Interview: Kat Dahlia on

Kat Dahlia may only be 22, but one listen to this Miami Cubana’s music will tell you that she’s an old soul. 

Through singing and rapping, the songwriter spins tales of finding inner strength during burdensome times.  Born Katriana Huguet, Kat spent years waitressing to fund her own album and music video to make her voice heard. The effort was enough to attract the attention of famed music exec and former Motown Records president Sylvia Rhone, who signed the artist to her new label last year.

Kat’s first single “Gangsta” earned the rising artist several million Youtube views in just over a month. Kat spoke to us about her upcoming album and the power of storytelling in our latest interview. Is your new album dropping this year?

Yeah, I have a name for it as well. It’s called My Garden, it’s coming out in September, right after summertime. There are three songs out on iTunes now. I have Gangsta on there obviously, and a couple of other songs.

You have an EP out now, will those songs be on the new Album?

Yeah, they will be. That was just kind of an introduction to what’s going to be in the album. If I wanted to, I could put an album out tomorrow, because we’ve got so much great content. But because we have so much time, they keep recording. You never know, right? Keep going in, keep making music. Sometimes you come out with something that’s a big surprise, a huge amazing song. I don’t want to lose any momentum with that. I’m actually leaving to London tonight to go meet some producers, Naughty Boy, so I’m really excited about that.

You just finished a Billboard Latin Music Award show as well.

Last night, yeah. I just did the Billboard performance, it was great.

What can we expect from the upcoming album?

A lot of different sounds. It’s going to be stuff that hopefully you’ve never heard before, but you’ve felt like you’ve heard it before. It feels like something totally different, but it just feels really right and just dope.

I just want to put out a lot of dope different s**t, I don’t want to stick  myself in a box and stick myself in a genre. I think the album’s going to be a sheer mashup of genres, and I think that’s where music is going right now. It’s going to be hard to try to expect something, or conjure up an idea of what it’s going to be, but I can tell you it’s going to be f**king dope.

Are you flying solo, or will you have guest spots on the album?

Right now, it’s just me, solo dolo. But we’ll see. Right now it’s really just me, hopefully someone wants to hop on something. I know that there’s talk about putting someone on the remix of Gangsta, so we’ll see what happens.

You were signed to Vested in Culture just last year, and the video for Gangsta already has 2.5 million views since March. Did you expect things to move so quickly?

I don’t know. I think that I came into this business so blind. I’m just a girl from Miami, honestly. I kind of came into this business very blind. I put out an independent EP. I kind of wanted to stay independent for a while. Then I ended up getting caught up in this production company, the goal was to try and get signed. I still didn’t really know what that meant.

I got into the studio with some amazing producers, Cinematic. We just started putting out records. I brought J. Dens with me in the studio, he did Gangsta. I started working with different producers.  When I had gotten signed, I had such strong material that it was kind of like, I’m pretty much ready. I knew the type of music I wanted to do. I knew who I was. There was really no question about what my sound was. It was like, alright, let’s move forward, let’s do it.

Sylvia’s been an amazing support. She’s so dedicated to her job, she’s so passionate about her job, I’m so grateful that she’s passionate about me. I feel like the wind is pushing me in the right direction for whatever reason God must want me to be here.

Last year you released the “Devil’s Command” video as Kat Hue, was that the video you paid for yourself?

Devil’s Command I did myself. I think it was around the same time I put out the EP.  It was an idea that I had, because Devil’s Command was something that everyone really loved. I had the vision, I got with the director.  I wanted it in black and white, I wanted there to be this story. I put it out, and I’m really happy about the video. And I like that it’s been floating around. It shows my history, where I was before I signed. Just me making music for myself. Putting a project together that I was proud of. It was a time in my life that I was so down at the bottom, so emotionally drained, working so much. I just needed to do something for myself.

The video for Gangsta has a number of references to Cubans in Miami. How involved were you with that decision, and how important was it to show that side of yourself?

Well Gangsta was originally shot in New York.  It didn’t show who I was, I wasn’t happy with it, I didn’t like it. So we got a new director, Samantha Lecca to direct it. I kind of told her what I wanted. I wanted a story. The strength of the song is the story. If it doesn’t tell a story, it takes away the powerfulness and punch of the song.

It was going to be my first time coming out. I wanted people to know where I was from. I’m not just a White girl. I’m a Latin girl from Miami, this is my story. And not just my story.  It’s showing images of other people and families, it’s not just focused on me, kind of like a universal feel. People that are drug down. Whether it’s finances, or a relationship, or whatever their case may be. I was definitely involved. It showed the richness and flavor of my culture, and where I’m from. I’m from Miami. You put that picture together, it tells a story, it tells my story.

You’re occasionally compared to Rihanna. Would you chalk that up to a West Indian dancehall influence in Miami, or were you influenced by Rihanna as an artist?

It’s definitely growing up in Miami. I listened to a lot of Bob Marley, especially down here. I used to go to Purdy Lounge on Monday night, they always had reggae bands. Reggae is just everywhere down here, dancehall is everywhere in the clubs. It’s not only playing Hip Hop. I like Rihanna, I listen to her as well. I wouldn’t say that she was really my influence. I think there were much stronger influences that just happened to be from the Caribbean.

Also I grew up listening to BB King, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and of course Bob Marley. I listen to a lot of Frank Sinatra. It’s like this big circle of sound that I listen to, all strong voices. 

Anything that you wanted to add?

Just that the album comes out in September, and I got shows coming up. Hopefully they like it. Hopefully I connect with people.

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