“Music is my therapy, and I give therapy to others through my music,” Karen Linette said. She’s preparing for a concert in D.C. on May 11, her birthday.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — A soul singer from Silver Spring has learned that life has a way of remixing itself.
It’s been one month since the explosion and fire at Friendly Garden Apartment Complex forced more than 100 people out of their homes. Montgomery County officials said it was caused by a maintenance worker accidentally cutting a gas line.
Vocalist Karen Linette, who performed on WUSA9 in 2018, is one of the dozens displaced from the explosion. She’s called Friendly Garden Apartments home for most of her life, but now most everything she owns is still inside, including her treasured 30-year collection of music memorabilia.
“I have … what I call, the musical vault which contains over 3,000 CDs. I have vinyl albums. 45s — if people remember those — even a few cassettes,” she said in an interview with WUSA9.
Although at some point, she will be allowed back to her residence to recover her items, she called the experience of displacement “devastating.”
“Just goes to show how life can turn upside down in a matter of moments,” she said.
On the day of the explosion on March 3, Linette said she left for work wearing the clothes on her back, not realizing that would be all she’d have access to for weeks to come.
“I get a phone call a couple of hours later from a friend, actually on the other side of the country asking if I were okay, and then that’s when I learned of the devastation.”
Linette, who comes from a family of musicians, said she still finds the explosion “surreal.” But, she’s found strength through her love of music.
“Music is my therapy and I give therapy to others through my music,” she said.
— Megan Rivers (@MegMRivers) April 3, 2022
During her interview with WUSA9, Linette burst into song, with her sultry voice, singing the title song from her album “Upside of Life.”
She sang the lyrics, “Step by step, round by round I’m reaching not too high your ground.”
“It’s inspirational,” she said of the song. “[It’s] about just to … pressing forward and so that is now my true theme song.”
“Taurus season is almost upon us[.] I’ve been thru the FIYAH[.] But Lordt willing, it’ll be MY BIRTHDAY! Celebrate with me, won’t you?,” she wrote, promoting her birthday performances, on Instagram.
Family and friends have supported Linette during this difficult time. A GoFundMe page for her has received more than $7,000 of donations.
Linette said she’s been living with a friend and is looking forward to the day when she can get access to her things that survived the explosion.
When asked what she misses most about living at Friendly Gardens, Linette – used to making sound for a living – said it’s the quiet.
“My solitude, this was a nice, quiet community, friendly community.”