications.

“I mean, we did a couple of [Adele’s], but we changed them so much,” she said. “We weren’t like karaoke Adele; we changed the arrangement to fit our style.”

Karmin’s style is captivating fans worldwide. The group’s break out original single, “Brokenhearted,” is receiving airplay on radio stations across the country. It is an up-tempo track with a bittersweet plot.

“I was in the studio and I’m talking about taking Patron shots, alone, waiting for the phone to ring,” Heidemann recalled of the recording session for the single. “It’s tense, and all of the sudden, [the producers] were like, ‘Just improvise on this next take.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, cheerio!’”

Alas, a catchphrase which would be used throughout the entire song was born. Thankfully for Heidemann, the only thing she has to wait for in her personal life is to set a wedding date with Noonan. Perhaps not so thankfully for him, Noonan’s fiancée is actually quite the fan of tequila (“in responsible amounts” she insists). Cheerio.

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