Carnegie Mellon University

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February 17, 2014

Senior Releases CD, Stress

By Heidi Opdyke

Hip-hop has been a lifeline for Kai Roberts.

A senior in the Tepper School of Business, Roberts took time off from school for treatment of extreme anxiety. Music helped him heal.

Hoping to help other college students suffering from stress, he released "Carnegie Café," an album that depicts his CMU experience.

"I feel like it's important to share my story so that others can learn from what I've gone through," Roberts said. "From my experience, I learned that the biggest factor in the healing process for a mental health disorder is awareness. The idea of understanding what is happening, understanding that it is a normal bodily process and that there are others going through the exact same thing is invaluable to recovery."

As a high school student, Roberts participated in the Arts Greenhouse, a hip-hop educational outreach program of the Center for the Arts in Society. Throughout college he has worked with the program as an assistant instructor.

Amos Levy (A'07), the lead artist/mentor with the Arts Greenhouse, has known Roberts since he was in high school. He called Carnegie Café a creative and honest album that showcases Roberts' talent.

"Kai did an incredible job of translating his struggles into art. This is music that listeners are going to be able to connect with on an emotional level, but it's also catchy and easy to listen to," Levy said. "As a teacher, mentor and friend of Kai's, I'm very proud of what he has achieved with this project."

Levy said that Roberts has been an invaluable role model at Arts Greenhouse for teens looking for a way to balance their goals as a student with their aspirations as musicians.

Roberts started in college as an engineering student but turned to business administration.

"I discovered my love for marketing through my music endeavors," he said. "Looking back it was a very good decision."

After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in the entertainment industry or attend graduate school.

Roberts used poetry to record his thoughts and frustrations.

"I thought of it as my personal responsibility to connect with the plight of all students through the Carnegie Café project," Roberts said. "I just want to show people that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that they are not alone."

The album is available for streaming and free download at: