Kat Perkins highlights being 'fearless' at Women's Edge speakers series kick-off in Detroit Lakes
Kat Perkins, 4th place finisher on season six of The Voice, delivered an impassioned speech about being fearless during the kick-off event of the Women's Edge speakers series, hosted by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, in Detroit Lakes' City Park on June 22.
DETROIT LAKES — The Women's Edge speakers series kicked-off with about 80 people in attendance at City Park on Wednesday.
The attendees came to see Kat Perkins, singer/songwriter and North Dakota-native who finished in fouth place on season six of The Voice, deliver remarks on how to live fearlessly. Before the event, Perkins said she was excited to take part in the speaking series and was proud to see women everywhere making positive strides forward in recent years. Adding that they are truly taking control of their own lives through business opportunities and ownership, with their voices and their connections to one another.
"I always think this is an important message, especially for women, to just know the difference between real fear and doubt," said Perkins. "When it comes to jumping at opportunities that sometimes we don't do, then we're talking about doubt, and I feel I can give them tools to walk out of here with, to just put it use, immediately. Everyone deserves that fearless approach, especially now after COVID."
Carrie Johnston, president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the Women's Edge series is a great way bring women, and men, together to network, but also learn from their speaker's stories that cross a range of different topics.
"Kat Perkins is kicking us off, and of course, she's got the music career, but, also, she's a little bit of a small town girl that has brought a lot of life to the area" said Johnston. "We're really looking for things that energize."
Perkins opened up to the crowd and told them what it was like growing up in Scranton, N.D. and how she always wanted to be a singer
"My father was the resident music teacher in that tiny, tiny town," said Perkins, during the event. "And my mother was the church organist in that little tiny town ... and my sister, I have an older sister, was also a musician and singer, so I just kind of joined this family of musicians and it was just kind of natural for me to want to sing and use my voice and be in front of people."
By age five, she said, she was begging her father for her own microphone and asking to sing at local events, which he ultimately okayed. Then, she began rehearsing and memorizing her first song: Eternal Flame by The Bangles. Admittedly, she said, when she took the stage for the first time in the mid-to-late 1980s, she had "the most beautiful mullet" and it matched her father's permed mullet.
"And I had no idea that when the spotlight was on, you couldn't see anyone in the audience, and I immediately got nervous and felt scared" she said. "And I closed my eyes, and I took a deep breath, I opened up my mouth and I sang that song and, when I got done, all I wanted to do was do it again, and again, and again, and again. From that day forward, I decided to live my life for music and that's exactly what I did."
She moved to the Twin Cities when she was 18 and experienced a large culture shock.
"I had never heard of thing called paying for parking," she said. "I didn't know how to really change lanes and negotiate traffic and I had never thought about taking public transportation and so I had a big learning curve."
But, while the experience was scary, she said, it was fascinating and exciting, so she knew she had made the right decision.
She ended up singing lead vocals for the Minneapolis-based rock band Scarlet Haze, which rose to local prominence after winning a battle of the bands to open up for Bon Jovi at Target Center in 2005.
However, her and the band's career took an unexpected turn when she began losing her voice while on an album-release press tour. She discovered a cyst on one of her vocal cords, which required surgery and a lot of speech and vocal therapy to regain her singing range. She said she fell into a depression without being able to sing and it wasn't until she took a job as a nanny that she regained some of her lost confidence from the kids she looked after.
She was cold-called with a show invite by an NBC producer for The Voice in 2014 after a video surfaced of her singing, "Someone Like You" by Adele, in an Amsterdam airport while her band was on a layover, she said. She accepted the producer's offer to be featured in a blind audition for the show. She ended up making it all the way to the finals, finishing fourth.
Before leaving the Women's Edge event, she sang her single, "Fearless," for the event attendees.
Perkins began doing public speaking events in schools about five years ago, but has since expanded to include different companies and team training events for adults.
She also said she is no stranger to the Detroit Lakes area.
"I used to play (at Zorbaz) with my band all the time," said Perkins. "I want to be here all the time in the summer time, especially for (4th of July), because I think your guys' Fourth of July celebration is like in the top 10 of the world."
The event was the first of three scheduled speaking events in the Women's Edge series. The next event will feature Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, who will discuss training the mind to achieve goals, and be held on Sept. 21. The final event will be held on Nov. 9 and feature Dr. Kerry Petsinger, who will discuss creating a routine that brings results.
"We're a community, we're networking together and young women can see that you might have a dream, but we also have lots of other people supporting you and wanting you to accomplish those dreams," said Johnston. "The more we can share that, learn from each other and keep growing, you'll see that community is so important and I think we're pretty lucky here in Detroit Lakes."