Artist spotlight: Kat Graham

By Ellen Angelico

Kat Graham is no stranger to the spotlight. From the tender age of 6 she acted in commercials, appeared on television, and was a successful actress and dancer. Sound like a lifetime’s list of achievements? Graham is only 21 years old.

In 2005, renowned choreographer Fatima hand-picked Graham to perform at the BET awards as a background dancer for Lil’ Bow Wow. Since then she’s been a background dancer for the likes of Missy Elliot, Pharrell and Jamie Foxx. She’s also appeared in music videos by Akon, Justin Bieber, John Legend, B2K, Musiq Soulchild and Nelly.

Graham is also an accomplished actress. One of her first breaks in the entertainment industry came when she was chosen to replace Christina Milian as the host of Disney Channel’s Movie Surfers. She’s also appeared on television shows CSI, The OC, Malcolm in the Middle, Joan of Arcadia, Strong Medicine, Like Family, Grounded for Life and Lizzie McGuire. Recurring roles on Hannah Montana and The Vampire Diaries have also raised Graham's profile. Her acting career has also extended into film with her appearance in 17 Again with Zac Efron, and she is slated to appear in several as-yet-unreleased films.

Even within this very busy schedule, Graham still found time to study studio equipment and engineering after she wrote a song that was featured in a Jean Claude Van Damme film. She purchased studio equipment, studied techniques, and developed a unique style, adding "producer" to her long list of talents.

"When I first got my equipment I had no one to guide me," Graham says. "I taught myself. I realized there was no other teenage, female producer in the world, so I was forced to look within myself for motivation."

She continued to write and record music and eventually began to pursue a career as a musical artist. In 2008, she completed a world tour with the Black Eyed Peas and is featured in two songs on’s solo album, Songs About Girls. She also contributed to the soundtrack of The Vampire Diaries during her tenure on the show.

In case you didn’t yet believe that Graham is an incredibly talented human being, she’s completed a degree in recording engineering. She’s also a formally trained vocalist and pianist, a former spokesmodel for Coca-Cola, and speaks four languages. Did we mention that she’s only 21 years old? Kat Graham may be under your radar now, but her tenacity ensures she won’t be for long. See her on the main stage of the Nashville Pride Festival!

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