Karis McLarty: high-power lawyer by day, folk-pop star by night

Pic: Karis Mclarty

In the exclusive private members’ club Soho House, Karis McLarty sips a rosé and tells of her life as a human rights and women’s charity lawyer, heading the legal and regulatory compliance department of a top FTSE 120 company, her media appearances, and the band of which she is now lead singer.

McLarty is far from the Hollywood celebrity archetype. Where does she fit? “Political, academic young women that are seldom seen in the media,” she says. “Radio 4 regularly discusses women’s issues and topics but these are so often discussed by men.”

But McLarty is easily seen. She has appeared on Sky News, Channel 4, ITV News and regularly writes for various publications including the Sunday Times (Style and Culture), OK! magazine, Look! magazine amongst others.

She is a member of the Circle – a network of influential women who help empower women in politics throughout the world. She works with Annie Lennox and Nick Clegg’s wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, with whom she traveled to Uganda to work on the pan-African Maputo Protocol, which guarantees political and reproductive rights for women.

She said: “It’s a massive resource for women who help move things along. Annie is a pleasure to work with.”

Before this, she advised asylum seekers and the homeless at the Hackney Community Law Centre and worked as a senior lawyer at the British Medical Association.

Her work is influenced by her fascination with psychology. The paranoia most people feel in teenage years motivated her to study an Msc in psychology at the University of East London. She studies confidence and anger management and implements her studies working with prisoners to help strengthen their self-worth and free them from aggression. She teaches prisoners how to say: “How I feel.”

“To believe that what they feel matters. That is the most important thing.”

She saw at an early age that when someone is treated with respect they often return that respect. Her father kept an open door, letting friends and strangers alike borrow his car for free. In inner-city Liverpool this might be considered a risk but she describes how his clear respect and trust meant the car came back in “pristine condition”.

Aside from her work, McLarty enjoys her role as lead singer with Delirium Tremens. She calls the band an “indulgence – just for me.” She saw their first single go to Christmas number one in the Myspace unsigned charts.

She is also the new vocalist with electropop outfit My Toys Like Me, whose single ‘Come on Sunshine’ (released September last year) was called “claustrophobic folktronica perfection” by the Sunday Times Culture magazine.

Asked to sum up her newfound work: “It has been an amazing platform to discuss the things I believe.”

Delirium Tremens’ next two gigs are:

8pm, March 9 @ the 100 Club, Oxford Street W1

9pm, April 30 @ 93 Feet East, Brick Lane

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