Charles Karel Bouley II
Creator, Exec. Producer, Host
He’s made history, changed state laws and been at the center of international controversies. He’s at home on a stage as he is in front of a camera or microphone, in a recording studio or on a set and has worked on them all. He’s entertained for years in the No. 2 and No. 4 radio markets in the country, Los Angeles and San Francisco on the No. 1 stations KFI and KGO. He’s written for Billboard, and then been featured in it as an artist; he’s been with the HuffingtonPost since it started and has published two books. He’s been a guest on every major cable network, helped pioneer the recent trend of reality TV for two years on cable TV and currently is on radio seven days a week. There’s even an App for him.
He is Karel.
Karel started his career on the opposite side of the business, working as a music journalist, photographer and publicist for some of the biggest magazines and artists in R&B music. A student of theatre, performing was a natural progression for him. After session and demo work, he enlisted the help of contacts made over the years to create his own project. He released four singles and an album independently, on his own record label to rousing success. He worked with incredible writers and producers, including Eddie Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), Steve Bronski (Bronski Beat), The Factory Team (Mauro Farina) and Thea Austin (Snap!, “Rhythm Is A Dancer”). Those projects were featured in all major national sales outlets and gained him media and public acclaim. His first album is still a strong seller and received many honors and was named to over 10 “Best Of” lists.
Live performances followed, where he opened for and/or performed with the brightest artists in Dance music, including Grace Jones, Bronski Beat, Dead or Alive and many more. It was on the tour circuit that he came to the attention of Jellybean Benitez (who produced hits for Madonna and a musical who’s who) and Jellybean immediately signed Karel to his label, Jellybean Recordings. To date, Karel has released two projects on Jellybean Recordings (“I Am” and “Take Your Heartache Away”) with Jellybean serving as Executive Producer.
Being a visual artist, Karel has starred in three music videos to support his musical releases, two of which he produced himself (“I Am” and “Live To Tell”).
His strong mixture of comedy and music on stage made him a natural for comedy clubs and he made his debut at the prestigious Comedy Store on Sunset in Hollywood, CA as one of the headliners in the Belly Room. He started appearing as a regular guest on a L.A. radio morning show, and soon had his own weekly talk show on air entitled “Different After Dark.” That show became a critical success and boasted many top name celebrity interviews. Karel again proved that if his talent was challenged, it would rise to the occasion. He, along with his partner Andrew Howard, went on to become the first openly gay male couple to host a major market radio show in drive time when KFI AM 640 put them on daily from 4pm to 7pm in 1999. The duo quickly beat their competition at KABC 790 and even gathered weekly total audiences comparable to Tom Leykis on KLSK. They continued at KFI until Howard’s unexpected death in May of 2001.
After his death Karel stayed at KFI while he began a wrongful death lawsuit that would end up changing the standing Domestic Partners had when it came to wrongful death suits. Karel’s suit originally got thrown out because the court said he had no standing with his partner under existing law. He changed that and went on to settle.
From KFI it dwas off to KGO San Francisco, a legacy 50,000 watt station, where his show remains to this day some 12 yeas later.
After creating national controversy and being fired for a year from KGO for an off-mike expletive that was inadvertently aired in 2008 he launched Karel Stands Up, a one man stage show with parody songs, comedy and satire and it has been a hit all along the West Coast of the United States. Receiving rave reviews every where he takes it and always being asked back, the show is another extension of this multifaceted performer. In March of 2009 he launched the Karel Cast on two stations and over the last five years it has grown to a national show complete with an App.
But while radio and journalism have been a strong focus, Karel’s heart lies on stage, in the studio (of all kinds) on the web, film and TV.
In 2013 he took the daily Karel Cast down to one hour, to concentrate on video projects and already is producing “Life in Segments” and debuting it on Free Speech TV in 2014. Now entering its fourth season, the show has received universal praise and has expanded distribution to include the GLBT App Revry and PlutoTV as well as VOD.
Through thousands of live performances (both musical and theatrical), hundreds of hours on radio and a series of acclaimed record releases, Karel is proving to be an unshakable force in today’s entertainment industry and will be one of the most enduring stars of the future, no matter what the medium.