After appearing on NBC’s hit show, The Voice, Naia Kete’s musical career has continued to blossom. This bright, young singer/songwriter from Massachusetts, best known for her signature style of soulful pop-reggae with a hint of jazz, has been working with great artists such as Colbie Caillat and Linda Perry on her brand new EP, Fire Breather (digital version now available). In addition to writing her original music, she also arranges impressive reggae covers of pop songs on her You Tube Channel.
When she’s not in the studio, you can catch Naia Kete doing what she does best – performing live! Recently, Naia performed the Monterey Bay Reggaefest that featured artists and bands like Rebelution, Slightly Stupid, Collie Buddz and Matisyahu. She’ll be back on tour this summer and will appear at various music festivals.
We caught up with Naia to talk about her experience on The Voice, her new EP and much more!
How has your experience on NBC’s The Voice (with Team Blake Shelton) helped you develop into the artist you are today?
Being on The Voice was a stepping stone on my ever evolving path as an artist in this industry. Having the opportunity to be involved with something that has such massive exposure, really taught me to make sure that I’m really clear about not just who I am, but make sure it comes across. I think that was the biggest takeaway.
You incorporate many musical genres into your signature style of reggae. What genres do you find blend the easiest and why?
I lean very naturally to the pop/soul side of reggae music. Part of that is due to my musical influences, but really, it’s just what naturally happens. I sit down with my guitar and play what I feel, then the world puts it into a category.
How did your musical career start? When did you discover you could sing?
I grew up in a family band so singing and writing and playing music wasn’t just something we did, it was a way of life and something I was always passionate about. I played in my parents’ reggae band from the time I was 13 until I was 17. Then a year later I had released my first solo EP. The rest is history.
Where do you gather inspiration for your original music?
I gather inspiration from my own personal life experiences, as well as stories I hear from friends and family and current global issues. My third EP Fire Breather is now available worldwide. I’m happy to have collaborated with such greats as Colbie Caillat, Linda Perry, Mikal Blue, and many others to make it the best collection of songs I’ve put out to date.
Where can your fans see you perform live? Will you be on tour this summer?
My band and I going to be playing major festivals this summer including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and High Sierra. We’ll have filler dates in between at various venues around the country. New dates being added all the time at www.naiakete.com
We love your reggae covers of various pop songs you feature on your You Tube Channel. Which song was the most challenging to transform into a reggae version?
Well, I don’t ever try and tackle a song that I don’t hear a reggae rhythm too; however, I definitely think the most surprising was our version of “Trojans” by Atlas Genius. If anyone hears the original of that I bet they never would have been able to imagine the ways we ended up changing it.
Who or what influenced you to become a reggae artist?
First and foremost my family. But I’ve always just had a deep love for reggae that wasn’t going to go anywhere.
Who are your favorite reggae artists in the industry today? Which ones would you like to collaborate with?
Well, I just came off of a three day reggae festival in Monterey that included incredible bands like Rebelution, Slightly Stupid, Collie Buddz and Matisyahu. They’re all out on incredible live shows and I’d be psyched to collaborate with anyone of them.
Why do you think our genre is so popular around the world?
Reggae brings people together and can be the perfect fit for any emotion, mood or theme. Whether you just want to dance and laugh with your friends, cry over lost love or call for a revolution, you can do that through reggae music.
Is there anything else you would like people to know?
*Special thanks to Naia Kete for taking the time to speak with us!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Naia Kete