When I was younger my dad said the words I chose for the title very often. Like so many others, perhaps many persons before him, they used the words when it came time for some accomplishment. The wise saying also was an impediment to procrastination. It helped anyone to focus on a goal without wasting time. Another way to look upon these words is great things happen when they should. Ready or not, when the time comes, musical stars burst upon the scene. Earlier this year I happened to read an article in The Examiner that highlighted the point that this most likely is the year many will notice this weeks’ featured artist: Kat Dahlia. I must admit that sometimes I notice artists from all around the world, but miss some who happen to be right from my back yard. Yes, Kat Dahlia is from Miami, Florida. The Cuban-American recording artist is a singer-songwriter and rapper, and is known for her “razor sharp” lyrics and her “unique, aggressive flow”. She released her debut album My Garden on January 13, 2015. Kat Dahlia now seems poised to breakout onto the world music scene in a big way. Why her? Let’s take some time to examine some of the things that might contribute to her success.
One of the things about the city of Miami is the cosmopolitan nature. People who live here come from all over the world. Truly! I have met people who live here now that come from every continent of the world. This means the cultural influence is varied, which includes music. Kat Dahlia sums it up best when she listed the artists who influenced her sound. Dahlia cites artists BB King, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Frank Sinatra, and Celia Cruz as musical influences. Also, in interviews, Dahlia has mentioned that legendary Reggae singer-songwriter Bob Marley, has had a great influence on her musical style. She has said: “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.” When you listen to Dahlia’s music, it is easy to hear all of the elements of her musical influences. Even though she is Cuban-American, a great blend of musical styles are prevalent in everything she does.
Katriana Sandra Huguet (Kat Dahlia) is now twenty-four years old but started rapping at eight years old. At eighteen, after saving money from jobs as a waitress, Dahlia decided to leave Miami, and moved to New York City. In an earlier interview with Carl Lamarre Kat explained about the music scenes of Miami and New York, and why she chose to leave. “It’s (Miami) heavier on the Latin side. You see more Latin artists out there, it’s the Latin Music hub, but not necessarily for my genre of music. That’s part of the reason I ended up leaving. I wasn’t really doing anything out there. I was just working as a waitress, making the rent, and going out and having a good time. I wasn’t really doing anything productive for my career. So I ended up leaving and going to New York”.
She made her move seemingly because it was time for her music career to step forward. One of the important career moves was choosing the artist name Kat Dahlia. She gave a detailed explanation in the same interview about her name choice. “My artist name is funny. I appreciate you thinking that it’s cool. When I got signed, I was putting anything to the back of my name, Kat Tree, Kat Air, Kat Fly, Kat Door. A friend was like, ‘What about Kat Dahlia?’ It was actually Jay Benz – the producer of “Gangsta,” who loves it. A few months after I found out the Black Dahlia was born on my birthday. Elizabeth Shore was born on my birthday. I kind of like the duality that came with the name you know? It could really be something soft and beautiful but at the same time, it has this dark kind of undertone to it. It kind of reflects music. As much as it can be strong and tough, there’s still vulnerability to it, and truth and beauty”.
Today, there is no time like the present. Kat Dahlia is more than ready to become an iconic superstar and push her music into households around the world. The Examiner article stated that “Kat Dahlia is quickly winning over the nation with her fierce musical honesty. The Cuban-American artist has a raw, intoxicatingly throaty vocal delivery that is instantly addictive. She is a fearsome life-warrior with her share of battle scars, yet possessing a completely vulnerable side to her soul”. As I listened to her album and reflected upon the description above, I felt that overall we need this type of artist. Record producer Timbaland dubbed Kat Dahlia the next Nina Simone. Personally I don’t like such comparisons, but I understand why Timbaland said it. It is time for another important voice in the music industry. There is no time like the present.
* Photo by Shareif Ziyadat