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Before she became the empowered and in-control voice of Kat Dahlia, she was Kat Hue, the moniker an abbreviation of her real name, Katriana Hugeut, whose grandparents on her mother’s side are Cuban, and on her father’s, Lebanese. Kat’s relocation from her childhood home of Miami to New Jersey was not exclusively driven by the effects of Miami living - there was also a boy.
This boy, who would later become her love interest, invited her to come live in NYC, and she gladly obliged. The relationship quickly turned sour, due to extreme jealousy in combination with strong passion. This relationship translated into her music as Kat Hue, when she independently released a 9-track EP, Shades of Grey. As the EP’s title suggests, the music is filled with darker melodies and lyrics that recall stories of broken relationships. “Do Better” tells the story of a boyfriend promising to do better in a relationship, to which Kat replies back that she resigns from the relationship, and if she “had a thousand lives, she would leave him a thousand times.” “Lose You,” featuring her former manager and rapper, Candy Warhol, is a hypnotizing melody that speaks to the intimate and personal boundaries shared by two young lovers that shared everything together and experienced events that only make sense to them. It leads us to imagine a fast-paced Bonnie and Clyde-esque couple who prompted the beautiful lyrics, “I’m too difficult to decipher for you to break me, and you don’t know me like he did, I’m sorry stranger you should quit. I just ain’t ready for this shit.” “My Shoes” is another track that features a minimalist Houston-chopped, slow snare, and bass-heavy beat that perfectly exemplifies Kat’s hybrid approach to music. While she is a talented blues singer, Kat introduces rap-like cadences. This approach is unique in that her voice is bluesy while adding the vibrant grittiness of a street rapper that is unapologetic in her direct objection and defiance to male standards. This outspokenness translates in her social media. Her Vine is uncensored; her Tweets are her unique thoughts. Even in her interaction with BET’s 106 and Park’s hosts, she made crude jokes that would raise some eyebrows when compared to the cookie-cutter celebrities of the world. The end result is that Kat comes off just the way she is – a stunningly beautiful young woman that doesn’t deal with bullshit. She is in control. She pays her bills, books her studio time and if you’re interested in her, you better come correct. The mystique is there. The talent is there. The support system is there. The most exciting part about her? The fact that she is just getting started.
The realism in her music is derived from her belief in presenting truth in art. When I told her that the realities portrayed in “Gangta” would really resonate with a Latin audience, she quickly clarified her intention: “The state of the country and that of people’s lives, people losing their houses, can’t feed mouths, it’s really sad. I always stay connected to that. I want to tell simple truths. I want to tell stories, but the stories have to have meaning. I don’t think it’s limited to Spanish culture. It’s such a worldly thing. It’s a motherly thing. And everything in Gangsta is true. That was me telling my life. My dad is a gambling guy. He is still trying to come out of this rut that he’s been in for years, because he’s not that responsible. He has vices and it’s hard. My mom has made a lot of mistakes as well, but always kept food on the table. ‘Single mother and making it happen for her kids.’ She loses her job again and ends up turning to the church because she found herself at a point where she didn’t know where to go. She ended up starting to reconnect with herself spiritually with God. It’s how life goes. Telling stories of people. Not just Latin or American. It’s a true spirit within whatever culture you’re in.”
The next chapter in Kat’s ascension to great heights in the world of music will take place this summer. She plans to continue creating music for her official debut release in September, My Garden. She describes the album as such: “My music is hard to fit into a box. You have some sunflowers, some daisies, some roses, and then you have thorns and Venus flytraps. You can also have some willows. All these evoke a different emotion, different feelings, expression and frequencies. I wanted it to be an introduction to my mind, sound, music, and let the world know who is Kat Dahlia.”
We couldn't help but to further explore the metaphor. A Dahlia in bloom is a sight to behold - vibrant and colorful, they grow naturally in the hills of Central America, and are cultivated in gardens the world round for their variety, beauty, and their potential to form hybrid flower species. Such is the way we see Kat - a vibrant, colorful musician, full of beauty; a songwriter splicing, botanist-like, her identify as a Latina with her identity as an American, creating the ultimate Urban Latina artist.
Going forward, she’ll continue her radio promotion and will perform during the summer to continue expanding her fan base one introduction at a time. If you can’t catch her on the road, purchase her 3-track EP, Gangsta on Itunes. or stream it on Spotify. Cheers to Kat!