Karina is of Dominican and Armenian descent. Her first language was Russian, and she can sing in 6 other languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, and French. She first began taking piano lessons at the age of three from her babysitter, and began classical piano training while in kindergarten. She began working with a vocal coach at age eight, and attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City.
In 2003, Pasian met Quincy Jones, who invited her and her family to his home in Bel Air, California. Soon after this, Pasian performed and won on Star Search. She also performed at Quincy Jones’ We Are The Future concert in Rome. On June 22, 2007, Pasian performed at the White House for President George W. Bush, in celebration of Black Music Month, making her the first person of Dominican descent to perform there.