Wrestling with self-doubt in style.
WORDS BY KENDRICK GO
L ast June 2019, Kat Darling quit her job as a pre-school teacher to pursue a career in music. But even until now, nearly a year since that decision, it seems that she has yet to abandon the prospect of imparting what she knows. This, at least, is what her debut single suggests.
With “Sufferin,’” the soulful artist who also goes by the stage name Hit the Road Kat, brings her own wisdom to the topic of self-doubt. Clocking at just a little over 3 minutes, this genre-blurring track discusses her own crippling need for affirmation and affection while seeking to further discussions on mental health and self-acceptance.
“Do I look right?” “Will I impress?” “What can be done?” “Where’s the cure?” These are the questions she asks in the single. And, as an effect, it serves as an accurate portrait of the current zeitgeist, a blunt peek into the minds of those “sufferin’” in this era of wanton self-promotion and comparison.
“In this new single,” so the press release for the song states, “Kat expresses her feelings of self-doubt and anxiety: a common denominator in today’s youth. She says in this day and age, young people are more subjected to seeing ‘the perfect life’ all over social media.” And this song is an in-your-face expression of the struggles that come with such exposures.
“I wanted to share the message so much because growing up, I really battled with my insecurities and I didn’t have people who understood why I even felt like that,” Kat said. “Friends and acquaintances wouldn’t believe it because of my smiley, outgoing, happy-go-lucky persona that they see. But of course, everyone keeps their demons hidden.”
Make no mistake, however, the song hardly sounds like a pity party. Beneath lyrics capable of projecting desperation is a funky soundscape that doesn’t project defeat. Through juxtaposing elements, Kat hardly comes across as someone whining about her problems. Instead, she mostly presents herself as someone simply acknowledging them. And this, according to her, matters.
“It feels therapeutic to be able to admit and let everyone in on what’s going on inside the brain of an anxious girl,” she said. “I’ve had friends who suffer depression tell me that this song is amazing and they can relate to it so much.”
Such is the virtue of honesty. By choosing not to suffer in silence, Kat imparts info necessary for those who do: you are not alone.
“Never be afraid to share how you feel with someone,” she said. “You will find someone who will be willing to help you out.”
Listen to “Sufferin'” by Hit the Road Kat here.