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Southwest Spotlight: She’s got ‘The Voice’: Scranton native to appear on NBC singing show

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Kelly Robinson has never performed in front of millions of people. But she still gets butterflies watching her younger sister sing for large crowds.

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In fact, Robinson said recently, she’s probably just as nervous as Kat Perkins when the latter takes the stage.

“I find myself constantly having to remind myself that she enjoys this and she’s great at what she does,” Robinson wrote in an email to The Press on Friday. “The nerves never get the best of her, but they get the best of me! I’ve known for a long time how great of an artist Kat is and now I feel like America will get to it, too.”

Television viewers — millions of them — will get that chance very soon. Kat, 33, is one of the featured performers auditioning for the hit NBC show “The Voice,” during its upcoming season, which begins Monday.

Both natives of the small southwest North Dakota town of Scranton — where their father, Mark Perkins, works as the school’s band director — Robinson said it feels like she has been on her sister’s journey to potential musical stardom every step of the way.

“It’s all very exciting and, of course, we’re all proud of Kat,” Robinson stated in the email. “As a big sister, I couldn’t be more proud of the artist but, more importantly, the person she has become. I can’t wait for people to see her audition for ‘The Voice.’ It’s a great opportunity for this small-town girl trying to make it big.”

Kat’s family doesn’t even know exactly when her audition will appear on the show, Mark Perkins said, though they’ve been told it will be sometime within the first three weeks of the season. The show airs Monday and Tuesday night.

NBC’s rules for show state that contestants are not allowed to grant interviews with media members until the second week of March.

“We know for sure it won’t be this week, but it will be on an upcoming show,” Mark said. “This is the chance of a lifetime for Kat. She’s been in the business for a long time, but this is something that could really catapult her career if it turns out right. Kat showed a lot of talent at an early age and showed a lot of interest in singing and performing. Living in a small area, there wasn’t a lot to do. But she, from about the age of 15, always wanted to be in the music business.”

Now based out of Minneapolis, Kat remains close with Robinson, who lives with her husband and three kids in the Twin Cities suburb of St. Michael, Minn. The 1999 graduate of Scranton High School still has a strong following in her hometown.

“Everybody here remembers her,” Mark said. “The whole town is pretty excited. It’s been the talk of the town lately. There are a lot of people around here who watch the show. I’ve heard people say before, hey, Kat should audition for ‘The Voice,’ probably not really thinking it would happen. In a way, it’s kind of overwhelming to think that she could go for something that big and get on.”

Already a seasoned artist, Kat has performed with the bands Dirty Word and Scarlet Haze, and has even opened for rock legends Bon Jovi at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

In 2002, Mark said, Kat also auditioned for “American Idol,” and made it through a number of cuts but fell short of the show’s televised rounds.

Mark said Kat didn’t plan on doing another music audition show, but couldn’t pass up the chance to be on “The Voice.”

“It’s going to be kind of surreal,” Mark said. “We’ve been in the audience many times, but nothing this big. We were in Minneapolis when she opened for Bon Jovi in 2005 and that was a really neat experience, but there hasn’t been anything that will hold a candle to this.”

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Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
(701) 456-1207
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