Kat Dahlia is a name you’re going to want to remember. Her debut album My Garden was released on January 13, 2015, and it is all I have been able to think about for the past couple of days. The album is just as eclectic as you would expect from a Cuban-American singer-songwriter who raps.
The opening track, “My Garden” greets you with her raw vocals that make it difficult to listen to anything else. The album itself takes you through an emotional journey that Dahlia’s lyrics make certain you connect with. “I Think I’m In Love” is the first song that I listened to off of the album and with lyrics like, “When you say give me your hand/Baby I’m falling/I hope you catch me when I land,” she captures the emotions of falling in love in a beautiful and familiar way. Dahlia wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs in this album, and while listening to it, that fact is hard to miss. She writes in an unapologetic fashion that I can’t help but admire; with every note on every song you can feel the journey that was taken for this album to come to life.
My ears have been yearning for a new musician that excites me about music again. I feel like I’ve been listening to the same music for far too long and Kat Dahlia’s My Garden is a wonderful addition to my playlist. When I first listened to this album I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did (enjoyed may be an understatement, I haven’t stopped playing it in two days) because it’s not the type of music that I tend to enjoy. Surprised as I was, I couldn’t stop listening to it because Dahlia’s gritty lyrics have a way of grabbing your attention, no matter what music genre you typically enjoy. In “Mirror,” she makes a connection with the listener because she makes herself relatable while discussing the reality of attempting to realize your dreams: “We all just chasing a dream/In the land of the free/While we paying a fee/to stay on this concrete”.
The upbeat dance tracks are sprinkled throughout the album and keep the momentum up until the end. “Saturday Sunday” is a fun song that can play as a soundtrack to any dance party you’ll be having (in your car or otherwise). Dahlia’s Latin roots are showcased best during “Tumbao,” where she incorporates the influence that Celia Cruz’s music has had in her own musical journey. “Gangsta” (which was also recorded in a Spanish version) describes the struggles her family has dealt with; there is no doubt in my mind that no matter what kind of incredible success Kat Dhalia sees, she will never forget where she came from. There is, what I consider to be, a “filler” track on the album and that would be “Lava” – which is not to say that it is a bad track or that it ruins the listening experience, it just falls short compared to the rest of the album.
The album closes with, “Just Another Dude,” which inches its way to being my favorite track every time I listen to it. This song gets stripped of all of the production that you hear behind the rest of the songs. In this song, you get Kat Dahlia’s voice being accompanied by an acoustic guitar; a song that reaches into your soul and forces you to feel what Dahlia felt when she wrote this song.
My Garden is a wonderfully put together debut album. Kat Dahlia poured herself into every song and didn’t hold anything back. She should be nothing but proud about the music she is putting out into the world. I said in the beginning of this review that Kat Dahlia is a name you need to remember, and I stand by my statement. This girl is not going anywhere, I on the other hand, have to go back to listening to My Garden. So go, download and listen to the album because you want to be able to say, “I knew about her before she made it big.”