okaye

Local vocal coach/owner Natalie Kaye Robertson and O-Kaye Productions will host their artist showcase at the Franklin Theatre on Monday.

The event, though not handled through the Franklin Theatre box office, will have free admission and will feature 16 artists over two shows starting at noon and 4:30 p.m.

Attendees will hear music for various genres including country, pop, rap, R&B, Christian, heavy metal and many more. The event will be emceed by Robertson’s husband and business partner, Patrik, and will also include the company’s in-house band joining the performances. Recorded versions of the performances will also appear on the company’s YouTube channel page.

“It is every genre that is coming together in his room, which I think is a really cool thing,” Robertson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had pretty much every genre represented. I mean from Indie to Christian music, it’s everything, [even] musical theater.”

O-Kaye Productions started back in 2007 when one of Robertson’s friends asked her to help some young ladies prepare songs for the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Robertson said the girls’ performances caused many around the pageant world to take notice, and almost overnight she had 75 clients.

Robertson quickly realized she needed to take this to the next level. She and Patrik added a studio on to the house and she began teaching.

Teaching was always something she loved to do, earning a teaching and psychology degrees from Lee University while also being in the music program and participating in the vocal group “Voices of Lee.” After graduation she sang in a corporate house band for Amway Global, which toured around the world. There she and Patrik sang together, and the duo wound up cutting an EP with Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.

The combination of over 15 years singing on the road, learning the business and her preparation in college proved to be the right ingredients to set up O-Kaye Productions as the perfect marriage of her two passions, music and teaching. She decided to take a more full-time role in 2009.

“I was like the look, it’s already been around since 2007, I was coaching full-time and really it kind of got deeper as far as really starting to invest in the full product of a person from their recording to their original songs to everything, even helping them with press stuff,” Robertson said. “Outside of the vocal and performance training it’s just a really big beast.”

The company eventually grew to have locations in Nashville, Jackson, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala.

But in March 2020, COVID-19 really started making in-person lessons impossible, forcing the Jackson and Birmingham locations to close. Robertson knew she had to adjust to online training.

“You know, I didn’t know if we could get quality results building from the ground up online,” Robertson said. “So really the whole brand that I had spent so long developing all of the sudden, had to shift a little bit. Even the psychology behind that, a huge part of having that person in the room with you is that you’re able to read kind of who they are.

“You have extroverts, introverts, people who like tough training and people who need it really sweet and when they’re in the comfort of their home it’s really hard to read that.”

Robertson invested heavily in online marketing nationally for the first time, and it paid off. She was able to sign clients from all over the country, and many of them will be making the trip to Franklin to perform on the stage at the Franklin Theatre on Monday.

This will include Jamaican 25-year-old New Jersey rapper and singer Adam Hitchman, who goes by the stage name Cloud Ray. He just started working with Robertson a little over a year ago online.

“She was like my guardian angel,” he said. “I’m so upset that I didn’t find her sooner because I went through so much turmoil trying to find the right person to connect with me and see my vision, curate my sound and help me get there.”

Hitchman started his journey in music at the age of eight writing songs at recess, and he found himself in love with hip-hop. He started freestyling around 16. Later, he wanted to find a way to bind the two.

“If I could describe my music to you, it would be a combination of hip-hop and pop or, a combination of hip-hop and EDM with some house in there," he explained. "I really try to bend the borders of the two and bring these different genres together in a way that I really don’t feel there was much emphasis on in the past.”

He believes that the genres each bring out a different vulnerability in both the artist and the audiences. His goal is to give that back to the world.

He and the other O-Kaye clients/performers will take a small step toward that goal when they take the stage Monday afternoon.

Robertson said she’s excited to see them on that historic stage, many for the very first time, herself included.

“It’s definitely a place I’ve always wanted clients to be able to play,” Robertson said. “Personally, I’ve never even sang at the Franklin Theatre, so it will be the first time I do. It’s a really cool place to kind of be a part of. When you think about how long they’ve been around a lot of really great feet have stood on that stage. I think it’s an honor for them to play in such a highly loved and reputable venue.”