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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kanika Feaster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kanika Feaster. 

Hi Kanika, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am a wife, mother to a beautifully loving 4-year-old daughter, and career executive. Like many ambitious women, I have a side hustle that I am very passionate about. Which brings me to my love of entertainment. From a young girl, I’ve always been on stages performing. From dancing to modeling, public speaking to winner of local pageants, dramatic reading, and dance competitions. I’ve acted in plays, musicals, and movies. I’ve had the opportunity to produce and host talk and music entertainment tv shows that have aired on local and regional tv networks and radio. My fondness for music has opened up a new chapter of creative expression. Ironically my husband is a professional sound engineer, musician, and music producer. In both meeting him and working with him on various music projects, I started my first band. I had no idea this would have prepared me for where I am today as a singer, songwriter, and lead frontwoman of Pop/Rock band The Upstarters. As a female artist who frequently is on stages where there are few women-led bands, and where I am many times the only woman of color, I am very proud to have established a good reputation of being not only a high energy showman and powerful vocalist, but also a lyricist that frequently performs /write socially themed songs that make people dance. This year, I’ve begun writing a catalogue of songs for placement into movies and tv shows. I’m also working on the 3rd Upstarters album and my second solo album which will debut lots of colorful songs around current socially poignant topics, female empowerment, loving life, and having fun. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Like the saying goes, Entertainment is a business. Although it is easy to assume success comes overnight, this business is not just about social media follows. It truly is based on relationships, not necessarily talent. I can’t tell you how many auditions I’ve gone on by bus or train— sometimes changing in dirty bathrooms to be audition ready. Waiting in long audition lines (The Voice audition wait time was so long!) to sometimes be told “you’re not the type”. Not to mention the costs to invest in yourself. As they say, “the artist” is the last person to get paid. Studio sessions and vocal lessons aren’t cheap. Managing a band isn’t cheap. Plus, the rehearsals and personal practice needed to compete in an “everyone is a star” industry! I can’t tell you how many free gigs you have to take before you get to the paid one. But this is just one part of the journey. On the other side, it’s the other talented people you meet, the community of fans you build who appreciate your gift(s), and the experience of living your passion, which makes every struggle worth it. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I think one thing that sets me apart is being the type of songwriter and singer who cares about socially poignant topics. As Nina Simone says best, it is an artist’s job to tell about the times. As a songwriter, I love to explore different types of themes because life is not just about love or sex or going to the club. There’s a range of emotions and experiences that we go through as humans and this is where I love to tap into when writing songs, so that I can connect with people in a whole different way. I’m really proud of where I’m at right now. Entertainment isn’t easy. Looking back at all of the accomplishments from the TV talkshows and radio, modeling, the band, writing new music, performing with other major artists and festivals, it’s very awesome to have longevity because we are in a society where today your hot tomorrow you’re not. I am very humbled by the community of supporters that we’ve built. They really believe not only in the music but in other aspects of my talents, and you need that in such a competitive industry. I’m also very proud to be able to do accomplish my goals despite being a wife and a mother to a toddler. It definitely has not been easy juggling a 9 to 5 job and then rushing home at night to manage an active baby, so I can start my 3rd job — band rehearsals, or a studio session, or lesson. It definitely has been a lot of work trying to juggle my passions with other things that I value most; my family. I could not have gotten this far without such a supportive family and husband. This alone has made all the difference in me being able to pursue my passion vs putting it on the shelf. In addition to music, I am a public speaker. I care a lot about my community and am a vocal social activist and advocate. I’m very proud of the work that I’ve done over many years to help young people get the necessary workforce skills to land their dream career. I enjoy going to schools to speak to young girls or boys because it is important for our kids of color to see women like myself who are defying the odds. Most importantly I use my voice for change! 

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Being relatable, being personable, being humble, and being thankful to God for so many opportunities. Most people describe me as an infectious ball of high energy. There have been times after the show when people have said to me that they came to the show depressed or dealing with something heavy, but what I shared on stage gave them a sense of hope and inspiration, which I find amazing, but this truly speaks to the power of music or human connection. It’s these superpowers that I hope will continue to support my success. 

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    June 8, 2022 at 8:28 am

    For years I’ve worked in TV and for/with many major artists. I had the pleasure of working with Kanika in the fledgling stages of her music career. All I can say is that it is amazing to see God work. She was a gift then and she is a gift now. I’ll share one story with you I never shared before. Surprisingly,I attended one of the shows Kanika emails me from time to time… As I was about to leave (because I had to work in the morning) she did a cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s hit, “Like A Star” I never heard the song before at the time. But the tone and feel of how she sang it “STOPPED ME ON THE STEPS” of the venue. I really had a tear form in my eye watching her in that moment. I watched someone I previously worked with finally achieve the “magic” Michael Jackson spoke of in music. I stayed till the end of the show. May God continue to give our community more magical blessings like Kanika.

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