Kari grew up in Peoria, Illinois where she was inspired by fellow Peoria-native Dan Fogelberg, as well as by James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and John Denver. By age nine there was no doubt that she would be a singer.
After years of piano lessons, Kari learned to play guitar using a Gibson 12-string. She still prefers to perform her unique picking patterns on a twelve string guitar.
In high school choirs and choral groups she auditioned for, she was repeatedly told her voice was unique. Often rejected from choral groups for having a voice that stood out too much, Kari turned that supposed liability into an asset, singing with ensemble groups and as a solo act ever since. It is her uniqueness that makes her a pleasure to listen to.
"I finally realized it wasn't a bad thing that I didn't fit in musically," says Kari. "I saw that what was unique about me could be a positive asset."
Kari has spent years on the road, touring with bands, and at times by herself, throughout the United States, Canada and East Africa.
In 1992 Kari married Tom Hilpert, a pastor, writer and fellow musician. They have four children. Kari continued her pursuit of music through marriage and motherhood, singing locally and producing an independent album, Come Follow in 1997. In 2003 Kari and her family moved to the Nashville area where she has continued to develop both her writing and performing. She is currentl yworking on another independent album.
As an artist and a songwriter, Kari has her own special sound and style. Her voice stands out, and doesn't fit most traditional categories. She primarily writes mainstream music, but her vibrant faith has led her to also write Christian songs, many of which are found on the Come Follow album. Her music, regardless of genre, is infused with a sense of joy and hope, carried along by soaring melodies and tight, unusual harmony.