“The Voice” contestant Naia Kete to play Friday at Steamboat Ski Area | SteamboatToday.com

“The Voice” contestant Naia Kete to play Friday at Steamboat Ski Area

Luke Graham

Naia Kete plays the Steamboat Mountain Music Series on Friday at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

— Naia Kete has driven through Colorado.

"But I haven't really been to Colorado," the singer-songwriter said. "But I keep hearing good things."

As Colorado celebrated its 137th birthday Thursday, the rising star was ready to see all the state has to offer.

That begins at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the Steamboat Mountain Music Series.

Kete, who performed at Bonnaroo this year and recently was on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," brings her soulful voice to the stage at the Steamboat base area.

Kete gained popularity in 2012 when she appeared on NBC's "The Voice." She made it to the top 24 before leaving the show.

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"You talk about little pieces of success," she said. "It was a huge opportunity and a huge platform where we gained a lot of new fans."

The exposure still has Kete on an upward arc.

She recently released an extended play called "Fire Breather." The EP showed her vocal chops and musical background with her voice range setting her apart.

"It's always the hardest thing because lots of different types of music come through me," she said. "I love reggae, pop, soul and R&B. I walk that line between all different genres."

The EP features five songs that are purely pop. They're catchy tunes but don't necessarily expose Kete as an artist.

Her 2008 release "Sweet Music" gives more of the picture. Kete was born into a reggae family, and on "Sweet Music" that influence is apparent.

With a new band, Kete said she expects to start putting together a new album toward the end of the year.

Touring with the new band and playing from coast to coast this summer has given her a new perspective on music.

"The more live shows we get under our belt, we see what people respond to," she said. "It's reggae and pop people gravitate toward. I grew up in a family reggae band. When I play reggae, it feels the most authentic."

The one thing that always shines is her voice. She can cover musicians from Adele to Bruno Mars, but she also has a soft, raspiness that stand out.

Get that in front of a live crowd and good things happen.

"We hope everyone is dripping of sweat because they're dancing so much," she said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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