Life Through the Mic:
The Kat Dahlia Interview
4/23/13 at 6:35 PM ET - LatinRapper.com interview
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
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.
LatinRapper.com: 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
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
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
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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