Katia Cardenas - Professional, Dynamic, Inspiring


Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Katia grew up in a musical family. Her mother, Janis Kelly, is an accomplished vocalist, who sang with Maurice White and the Emotions, and opened for Rufus & Chaka Khan, Tower of Power and Carole King. Her father, Mark Cardenas, is a professional keyboardist, and a Platinum and Gold recording artist, whose credits include Prince, Morris Day and the Time, Janet Jackson, and The Song Catchers (featuring Charles Neville). From an early age, she was raised on a strict diet of funk, soul, and r&b. She received a Waldorf education, which taught her a deep appreciation for the arts, and a passion for singing. Being so surrounded by music, a musician's life was second nature to her. In junior high, she moved to Sacramento, California, where she sang in select choirs, jazz and show choirs, and developed a passion for musical theater.

At 16, she attended the Visual and Performing Arts Charter School, where she became deeply involved in music, theatre, and dance. At 17, she joined her mother's band, The Groove Ambassadors, as a lead and back up vocalist. In addition to gigging regularly clubs throughout Sacramento, The Groove Ambassadors gained critical acclaim, performing at such distinguished events as  Gov. Schwarzenegger's Inauguration, and the City-wide Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also sang regularly at the Christ Unity Church, as a guest soloist and a member of the house band. 


Desiring a change of scenery, Katia moved to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend Macalester College. She joined The Sirens, an all-female a cappella group on campus, in which she became a featured soloist and arranger. She performed at many on-campus events, and developed a dedicated following, winning first place in the "Macalester Idol," college-wide singing competition in her senior year.  She also sang with It's a Trap, a rock and blues quartet featuring guitarist Max Kulicke (of the Twin Cities' acclaimed Carroll), and Late Night Menu, a co-ed a cappella group. 

In 2010, Katia graduated with a major in Psychology, and a minor in Theatre, and pursued a career as a theatre arts educator. On the music side, she saw some local success with Late Night Menu, co-composing and directing an original a cappella musical, "Zombie High School" for the 2010 MN Fringe Festival, which was named "Best Musical" by FringeFamous.com. Katia was also the group's featured soloist in their audition for NBC's "The Sing-off."  After the group disbanded in 2011, she performed occasionally in duos and as a featured soloist at events across the Twin Cities. She was also regularly invited to sing for special events "back home" in Sacramento, CA, as well as in Boulder, CO, and Seattle, WA.

With Global Soul Experience, at Conor O'Neill's, Boulder, CO, Dec. 2013 (From right, Janis Kelly, Katia Cardenas, Emily Williams)

With Global Soul Experience, at Conor O'Neill's, Boulder, CO, Dec. 2013 (From right, Janis Kelly, Katia Cardenas, Emily Williams)

In spring 2013, after realizing how little music was in her life, Katia decided to make a change--and pursue her dream of singing professionally. She has since recorded a demo (click on "Music" page, to listen), recorded professional with Organica Productions  and Essential Sessions Studios, and joined Twin Cities musicians in various music projects. Such projects have included The Honeyspooners, a local wedding band, and the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (performing member), a cabaret singer's network dedicated to preserving the art of storytelling through song. She has also been recruited to perform with out-of-state groups, including Red Dog Zen (Seattle, WA), and Global Soul Experience (Boulder, CO). She is currently performing across the Twin Cities, under her own name, with some of this town's finest jazz and r&b instrumentalists. 

Specializing in jazz, soul, and r&b, Katia is a gifted vocalist with a passion for bringing energy and soul to her performance. She brings emotional authenticity to every song, and strives to bring people together through the universal experience of music. Her influences include Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Carole King and Eva Cassidy, to name a few.

Katia Cardenas is currently available for booking clubs, weddings, private events, festivals and special appearances.  

To contact Katia directly, click on the "Contact" page, and connect via email.