Katia Cardenas is a jazz and R&B vocalist in the Twin Cities, recognized for her radiant energy, impeccable range, and dynamic and powerful voice. Releasing her debut EP in Spring 2016, she has been performing locally since 2014 at many local respected venues, including Crooners Lounge, Jazz Central Studios, Vieux Carré and Dakota Jazz Club. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a musical family, and was raised on jazz, funk, and R&B. She moved to Sacramento, California in 2000, where she received a Waldorf education, which instilled in her a deep appreciation and passion for music. Katia came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend Macalester College, where she performed regularly in a cappella groups and other bands. After graduating, music was just a side note for a few years as she pursued a career in acting and theater education. But in 2013, she realized the significant lack of music in her life, and needed to make a change.
Making music in the Twin Cities has been a family tradition ever since her father, Mark Cardenas, joined The Time in 1983, appearing in Prince’s iconic film “Purple Rain,” and later playing in Jessie Johnson’s Revue. Her mother, singer-songwriter Janis Kelly, also began her music career here at that time. While the family left MN before she was born, Katia’s emergence on the local music scene in 2014 has not gone unnoticed. Deemed “one of the fastest rising stars on the Twin Cities jazz scene,” Jazz Police also called her “a young but veteran vocalist who can cover Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, yet is equally adept at modern folk/pop/blues,” while Rhythm & Grooves (KFAI 90.6) says, “Katia Cardenas has the pipes to get over an R&B tune, but also has the instincts and subtlety to handle jazz standards.”
Since her debut Twin Cities performance in February 2014, she has collaborated with numerous local musicians, exploring different musical styles, including jazz, latin, R&B, and pop. She has also joined Casablanca Orchestra (CBO), the Midwest’s premiere show band. Katia is passionate about creating community around the arts and has engaged with numerous local artist networks including Jazz Central Studios, Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN), Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, and Minnesota Music Coalition. As an actor and administrator, she also works with local theater companies Teatro Del Pueblo, Pangea World Theater and TigerLion Arts. The people she’s met through the Twin Cities arts and music community are a huge part of where she is today; they are a constant inspiration, and reminder to pursue her dreams.