Summit loves Katie
Big crowd at “The Voice” watch party
By Steve Metsch
There was a buzz in the air at Fergie & Foz, a tavern at 7245 Archer Avenue, and it wasn’t about Monday Night Football.
Dozens of friends, family and Summit residents had gathered to watch and cheer one of their own, 38-year-old Katie Kadan.
Katie is one of the performers competing this season on “The Voice,” an NBC TV series in which they – with the coaching of noted recording artists John Legend, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson – try to win a competition.
Legend is Katie’s coach. Fans vote on their phones and computers for performers. Those getting the most votes stay alive.
Katie’s mother, Cathy Kadan, was wowed by Monday’s large turnout
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “We were there (at the TV show) for the blind auditions, and went back again. I’m praying we are there for the finale.”
In the blind audition, contestants sing while the celebrity judges sit their backs facing her. If they turn around, they like the singer.
“Katie got four chair turns,” her proud mother said. “Everyone loved her.”
Since then, Katie keeps advancing. That’s no surprise, her mom said.
“The first time she sang at church, she was three years old,” Cathy said. “(Her voice) is soulful, dynamic and unique. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a voice like Katie’s.”
A professional musician, Katie has taught at the School of Rock in Chicago, her mom said. “She also gives private lessons, and is a voice coach and a piano teacher,” she said.
Like many in the crowd, Cathy wore a black T-shirt bearing the words “Katie Kadan Loves Me” in big letters.
Looking around, she said “there are some friends, some family and some people I’ve never met. It’s good to see fans.”
Fans include Joe and Marisa Cruz, who met Katie about five years ago when she performed in the area. “I met my wife through Katie,” Joe said.
“This is our first time watching the show,” Joe said. “Here’s someone who is the ‘Average Joe,’ part of the crowd, and she decided to step into herself, be confident in herself … She’s setting herself up for the next decade. This will change the trajectory of her life for the next 10, 20 years.”
Marisa said Katie is a good example for other young women.
“Being on this show, she’s been able to reach the masses of women either on that same path in the industry and (who) may have doubts, but to go out there. That’s for anybody. She’s been able to let people know if she can do it, anybody can do it,” Marisa said.
The Pavloski family was there in force Monday night. They live next door to the Kadan family.
“There was a lot of music, and excitement and loud voices. Katie and everybody, all singing,” Dennis Pavloski said. “I’m not surprised (by her success) … Her voice is something else.”
His wife, Crystal, said “her heart is as big as her voice.”
Dennis’ cousin, Garfield Ridge resident Dawn Pavloski, said Katie “is the sweetest (person) you’ve ever met. She’s absolutely genuine.”
Dawn described Katie’s voice is “Adele meets Amy Winehouse.”
Monday night, as she wore a stunning silver gown, Katie belted out “Without You,” a hit in 1972 for the late Harry Nilsson.
During the broadcast, in a recorded segment with Legend, Katie said “she is super excited to be (in the) Top 11. People like me and that feels really good.”
Legend asked about her newfound success.
“People all over the world are messaging me. Ten years ago, I couldn’t see past my insecurities. Now, to have the support of fans dressing up in headwraps and glasses. They pop out the lenses. It’s so sweet. What is happening? My life is changing and I like it,” she told Legend.
Legend said fans know Katie “has the power and range to do so many great things, and they wanted to hear powerful, emotional ballad.”
“A big part of being an artist is not just about the singing,” Legend said. “it’s about how you present a song.”
Present she did.
The folks at Fergie & Foz cheered when Katie was the first performer, watched with rapt attention and then cheered loudly when she finished.
After her performance, Clarkson said “that is how that song should be sang. That was so good. So Heartfelt. Emotional.”
Legend called it “utterly stunning” and praised her delivery of “such nuance, such grace, such poise, such control.
“And then, when it called for it, to give us those powerful, spiritual, anointed notes. It was incredible. I pity anyone who has to sing after you,” Legend said.
There will be more watch parties if Katie keeps advancing, bar owner Dena Bobek said.
After a Summit police officer told her about Katie, she asked her staff and they decided to host watch parties every Monday and Tuesday as long as Katie is in the running.
“Boom,” Bobek said, “all of sudden ‘The Voice’ is here and NBC is here.”
Bill Jennings, chief photographer for Channel 5 in Chicago, jumped at the chance to film a segment that aired on the 10 p.m. Monday news and during “The Voice.”
“This is a popular show for NBC and to have a hometown hero, it’s a big deal. I fell in love with Katie without even knowing where she was from,” said Jennings who was “blown away” when he heard Katie’s blind audition.
Jennings gladly volunteered to shoot the Monday night watch party: “The people here have been so nice.”
As the crowd dispersed, Cathy Kadan said she liked Katie’s song choice: “I was 21 when that came out.” And, like many, she hopes for many more watch parties.
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