Naia Kete caught the attention of music superstars Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green when she auditioned for season two of NBC's Emmy Award-winning reality TV competition "The Voice." The Massachusetts-born singer-songwriter decided to join Team Blake, and thus found herself - and her pop-reggae sound - in the national spotlight.
Her tenure on "The Voice" saw her through to the Top 24. Following her successful audition with Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song," Kete prevailed over teammate Jordan Rager in the battle rounds, when they squared off over the Jason Mraz track "I'm Yours." In the first live round, however, her performance of Adele's "Turning Tables" wasn't enough to win America's vote, and she was eliminated from contention. (Following her exit from the show, Kete came up with a different take on the song; she released a reggae version of "Turning Tables" on YouTube.)
A regular performer on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Kete has continued to make music and evolve as an artist in the wake of the increased exposure that comes with reality television. Her recent original songs have included "Thunder Cry" and "Sweet Music." According to her official biography, she has written with the likes of Grammy Award nominee Linda Perry and Grammy winner Colbie Caillat.
She also records a number of covers for YouTube across a range of artists and genres, including takes on "Happy" (Pharrell Williams), "Let Her Go" (Passenger), "Royals" (Lorde), and "Mirrors" (Justin Timberlake). No matter what she's recording, her easygoing personality makes every track her own.
Another part of her musical signature is placing an importance on music as a tool for unification. Also in her biography, she states, "A lot of what I try to convey in my music is that I feel like it’s truly time for the people of the world to unite in order to create peace and joy. It has to start in the home, and next in your extended family and community." It's a worldly perspective blended with music that has an intimate, person-to-person feel.
Kete released her most recent EP, Fire Breather, in 2013; it features the single "Crazy Glue," which we've included with this article; in January 2014, she signed a record deal with BMG Chrysalis. She also plays regularly throughout the Southern California area and occasionally in other parts of the country, so you'll never be short of opportunities to hear from this rising artists. Keep up with Naia Kete at AXS.