"In school, I was always the girl who would sing at parties or proms or talent shows. I never got to sit in the audience," says singer and WMAL-AM weekend host Karen Henderson. These days she doesn't get much chance to sit at all: She performs six nights a week in the Early Light Lounge of the Sheraton Washington, "leaving one show early" on weekends for her WMAL duties. "It means getting up early in the morning during the week to go program and do personal appearances. And it means that when I get off the air at six o'clock the next morning, I go right to the typewriter and program for the next night's show before I can go home and sleep and go back to work that night," Henderson ends with a rush.
The 1969 graduate of Jeb Stuart High School in Falls Church insists that "if you love work, it's a good life." Her first professional engagement was at Mr. Henry's Georgetown in 1969. Five years ago, pop star Jack Jones flew in from Las Vegas to produce a Henderson demo after the two singers met while working in clubs around the corner from each other. "He took the tape with him, and I never heard another word. Hollywood disappears!" Henderson sighs. She has since produced her own single ("Tomorrow" and "Send In the Clowns"), though she admits, "I didn't make my money back and my basement has a few left." Henderson also has cut a number of voice-over commercials, including national sports for USAir and Allegheny Airlines. Henderson, who turns 30 this year, admits, "I don't think I ever had a normal life. I don't hold much hope of having a family or anything rich now; I'm pretty much immersed. It's my job to let other people have a good time."