The Local 913: Kai Roberts


Pittsburgh rapper Kai Roberts found some musical inspiration from a very young age.

"I grew up in a musical family. My mom would sing around the house, she was kind of shy, so she didn’t sing at church or anything. My dad had a lot of endeavors. In my elementary years, he was a DJ. Me and my brother would help him out with his DJ gigs. In elementary school, I started playing instruments like the clarinet. In middle school I started playing saxophone. My dad would DJ hip-hop shows. That kind of sparked my interest. In ninth grade, I just started making beats.” 

Roberts is known for confronting his serious issues with anxiety on his debut album Carnegie Café in 2013. While attending Carnegie Mellon, he dealt with panic attacks on a regular basis. Now, he’s turned his experience into a live music and public speaking engagements presented to college students around the country.  

“It’s a platform for me to tell my story, but to share my music as well. When I go to these colleges it’s kind of like a traditional performance in the sense of its song, dialogue, song. The dialogue is a little bit longer. It’s a full story, it’s very very personal. Its things that I don’t say too publicly, but in the safety of the venue, that’s where I share that. It’s been wild; I went back to Carnegie Mellon. I think that was one of my best speaking engagements, it was so personal. It was a very connected show. People were getting emotional. There was one girl dealing with depression and opening up to me after the show, she was getting teary-eyed a little bit. It’s been really fulfilling in a sense that it’s bringing people’s emotions together.”

More on Kai Roberts is at his website.