Ottawa's Katrina Robert winning fans on La Voix
Singer-songwriter wows judges of Quebec TV contest despite lack of fluent French
When Ottawa's Katrina Robert belted out her soul-spilling interpretation of Koko Taylor's classic Voodoo Woman during her blind audition on La Voix, Quebec's version of The Voice, last week, all four judges spun their chairs around and stood, captivated by her raw talent.
One even popped a bottle of champagne, reserved for the contestant he thinks will win the singing competition.
"Literally, the only thing going on in my mind at that point was, I hope the world can hear the heart, soul, passion in my voice and I come across as a loving person who wants to put good into the world," Robert told CBC's All In A Day.
Robert, 26, who goes by the stage name Bella Cat, opted for the team led by Belgian-Canadian pop singer Lara Fabian.
"I was so nervous because I saw videos on Lara where her fans knew all the words to her song and she was crying, and I just wanted her to see that I hope to one day have the same effect on people," Robert said.
The blind audition was Robert's TV debut. She said she was inspired and encouraged to enter the contest by her friend and fellow Ottawa-area singer-songwriter Rebecca Noelle, herself a runner-up on La Voix a year ago.
"Rebecca gave me advice and boosted my confidence so that I would apply for the show.... We have a huge respect for one another and I'm looking forward to having more of her in my life."
While social media reaction to her performance was generally encouraging, there was also some criticism about her lack of fluent French.
"The language thing stressed me out 100 per cent, especially because some people don't think English people should be on the show. But it is an international competition and it's called La Voix, not The Language."
The next episode airs Sunday and Monday evenings on TVA. Contestants are forbidden from revealing how the competition unfolds.
Whether Robert continues to the final or not, she said the exposure has been good.
"I want people to find me through social media and discover my music.... I just want people to listen to the words and find some sort of connection or sense of feeling that they're not alone in the world."