Kata Hay (born Kata Huddleston - January 19, 1987) is an American singer, songwriter and musician who was the youngest person to ever win Ed McMahon's Star Search at age five. In recent years she has used the Internet to independently promote her own music. Hay's song "Western Way" appeared on the soundtrack of the film Coyote County Loser in 2009, and her band, Kata & The Blaze have two independently produced albums. Reckless and Remember That Summer were released on iTunes worldwide in 2007 and 2009. Kata & The Blaze played their last show on April 1, 2010 on Knoxivi.com's show 11 O'Clock Rock. She was chosen in the finals of the search for the next "Shake Weight" Jingle in 2011. Kata Hay is currently writing music for her first solo project in over 7 years.
Kata (prononuced KAY-tuh) Hay was born in 1987 in Oklahoma and started singing at age two. From the ages of two -- twelve she traveled the US singing country and gospel music at different Opry's and fairs, and opening concerts and working with musicians like LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Exile, Jim Ed Brown, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Mickey Gilley, and Barbara Mandrell.
Hay's music career started off in beauty pageants. Hay was inspired by watching a friend sing in the talent category of a local beauty pageant, and wanted to enter one herself. Hay's father agreed to pay the $50 entrance fee. "I think he did it because he thought that a 2-year-old had no idea what she wanted to do, and that I would get up there and embarrass myself and that would be the end of it." She won the pageant and went to Georgia for the finals.
Hay started performing at local Opry's, Fairs and Talent Shows, until one of the talent shows she entered sent out videos of all of the entries to Ed McMahon's Star Search. Star Search picked two contestants to appear on their show -- one of which was Hay. She went on to receive two perfect scores, and defeated challenger Justin Timberlake. Hay won the grand prize in the 12 & Under Category, and became the youngest person ever to win Star Search.Template:Citation given does not meet Wiki guidelines
At 10 yrs old Kata appeared in the independent film "Oklahoma Faded Love". She sang "Crazy" by Patsy Cline, and played the lead character as a child. She also appeared in several regional commercials, in 2 Willie George Ministries short films and recorded voice overs for KVOO-FM.
At 13, Hay's music made a switch to western swing. In 2000 She heard they were holding a Patsy Montana music festival in Arkansas and decided to attend. She entered the Patsy Montana National Yodeling Championship, never having yodeled in public before -- and was named as the Champion. Montana's biographer, Jane Frost, said of Hay that day: "She stepped up to the microphone... and smiled like the pixie we knew as Patsy; as Kata strummed her guitar and sang 'I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart' we knew the music, the life and the career... of Patsy Montana would live on." She traveled the US representing Montana's music the following year and was a featured artist of Fan Fair 2000. The next five years were spent playing the western music circuit. Hay recorded three CDs during her western music years, one of which, Cowboys, Guitars, and a Lil Bit of Swing, made it to the No. 1 spot on the Western Music Charts. Two of Hay's original songs made it in the top 5 as singles off the same album. In 2004, and 2005 Hay toured Australia. The 2005 tour was cut short, and Hay was almost deported because she was not eligible for a performer's visa.
In 2005 Hay was hired as a performer at one of the music theaters in the Pigeon Forge music scene. That is where she met now husband, band-mate, and co-writer Robbie Helton. After one year at the theater, Hay and Helton decided to leave the theater, to pursue their own original music. They formed the band Kata & The Blaze and started writing new material for a debut album. In 2007 Kata & The Blaze released "Reckless" on iTunes, and sold thousands of copies across the US, Europe, and Australia. They released an even more successful follow up EP "Remember That Summer" in 2009. In 2007, Hay and Helton also founded the band The Grassabillies (Bluegrass/Rock Fusion Band), and released their debut album "Here Come The Grassabillies" on iTunes in early 2009. They both became featured entertainers at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede in 2008.
In 2008, Hay began posting music videos on video sharing website YouTube. When a video of Hay performing "Hey Stephen" by Taylor Swift was chosen and featured by Swift herself on her website, viewer response attracted worldwide recognition within weeks. Hay's subscribers jumped in less than a month from under 300, to over 3,000.
In late 2009, Hay and Helton decided to quit their steady gig at the Dixie Stampede and take a risk at making a living playing their own music full-time.
2009 doubled Hay's YouTube subscriber base (6000+) and video views (1,000,000) as she continued to post videos of her original and cover songs.
Hay's song "Western Way", off of her album "Cowboys, Guitars, and a Lil Bit Of Swing" was featured in the 2010 romantic comedy, Coyote County Loser in the opening scene.
In August 2010, Lisa Lavie hosted an "ANGEL COVER CONTEST" on her YouTube channel, asking YouTubers to submit their version of her song Angel. Lisa chose Kata's cover in the top 3, and sent Kata a brand new Xacti Sanyo Video Camera as a prize. Lisa said "I love Kat's country twanginess, I LOVED her video!". That same month she was also won the honor of co-writing a song with Kina Grannis along with 3 other YouTubers (Brent Morgan, Kate McGill, and Nicole).
While on business in Los Angeles in October 2010 Kata attended the taping of several TV shows. Once Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Jay Leno Show found out Kata was in the crowd, she was called up on stage to yodel as pre-show entertainment. Kata also will appear on an episode of Let's Make A Deal with Wayne Brady which is due to air in March 2011.
January 2011 Kata was announced as a finalist in the international search for the next Shake Weight Jingle. Eventually landing in the 3rd spot on the contest, she was awarded a brand new Apple iPad courtesy of the Shake Weight Company. The same month Kata started performing at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner show in Pigeon Forge, TN. Where she performs 2 to 3 shows a night 6 nights a week, she as well still performs her solo music and with the Grassabillies.
As of July 1, 2012, Hay's YouTube channel 17,376 subscribers and has over 1.8 million video views.