It’s not hard to see why people are falling for this Columbian singer. From her unique sound to her eclectic style, Kali Uchis is rising to the top fast. The artist has been named the most exciting voice to come out of Virginia since Missy Elliott.
Kali Uchis, originally Karly Loaiz, was born in Columbia. Her family later moved to Alexandria, Virginia where she felt out of place. She was misunderstood not only by her peers but by her family as well. At the age of 17, she left home. For years she lived in her Subaru – writing lyrics, poetry, and making visual art. She was taught that it was unlikely she would become successful and that she would be a struggling artist for the rest of her life. Not even a year later, still living in her Subaru, Uchis self-released Drunken Babble. The mixtape caught the attention of various artists, including Snoop Dogg, and her career took off.
While the typical struggling artist would have tried to capitalize on their initial success or “discovery,” Uchis had no interest in letting the promises of stardom affect her music. The singer has been evolving her distinct sound. Her style can’t be fully described, ranging from modern R’n’B to Spanish pop to Motown B-Sides Jazz to Funk. Uchis’ perfectly blends all of those individual sounds. Her slow-burning music changes and diversifies with every release.
Her old school 70’s aesthetic mixed with her refreshingly different vocals has attracted a loyal fan base. Uchis’ charming sense of self-belief is translated into her music – making her sound appealing to an extensive audience. It is her transparency that makes her relatable, both in personality and in her lyrics. Vulnerability and self-empowerment are always her goals. She feels that “a lot of people think being vulnerable means being weak, but it’s really about being strong.”
Lyrically, she reframes negative experiences through a more positive lens. Everyone experiences heartbreak and has felt lost in the world, and Uchis subverts those experiences and frames them in a more optimistic light. For example, she alters stereotypes of heartbroken women and uses her lyrics to express her independence and self-assurance. She states, “I’m so tired of hearing songs by women that are about men, or how men have hurt them…I feel like I have a lot more to say than that.”
Kali Uchis is powerful and experimental in her musical ways. Her style is unrecognizable with every new release. From her first mixtape, Drunken Babble, being compared to Amy Winehouse-style ballads, to her new album, Isolation, which contains a more Latin hip-hop fusion. Her distinct style and undeniable strength will be sure to drive her career.
COVER PHOTO: wyspa.fm