On January 17, 2013, Kate Shaffer, ’11 (pictured at left), will find out if she will be the next big name in country music. If she wins this title, she will also be $100,000 richer thanks to the Texaco Country Showdown, the largest country music talent search in America.
While at Buffalo State, Shaffer majored in arts and letters with concentrations in dance and public relations. “Singing was more of a hobby for me,” she said. “At that point in my life, dance was my priority, my passion.” During her four years here, Shaffer performed in multiple dance concerts and took part in theater productions including the musical Anything Goes and the Anne Frank Project.
“Through dance I learned how to be creative, learn my limits, and find solutions,” Shaffer said. “I learned that there is no right or wrong way to make a living as an artist as long as I’m doing what I love.”
While a student, Shaffer learned how to play guitar and joined her first band, Naughty Dawg. She used the public relations skills she learned at Buffalo State to promote her music. “I learned how to be a creative thinker and how to put my name out there,” she said. “I still look back at my textbooks and portfolios while promoting my music.”
After attending one of her solo performances in 2010, a promoter introduced Shaffer to Corey Coleman (pictured at right), a fellow musician. During Shaffer's senior year, she and Corey formed Kate & Corey, an acoustic duet, and fell in love in the process. The couple plans to get married in June 2013.
A booking agent approached the duo after a performance in 2011, telling them about the showdown. “He was a judge for a local round of the competition and thought we could win,” Shaffer said.
The couple won the local, state, and regional rounds of the competition, sending them to Nashville, Tennessee, for the national round. “Winning the regional competition was surreal,” Shaffer said. “Everyone was amazing!”
There are five finalists, including Kate & Corey, competing at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for $100,000 and the title, “Best New Act in Country Music.” The competition will also be a one-hour television special, hosted by three-time Grammy nominee Jewel.
In September 2012, the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to further their music career. While preparing for Nashville, the duo continues performing weekly, promoting their first album You’re Gonna Like Us and their new Christmas single “All We Have.”
“My life is not what I expected it to be like, it’s better,” Shaffer said about Kate & Corey. “I love what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t be at this point in my life and my career if it weren’t for Buffalo State.”