Kat Robichaud received her design degree from NC State in 2006, but except for a brief stint in graphic design she’s been trying to make it in the music business. Now, she’s a contestant on The Voice, an NBC reality show in which vocalists audition for spots on the team of one of four celebrity “coaches,” then battle it out to see who will make it to the finals. The winner gets a $100,000 recording contract.
We caught up with Robichaud to find out more about her music and her life.
You have an amazing voice. What kind of musical training did you have? I grew up watching musicals with my dad. Singing those songs over and over — ‘Liza!’ I was in the children’s choir in my church in Concord [N.C.] and in high school. I had vocal lessons and was in the high school chorus.
You were in a glam rock band, The Design, touring the east coast until the band broke up last year. Tell us how that came about. I loved to sing and I had always wanted to be in a band. I worked at Sushi Blues as a waitress while I was at State. Blues bands would play there, and my boss was nice enough to let me sing with them. The bands were getting kind of sick of me — like, why doesn’t she get her own band? I found a cover band named Sugar that was looking for a singer. [Later the band changed its name to The Design.]
Were you still in school when you started playing with the band? I joined my senior year in school. I had an internship with a graphic design firm after I graduated but I had to quit. I was already making a living with music. My parents were thrilled – it was like, we paid for you to go to college and now you’re not even using what you learned?
When did you find out you were a contestant on The Voice? I had made connections with some guys at Sony, and they recommended me to The Voice casting directors. I got the first call in November…. I auditioned in Atlanta in January, then had to wait to hear that I’d made it. Then they flew me to L.A. to audition before the executive producers, then I waited several more months to hear if I’d made it…. When we auditioned for the blind auditions we were there [in L.A.] for three weeks, taking lessons, signing a bunch of legal stuff, doing hair and makeup.
For your first performance you picked Kiki Dee’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” How did you make that choice? I had been to a drag show and saw a drag queen perform it, and I said, ‘That’s fierce, I’m going to do it.’
What’s on your iPod? All my friends’ music from The Voice — I’m downloading their music….There’s always some Queen and David Bowie. Musicals. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara. “Applause” by Lady Gaga. I’ve got some of CeeLo Green’s stuff on there, too.
Your husband, Guillaume Robichaud, who received his master’s in engineering in 2011, is now a Ph.D. candidate at NC State in chemistry. How did you meet him? I met him at a show. He was working for GE in Virginia, and my band had been together for a little over a year. We were performing…. I looked across the audience, and I saw this tall, skinny, shaggy dude and I thought, I have got to talk to him and he is my soul mate…. I gave him my email address. It took an hour to drive home, and when I got home I had a really long email from him.
He’s from Quebec. Does he speak French? French is his first language. …He learned English by watching Seinfeld.
What will you sing in the next battle round? “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith. I’m singing with R. Anthony [a gospel singer from Tampa, Fla.].
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Tune in tonight at 9 p.m. EDT for a chance to see Robichaud perform.
–Sylvia Adcock ’81