Hitting the right notes: Singer Kat Perkins teaches students life lessons
What could you do if you lived your life without fear? It's a question singer Kat Perkins posed to Harrison Elementary School students when she visited the school Wednesday morning. Perkins grew up in Scranton, N.D., and appeared on season six of...
What could you do if you lived your life without fear?
It's a question singer Kat Perkins posed to Harrison Elementary School students when she visited the school Wednesday morning.
Perkins grew up in Scranton, N.D., and appeared on season six of NBC's "The Voice" where she advanced to the semifinals before being eliminated. She released her first single, "Fearless," in August of 2014.
There are three things it takes to be fearless, Perkins said. The first lesson is to be brave, she said, which means trying new things every day. People may get nervous when they try new things, she said, but that nervous feeling also represents excitement about learning something new.
"That feeling in your stomach is excitement," Perkins said. "And you have to remember to keep moving towards those things instead of running away from those things."
The second lesson to being fearless is if you can dream it, you can do it, Perkins said. When her dad asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told him she wanted to be a singer.
"All it takes is a little bit of hard work and perseverance," Perkins said.
The final lesson of being fearless is to be kind to everyone, Perkins said. In addition, she reminded the students that if they don't have anything nice to say to someone, they shouldn't say anything at all.
"If you are kind to other people, they will be kind right back to you," Perkins said.
Perkins, joined by guitarist Eric Warner, sang her song "Fearless" for the students. She and Warner also invited the students to join them in singing "Let It Go," from the movie "Frozen," a song and movie many parents are extremely familiar with.
It's fulfilling to talk to students about following their dreams because it's what Perkins wanted to do when she was in school, she said. She wanted to pursue her dream and live fearlessly, so she put together a program that tells students what she would have wanted to hear at their age.
"To just encourage them to do whatever they want to do and live fearlessly and have fun," Perkins said.
Talking with students frequently produces some fun moments, Perkins said, like when a student at Harrison said if he could live anywhere in the world, he would live in New Jersey.
"There's so many little moments that I have with these kids that are priceless," Perkins said. "They don't have a filter, they're just loving life and it's really fun to be around that."
Perkins will return to the Brainerd lakes area this summer to perform at Lakes Jam, she said. It's just as fulfilling to play a concert in front of screaming fans as it is to go into a school and talk to kids about pursuing their dreams, she said.
"It's still doing what I love," Perkins said. "This is a little more personable, and I like that aspect about being in a room full of kids."
Principal Cathy Nault was excited to see Perkins, she said, because she had voted for Perkins all throughout season six of "The Voice." Perkins also visited the Brainerd Learning Center Wednesday afternoon.
There was a spontaneous Scranton, N.D., reunion when Perkins saw Breena Clayton, who grew up across the street from Perkins in their hometown. Perkins knew Clayton lived in the area, but didn't know she would be at the school.
"I actually gave her her first French horn lessons," Perkins said. "I babysat them and I've known her since she was little."
It was stressful to watch Perkins on season six of "The Voice," Clayton said, as she was constantly voting for Perkins and reminding her friends to vote as well.
"It was cool to see someone you know on the show," Clayton said.
Perkins started singing at 3 years old and soon started begging her father, a longtime music teacher in Scranton, for a chance to sing a song at the school recital. She worked hard to learn and practice a song and got the chance to sing it in front of a packed gymnasium. She loved the experience so much, she said, that when she was done singing, all she wanted to do was sing the song again.
When she turned 18, Perkins moved to Minneapolis, where she sang, danced, acted and participated in theater. She auditioned for "The Voice" and was chosen to be on judge Adam Levine's team. She learned a lot from Levine, most notably how to be fearless.
"That means to do your best in a very weird and awkward and intense situation," Perkins said.