Kat Hammock is one of the youngest contestants on The Voice season 17 but her powerful pipes pack a wallop. She has quietly been turning in some stellar performances this season, earning two chair turns during her blind audition of Billy Joel’s “Vienna.” She chose Team Blake Shelton where she has flourished.
In the Battle Rounds, Hammock defeated Josie Jones on “Take Me Home, Country Homes” by John Denver, then in the Knockout Rounds, her performance of “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer sent Lauren Hall packing.
Now on the live shows, Kat has taken on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” the traditional Irish ballad “Danny Boy,” the gospel hymn “I’ll Fly Away,” and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” — and she has never yet landed in the bottom three, which means she might be in the running to win the whole thing.
Here’s what you need to know about Kat.
1. She’s a California Girl
Kat was born and raised in Encinitas, Calif., which is a suburb of San Diego. Her friends and family have been gathering at local sports bar Tower 13 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea to cheer her on during her run on The Voice. Her father, Steve, tells local station NBC 7 that he’s not surprised the community is showing up for his daughter.
“This community is very tight. They’ve been involved in it for a very long time, so they all know Kat. Everybody is super excited for her,” says Steve.
He adds, “Kat is exactly as she appears on TV. She’s just a sweet child, full of love and I think the true person is really coming through. Obviously, Blake sees it and she’s getting votes and people like her.”
2. Kat’s Faith is Very Important to Her
Kat began singing in her church choir when she was in fourth grade. Her voice coach Anne Marie Oldham tells NBC 7 that everyone in their community is familiar with Kat because of her performances in church.
“They’ve seen her work so hard and put in 100 percent to everything that she does and it’s paid off,” says Oldham.
In Kat’s Instagram profile, she identifies as a strong Catholic and cites Philippians 4:7 as a Bible verse that means a lot to her. That verse, which scholars believe the apostle Paul wrote while he was in prison, reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Kat recently went on a mission trip to San Juan Capistrano that she writes on Facebook “really opened [her] eyes to Jesus’ suffering for us, and helped [her] better understand His sacrifice.”
3. She Has Performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center
Prior to The Voice, Kat had already performed on some pretty big stages. She graced the stage at Carnegie Hall several times with her church choir, which she tells The Coast News was “really cool” because she “had a little solo” in that performance.
For the Distinguished Concerts International New York’s 10th anniversary celebration in spring 2018, Kat performed with nine other soloists on Tobias Boshell’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me” from The Sing-Off.
Despite having already performed at some big venues, Hammock tells Sunny 98.1 that she still gets really nervous, but that “lots of prayer” and “practicing a bunch” is what gets her
“I just feel like if I have a song nailed so well that I can do it without even paying attention, that’s when I know I’ll be fine,” says Hammock.
4. Kat Put Off College to go on The Voice
The 19-year-old singer just graduated from La Costa Canyon High School in the spring of 2019 and she planned to go straight to college at Philadelphia’s Villanova University — until The Voice came calling.
She tells The Coast News that she was actually contacted by the show because of her YouTube channel, where she has posted videos of herself singing and playing the piano. At first, she thought it was a hoax and she also ignored the email, but her brother did some research and found it that it was the real deal.
She chose to audition with Billy Joel’s “Vienna” because it’s a song that Kat’s sisters introduced her to when she was younger. Kat is the youngest of five children — Maggie, Rebecca, Mick, and Rex.
5. She Has Released Her Own Music Already
Back in 2017, when Kat was just 16 years old, she released a song on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music called “Legacy,” which is a song about how life can pass you by before you even realize it and all anyone wants is to leave a legacy.
The chorus goes: “Funny thing how time goes by. Whole life gone in the blink of an eye. When I think about it I get sad ’cause there are friends and moments I’ll never get back. I’d like to say that when I’m old and losing grasp of my soul that I had helped somebody other than me and maybe will leave a legacy.”
The verses touch on her father’s brother Phillip, who was killed in a car accident when her father was young, and her grandmother Sharon, who was struggling with Alzheimer’s before she passed away in 2015.