She’s beyond gifted and talented. No question about it. She’s got the looks, style, demeanor, and skills to hit it big. She’s Kat Dahlia, a Cuban-American singer-songwriter out of Miami.
Currently, her single “Gangsta” (now available via iTunes) is topping the charts everywhere. The video itself has much swag, something that Kat Dahlia sports a lot of.
In a recent interview, Kat Dahlia spoke about her passions, musical influences, her own original music, and hobbies, among many other things.
Campus Circle: When did you first discover your passion for music?
Kat Dahlia: I don't even remember the first time I fell in love with music. I feel like we are all born with the things that we've been given, and I was given this passion for music ever since I was a kid. The first memories I have are as a kid, singing and dancing in my room looking in the mirror and performing for myself to N'Sync and Christina Aguilera. I think it's something that's been in me always. I've always had a passion for it. There was never a moment where I definitively decided to do this.
CC: You mentioned N'Sync and Christina Aguilera. What other musical influences have you had throughout your career?
KD: When I was younger, I listened to a lot of pop music. But as I got older, I started to listen to classic rock: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles, Sex Pistols. Then I began listening to a lot of jazz: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker, Miles Davis. Also, growing up in Miami, Reggae was always in my life: Bob Marley, Damien Marley. I think it's just a lot of things compiled into what my sound is now.
CC: You have a very original and authentic style. Is that something you aim to do or does it just come spontaneously?
KD: I think the sound for 'Gangsta' just came out very organically. 'Gangsta' was based on something I was going through in my personal life at the time, and I'm very proud of it. I have no shame.
CC: What do you think your music will do for people?
KD: Hopefully my music gravitates people into my world. Hopefully it influences people's emotions and makes them think about things they've forgotten about themselves or forgotten about life. People are struggling and going through different things. Sometimes we feel like we need an outlet, and I hope I can be that outlet and a voice for all these people who are going through the same things I'm going through.
CC: How important is it for you to transcend messages not only about your personal experiences, but also about social issues for your career going forward?
KD: I don't even think about it so much in terms of my career. It's more about my life and being a human being. It's important for me to pass down knowledge and hopefully make a difference, and pass it down to our children and our children's children. People living today think too much about the moment and me, me, me and how we can get ahead personally not even thinking about the future, and others. I think we've created such a separation amongst each other and also the way the system is set up has helped create this separation. We don't feel connected to each other anymore. I think it's in our nature, but it's also in our nature to love. Hopefully I can make a difference or at least be a reminder to people of how much we are similar. And to help us casually unite, as opposed to this crazy time in the world that's become so chaotic…These are the kind of questions I grew up asking myself. I have such a passion for people. I have such a passion for life. Hopefully I can be a part of it in an influential way and maybe help you think of the world in a different way.
CC: Obviously, music is a great way of doing this – of uniting people and making these differences disappear. But in your opinion, what are other ways we can unite countries, and make these differences disappear?
KD: I think it's about self-teaching, and I am no different. I have distractions in the industry that I'm in. I'm constantly on Instagram. I'm constantly on Twitter. Also I always try to keep myself in a book; it's about separating yourself and being able to get away from the distractions for a little while and just be conscious that those are just distractions. They are temporary, instant gratifications, little things that don't make a different. But as long as you continue to give yourself knowledge of what the truth is about life, God and the unity of us. I think that's the best way to do it. It's almost like a lack of consciousness. You can read books full of knowledge that can inspire you to think in a different way as opposed to the way you grew up thinking. A way that's been ingrained in our society for hundreds of years, and it's how most people think now. It's what we believe to be true and real, as opposed to what could be. People need to start reading and opening up their minds, and become more conscious. You have to give yourself that knowledge.
CC: What’s your take on social media and how do you utilize it to engage your fans and keep them informed?
KD: I update people on things that are happening. I'm constantly interacting with fans. It's one of the reasons I got into this: music and interacting with people. I have a passion for music. I have a passion for people. I have a passion for life. So that's what I use it for. Sometimes I try to be funny. I just got this App called Vine that just came out. Oh my God – talk about a distraction. I've been having so much fun with it, and things like that. The thing about Twitter is that it opens up the door so people can kind of really see who you are. It doesn't have to be just the persona that people front. There are definitely artists who put up this front. The thing about social media is that it's just fun. If you don't use Twitter and Instagram and all these things to build a persona for yourself, you can use it to interact with your fans and keep them updated. You can show people who you really are.
CC: Are you your own competition in this industry?
KD: I'm competitive with myself. I think that everybody is their own competition. I'm not here to become better than everybody else. I'm here to be the best that I can be. So in that light, yes, I am my only competition.
CC: What's your biggest joy in life?
KD: I think it's love, and it doesn't have to be in a relationship sense. It can just be a sense of unity. The moment you feel that sense of love I think is definitely the biggest joy. There are people who are just cold, or just haven't tapped into it yet, or are just not comfortable in that way, or don’t know love. They think they do but they don't, but that is definitely my biggest joy – just love between people, with myself, with God.
CC: What does fashion mean to you and how do you use it to let people know, 'This is who I am'?
KD: Fashion is an outward expression. It's an ornament, in a sense. It's an expression of who you are. Sometimes you'll see me and I'll be really laid back. Other times I'm really done up and sexy as fuck, and classy. It all depends on the emotions. It's about how I'm feeling on that day. Fashion is about emotions and an ornament on your body.
CC: What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
KD: Right now, I'm using Vine a lot, and it's really bad. I got this App five days ago and I'm obsessed with it. But other than that I read. I'm constantly trying to give myself more knowledge. My free time is very little, but I sleep, and I work out. I try to be at peace and meditate.