Creating Fame: Raleigh Rockstar Kat Robichaud
Kat Robichaud loves Doctor Who, glam rock, and Labyrinth’s delicious Goblin King. She hangs out with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, drawing inspiration from their raw, unrestrained creativity. And if you know anything about the downtown Raleigh scene, you’ve probably heard her unmistakable music.
Maybe she was in your class at NC State, or served you a plate of sashimi at Sushi Blues. But Kat hasn’t played in Raleigh for a while, ever since her stint on The Voice catapulted her out of the local music scene and onto the national stage.
With the razzle-dazzle of glam rock, captivating cabaret, and glossy geek and sci-fi references, Kat Robichaud’s unique sound carries through in her new album release, a Kickstarter triumph generated by the passion of her fans. Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits is a symphony of rock, oddities, and wonder.
Known for her powerhouse voice and a stage presence remiscient of David Bowie, Kat quickly developed a pack of howling Raleigh fans when she nabbed a spot in the Top 10 on The Voice.
But even before she sang atop that enchanting gold piano, she was already rocking local venues like Lincoln Theater. Fame doesn’t come easy, but Kat’s creativity and determination have kept her music career on an upward spiral.
- Candid Slice
- I know you learned a lot about the power of asking, inspired by artist Amanda Palmer. First of all, what’s it like to suddenly meet and share the stage with one of your personal heroes? How has learning to “ask” empowered you as a musician? Do you think that sense of freedom influenced the music you created for this album?
- I was in the studio, recording “She Keeps Me Warm” for iTunes when I saw that Amanda Palmer was following me on Twitter. I geeked out pretty hard. I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s a very surreal experience to be able to perform with someone you’ve admired for years, and she is mesmerizing. I recently hung out with her backstage during her book tour, and I told her that she said things in her book that I had needed to hear for such a long time, and we had a hug.
- I highly recommend any musician to read “The Art of Asking” and to get over this aloof sense of “the artist must be mysterious and untouchable at all times”. I feel very lucky that I don’t have to make decisions on my own, that I can ask my fans what they think. I’m one of a zillion artists trying to make it in this industry, and there is no way I’ll ever be successful without their support. Being able to connect with so many people on a day to day basis is empowering.
- Thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter and Kickstarter. Kickstarter (and The Voice, of course) gave me the opportunity to make the album that I have always wanted to make, with no one saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t do that.” It’s straight from my heart and head, completely unfiltered. I hope that’s a good thing! haha
- Candid Slice
- One thing I absolutely love about this album is the theatrical style, reminiscent of David Bowie, musical theater, and Vaudeville. Of course, I also love the Doctor Who inspired song! What’s your favorite song on the album?
- Hmmm…everyone keeps asking me that. “Rockstars Don’t Apologize” is up there, although whenever I apologize to a band member now, they tease me. “Rockstars don’t apologize, Kat!” “Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, har har.” I especially love the derailment at the ending, with Eliot (my guitarist’s) little Marc Bolan-y bit. I wanted a theatrical album so I hired theatrical people.
- Candid Slice
- I know you met Amanda Palmer and (so jealous) Neil Gaiman. Do you have any particularly memorable experiences you’d like to share with your fans? What has been your favorite part of this whole process?
- When I first met Neil, he was sitting in the green room of the Town Hall Theater in New York in a black t shirt, putting a playlist together for the pre-show on his laptop. He played some music inspired by The Simpsons, and I asked him what it was like to be a guest voice on the show. He said it had been fun playing the bad guy. I said, “Aw, you weren’t bad. You were just standing up against The Machine.” Neil said, “I was the bad guy.”
- I thought that was really sweet. It stuck with me. He also slipped some wine to me in a red solo cup through a crack in the changing room door while Amanda raced around, readying herself and making last minute changes for the show. He and Amanda were the first people to hear the finished album and Neil was the first to see the Doctor Who music video. They’re such lovely, supportive people.
- Candid Slice
- I’m sure your fans would love to know what you’ve been up to since you left North Carolina. What types of acts have you been doing out in California? Have you missed us back here in Raleigh?
- I miss Raleigh quite a bit. I miss the seasons, although San Francisco probably goes through all four seasons on any given day. Only a fool leaves their apartment without several layers. It’s nearly impossible to get said layers off before you’re covered in sweat brought on by a sudden heat wave, and then you’re freezing because it’s cold again and you’ve perspired through your shirt. That also stems from the fact that I walk everywhere. Fun fact: San Francisco has hills.
- Since I’ve lived here, I’ve put together a west coast Darling Misfit band and we’ve started wreaking havoc in the city with a residency at The Boom Boom Room, elephant masks and all. I also joined a David Bowie tribute/performance art band called The First Church of The Sacred Silversexual and we just sold out at The Chapel on Valencia. We sing Bowie songs accompanied with drag performances and we treat Bowie lyrics as doctrine. “In the name of Bowie, can I get a Wham Bam?” And the crowd thunders back, “THANK YOU MA’AM.” I’m also performing with drag and cabaret artists.
- Last night I sang back up for the fabulous Trixxie Carr in a one-night-only tribute to Hall and Oates. Next month I’ll be filling in as the lead singer of the Smashup Derby, The DNA Lounge’s Bootie Mashup band, and I’ll perform with Jillian Gnarling as she competes in Heklina’s Star Search drag pageant. I didn’t have the opportunity to get involved in other people’s projects in Raleigh, and it’s the most amazing fun. And I find that the more I put myself out there, the more opportunities I have. I’m staying busy. And being busy makes me happy.
- Candid Slice
- Will there be future albums to look forward to? Anything else you’d like to share about your album or say to your fans?
- Absolutely. But first thing’s first: I gotta get this new album out to everyone! I’m releasing it digitally through RED on January 27th. You can pre-order it on iTunes and Amazon. For now, I won’t sell hard copies online, so if you’re not a kickstarter backer, you’ll have to come to Lincoln Theater on February 20th to get your signed album! I cannot wait to perform for my Raleigh darlings again. And I’ll say this- San Francisco is a cool city, but nothing will ever compare to NC Bar-B-Que. Someone please bring Smithfields to the show.
Pre-order the album:
See Kat Robichaud live at the Lincoln Theatre: Kat Robichaud and The Darling Misfits w/ The Hell No and TBA, Friday, February 20 9pm. Tickets $12 Adv/$15 day of show. Doors open 8pm / Show begins 9pm.