Kat Dahlia and Polly A are changing the Caribbean pop game
After an amazing shoot celebrating their culture, we sat down with music artists Polly A and Kat Dahlia. The dynamic singing best friends drank their favorite cheap wine on the balcony of the photographers Hollywood home, while overlooking the hills, to chat about their cultural influences in their world of art. Let the fun begin.
What is your background and how has it influenced your overall sound?
Polly A: Im Jamaican! My love for music started with reggae and dance hall. Artists like Yellowman and Bob Marley were some of the old school tunes that my mom played growing up. My approach to the things I talk about and write are heavily influenced by reggae because it was a lot about struggle music. Songs like Mirror and Chosen, talk about the light in all of us thats dimmed and we always have to remember to shine that.
Kat Dahlia: Im Cuban. I was influenced by salsa, merengue, and bachata. However, growing up in Miami I was also influenced by hip hop, southern hip hop and reggae, thanks to the diversity, the Kat Dahlia signature flow was perfected.
The Jamaican and Cuban culture have some bomb key food choices that require meat. I heard that both of you are vegetarian or vegan, whats it like going to visit family?
Polly A: I’m vegetarian and “‘fegan” until my mom cooks. Then all bets are off. I love curry goat and brown stew chicken. You definitely get a pass when grandma or mom cooks.
Kat Dahlia: I always go to my grandma’s and she usually cooks me about 5 lbs of food. Steamed yucca, flan [and everything else]. She knows that I don’t eat meat but she would still make some of my favorites, like palomilla. I really try to avoid it but I can’t, she doesn’t like that I don’t eat meat. Then when I come back to LA I’m on my vegan shit, trying to do mad hikes to work it off.
When was the last time you’ve been back to your countries to have some of the very authentic food and visit family to get a refresher on your hood?
Polly A: I don’t really have a lot of family that I know there because they all relocated to the States or to Canada. So when I go back I’m usually more of a tourist. I have family in Kingston that I met a few times. But besides that I usually do the resort, very regular. They see me as American so yeah, haha.
Kat Dahlia: Its hard to fully connect to my roots when were not even allowed to visit family [because of the embargo ban . We were never able to visit certain relatives. I never saw where my grandparents or my dad lived or grew up until like a year ago when the doors were opened to do so. Now we are making more effort to go back as a family.
More than we realize those times make up a lot of who we are. And we can’t forget important things about where we came from. It was always harder for me because I wasn’t able to go back to where my ancestors are. But thankfully Miami turned into a little Cuba.
Pretend you’re on an episode of Cribs, what are you super excited to show the world?
Polly A: Jasper! Everyone loves Jasper. [her dog]
Jasper is pretty awesome! Look at him chilling on your lap, loving life.
Kat Dahlia: I have a lot of cool colored lights around my house. Its very trippy in there. It’s a vibe for sure. That’s where the “Friday Night Majic” really happens. Oh yeah!
Polly A: Its like a trippy nightclub.
Okay, lets talk about the music! Both of you ladies have new stuff on the way. What can we expect?
Polly A: I just released the first single, “Just Like That,” off my upcoming project, “Like Colors in a Waterfall.” It was fun creating it.
That’s a cool title, why did you chose it?
Polly A: Each song is its own hue, a different side to my personality. Each song was a gift from God.
Kat Dahlia: I just released three new singles, “Friday Night Majic,” “Sirens” and “Manipulator” off my upcoming project, “Naked Lady and a White Horse.”
Kat, There has been quite the uproar from your core fans about the new sound. Some people love it and some people miss the grit. What are your comments about what everyone’s thoughts?
Kat Dahlia: Creativity is playful, my art is so playful I never intended on making the same album, ya know? If you write the same song you’re not really growing. I did it to express my love for all types of music. But the whole album has things on it for everyone, there isn’t just one sound.
Both of you have unique yet similar sounds because of your influences, and you’ve written songs together like “Sirens.” What’s your favorite collaboration to date?
Polly A: Its my favorite because of the second verse.
[At the same time they started reciting the lyrics…]
“We’re all crossing path. For a reason I know that. Hoping just to share some
laughs. Avoid the broken glass. Have I met you in the past. In a life that I lived last.
You know they go too fast. God knows they go too fast…”
Those are some amazing lyrics, ladies! Before we run out of wine and the sun goes down I want to chat really quickly about your fashion.
Polly A: Well Kat can give you indie goddess or pop star of all pop stars. I love it. You never know what you are going to get. Whether it’s on some androgynous kickback, tomboy type shit or sparkles bedazzled boobs out, everything! We want it all.
Kat Dahlia: Polly, she can throw anything together and make it dope. She finds gems at any time, in any place. She can just pull it off. That’s low-key one reason I roll with her, because she gets us into the all the cool clubs. [both laugh]
Polly A: On the streets, on the sidewalk, is really where it goes down though. If you wanna catch a vibe you can find us outside, dancing to our own shit.
Kat Dahlia: Outside the velvet rope. So damn extra casual.
[Both laugh hysterically and twerk a little]
Is this why they call you Polly Alpha? Is that like your Sasha Fierce?
Polly A: Polly Alpha was born out of the evolution of Polly A. Representing for the women who are leaders, the lioness, running things. I’m an alpha female. It’s who I am. I’m a lioness.
Follow Polly [@akaPollyA] and Kat [@KatDahlia] on all social media for new music, tours and all the other amazing things they are doing! Jamaica and Cuba stand up!
Now onto our last and final stop, wardrobes. I was surprised to see that both of them described each other’s style instead of their own, here’s what they had to say.
“Well, Kat can give you indie goddess or pop star of all pop stars,” Polly A says. “I love it. You never know what you are going to get. Whether it’s on some androgynous kick back, tom-boy type shit or sparkled bedazzled boobs, everything! We want it all.”
Kat follows that up by saying anything Polly puts on is dope. She finds gem statement pieces, everywhere, and it’s low-key one of the reasons she rolls with her, because it lands them both in the coolest clubs.
(Both start laughing hysterically and twerk a lil.)
Photography and Creative Direction by Emilynn Rose
Styling by Steph Amelie
Hair by Seto McCoy
Makeup by Carmen Dianne & Francie Tomalonis
Interview by Ricky Davii
Assistance from Mandy Pacheco