Kat Perkins, semifinalist on the NBC show "The Voice", spoke to our Cotter junior high students on Wednesday, November 6.
Kat's message of living fearless and leaving your comfort zone began with her telling her story. She told our students that she knew she wanted to be a singer since she was three years old. As she grew up, she sang more and started a band. Early in her career, Kat and her band were climbing the ranks in the music industry. They had a record deal and their songs were being played on the radio.
Then one day, Kat's throat began to hurt. She described it as feeling like she had "swallowed glass" and immediately went to the doctor. The doctor told her to she had a cyst on her vocal chords and it required surgery. At that point she was dropped from her record label, her bandmates joined other bands, and she didn't know if she would ever sing again.
After her surgery, Kat became a nanny for a family in the Twin Cities. The youngest of the children, Emma, would beg Kat to stay late and watch a TV show with her. One night, after Kat agreed to stay, Emma turned on "The Voice." Ironically, not long after, Kat received an email from a producer of the show. The producer asked Kat to tryout for the show after he had seen a video of her singing on YouTube.
Kat admitted to our students that she was terrified. She didn't want to fail on TV in front of 15 million people and she didn't want to disappoint the children she cared for. She told our students that the turning point came during a conversation with those children. She asked them why she should tryout for "The Voice" and their reply was simple, "Why wouldn't you?" That question shifted her mindset. Was she supposed to tell the children that she was afraid to fail? No. She took a risk, stepped outside her comfort zone, and tried out for the show. The rest is history.
After she told her story, Kat told our students her motto for living fearlessly. There are three steps. 1. Be brave. 2. Dream it. Do it. 3. You be you.
Kat said that her coach on "The Voice", Adam Levine, told her that nothing ever grows on the safe side of fear. He taught to her step over that line and out of her comfort zone. Being brave comes in all forms. Try new things, do the right thing even if it isn't the popular thing, and step out of your comfort zone to grow. She also said that if we can dream it, we can do it. Some dreams may seem impossible, but there is always a way. Finally, she told the students to always be themselves. Some days it may not be easy, but in the long run it will pay off. We know ourselves better than anyone and we know what we want to do.
After her talk, Kat sang. It was amazing. She sang her song "Fearless" which she wrote about her journey on "The Voice." She also sang the rock song, "Barracuda" by the band "Heart." The students were rocking along with her.
In the spirit of being fearless, Kat invited 7th grader, Milana Shira, up on stage to sing. Milana has been playing locally and has taught herself several songs. She performed "Jolene" for her classmates. Kat praised Milana for being brave enough to step on stage and perform.
Kat will be performing her "Home for the Holidays - A Kat Perkins Christmas" as part of the Highway 61 Concert Series on November 24 in the St. Cecilia Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online for the show.