Show: Wednesday at U Street Music Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m.
202-588-1889. ustreetmusichall.com. $20.
Kat Dahlia’s first headlining tour was put on hold in 2014 when she was diagnosed with a pseudocyst on her vocal cord. But this didn’t derail her. Last year, the Miami singer, songwriter and occasional rapper dropped her debut album “My Garden.” Over the course of 11 tracks, Dahlia offers listeners a greater glimpse into her life experiences with music that is spunky and organic.
Like any good storyteller, Dahlia — whose real name is Katriana Huguet — draws her listeners in, making them want to know more about her story. Her music often blends Latin, hip-hop, pop, reggae and soul. In celebration of her Cuban American heritage, her song “Tumbao” channels salsa legend Celia Cruz’s “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” and on it Dahlia sings and raps in English and Spanish.
The 25-year-old turns pain into inspiration: She has said that part of “My Garden” was written while she was in a toxic relationship.
On songs such as “Crazy,” it’s not hard to see how that kind of emotional rollercoaster inspired her creatively: She sings, “Is it crazy that I want you to stay, when I tell you to leave, when I tell you go?” What ultimately attracts listeners to her music is the frankness and courage behind her words.