Kitty has been around for a minute, but hasn't—in my humble opinion—ever gotten her dues for being among the most innovative artists this side of Tumblr, despite being responsible for lowkey one of the best pop songs ever written (and then some). Consistently putting out thoughtful and intimate dance music that feels like all the sentiments and secrets of a teenage girl's bedroom have been unpacked and transformed into a club, her last proper release was 2014's Frostbite EP. Which is ages ago, isn't it.
The last two years have brought about more change and drama than Mercury in retrograde—from a massively successful Kickstarter campaign to marriage to losing the luggage at LAX that contained the first draft of her debut album—the details of which Kitty has spoken about in her own words below. Before we get into all that, though, let's listen to the title track from her very thirstily awaited and entirely self-produced full-length debut Miami Garden Club, which is premiering right here.
If you are the sort of person for it is: subtle, sensory, and Very Good Indeed. The video, which Kitty made herself with Sam Ray of Ricky Eat Acid/Teen Suicide fame, rapidly subverts everything you're set up to expect from it at the beginning—offsetting something sensual with the suggestion of violence.
"In 2015, after four years of releasing mixtapes and EPs independently, I found myself bored and disillusioned with music and writing. I'd fallen into a routine; someone would send me a beat, I'd write and record to it, and post it online. I realized the only way to fall back in love with music was to create something entirely mine, where I could tell every story from start to finish and build every sound on my own. I spent months studying music theory, working to improve my singing voice and learning to use Ableton, wondering if I'd ever pull it off with no resources. It seemed impossible to make music the way I wanted to without a record label, but I didn't want to have to work around other people's opinions.
"I started looking into Kickstarter, and it took a few months to convince myself that it was worth a try. I was terrified of failure—I'd been struggling with a panic disorder that destroyed my confidence, and the all-or-nothing nature of Kickstarter made the possibility of 'failing' very real. Not reaching my goal felt like a blow I wasn't sure I could recover from. In September of 2015, after a long bath, I was finally like… fuck it. I'll live.
"I reached my first goal of $25,000 in the first 30 hours of the campaign, and by the end of the month I'd received over $52,000 in pledges.
I knew I'd been given a blessing I'd have to work hard to deserve, so I made big plans. Sadly, a lot of them fell apart pretty quickly—in the time since the campaign, I've run into more roadblocks than I ever could've imagined. I'd kept the first draft of the record on an external hard drive that was stolen with my luggage from LAX baggage claim after visiting my family for Christmas, which was devastating. I tried piecing back together what I'd lost with an artist I'd admired since I was young, but ended up abandoning our collaborative work when I decided it was necessary to end our professional relationship. These bullshit obstacles, combined with a mess of problems in my personal life, took a huge toll on my mental health, and I left my home in LA to stay with my dad in Daytona Beach. I didn't feel safe on my own anymore.
"With the support of my family, I sought treatment in Florida and spent the summer of 2016 focused first on recovery, then on starting my record over for the third time. I sat on my dad's back porch for days at a time watching Florida wildlife, and realized the story I wanted this album to tell was set right there. I wrote new songs about growing up in a tourist trap and running away from it, and recorded them with my new husband (long story). By the end of the summer, I was finally making the record I'd wanted to make from the beginning.
"Naturally there's been a few more speed bumps since, but I knew from the beginning that this wasn't going to be easy. It turns out there's a LOT more to this "process" than I thought, and I've had to ask for help more times than I can count. But after two years, three drafts and a million hard decisions I'm finally ready to share the record I put so much of myself into—one that I'm incredibly proud of."
Miami Garden Club is out August 25 and, if you're even a fraction of the legend you tell your friends you are, you should preorder it here.
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