I try to stay away from political topics because that’s not fun for me, and I want music to be fun. If your parents know English, you get reliant on that because you’re so used to speaking English in America.
kali uchis lyrics – Selena For Sanctuary In Central Park
On his debut LP, Jardín, Gabriel Garzón-Montano sings of the struggles and uncertainties of the many-layered game that is America today, from the specific doubt and double consciousness of the first-generation hustle, to the universal challenges of love, legacy, and exploring the maze of one’s own mind. In her escapism-drenched debut, Isolation, Karly-Marina Loaiza continues to revel in her lost-girl alter ego Kali Uchis. She sings about herself in the third person on ‘Just a Stranger’, a danceable standout in which bassist and vocalist Steve Lacy sings the hook – She don’t want love, she wants my hundred dollar bills.” A self-described hurricane”, Uchis’ wistful vocals float over the driving bass almost threateningly: her delivery is sugary-sweet, but an intimidating confidence and propensity to manipulate rides along with it. She’ll hypnotise you into giving her your money, your attention and your love, then break your heart at the snap of her fingers. One can imagine her writing this track, along with ‘Miami’, ‘Your Teeth in My Neck’, and ‘Dead to me’, while applying false eyelashes and lining her lips in front of a vintage lightbulb-bordered vanity mirror.
Kali Uchis pauses for a long time. Apart from the hum of the galley in the east London hotel where we’re on second helpings of breakfast, the only noise is her long nails scrolling rapidly across her phone. At first, I think she’s taking a moment to carefully consider her answer to a question, as she frequently does – but then she suddenly slides the screen toward me and taps it, a triumphant grin on her face: this is you, you look like her!” The photo of Lizzy Caplan – not in the Mean Girls Janis Ian phase, though – is one of just several pop culture references that pops up throughout our kinetic, bunny-hopping conversation.
Uchis’ voice floated like a feather during a brief cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Performed midway up the stairs to a sea of people and phones, Uchis reimagined the mammoth hit, effortlessly blending it with her own catalog. “Melting” offered some of her finest vocals of the evening; Uchis, sang with color, flavor, and unwavering stamina.
Tomorrow” is aspirational; Coming Home” starts off doubtful, but the second half is assured. After the Storm,” with its irresistibly groovy crawl, is encouraging. The album ends with the reflective Killer,” written while Uchis was living out of her Subaru, in which she likens love gone bad to murder.
Following in the footsteps of Ozuna, Miguel and countless others who either know what’s good for them or want to spark conversation ahead of new work, Uchis cleaned her Instagram last month, and fans took notice. A young follower named Taylor said, Does this mean new music is brewing because I fcking hope so.” Kali retweeted the sentiment, which is a confirmation if you ask me.
On stage, Kali Uchis brims with the sultriness of a vintage pinup and channels a sullen soulfulness in the same vein as Little Ann. These qualities have caught the attention of Lana Del Rey, with whom the Los Angeles-based singer toured extensively in 2017, just months before releasing her star-studded 2018 LP debut, Isolation.
After high school, Uchis released 2012’s Drunken Babble mixtape – a laidback and woozy mix of RnB and hip-hop that found Uchis speak-rapping on many of the tracks. She co-directed the 2013 video for What They Say, a moody homage to West Coast lowrider culture that features the singer and her two friends stealing a guy’s car, riding around Los Angeles and smoking weed. A few months after the video dropped, Snoop Dogg reached out to propose they collaborate. The result, On Edge, ended up on Snoop’s 2014 mixtape, That’s My Work, Vol. 3, and introduced Uchis to a whole new world of listeners. She began working with Tyler, the Creator, who called called on Uchis to sing on his 2015 album Cherry Bomb. The two have remained close friends and collaborators ever since: Uchis is featured on his 2017 LP Flower Boy, while Tyler contributed a verse to the single After the Storm from her debut album Isolation.
It comes as no surprise that Kali Uchis’ pump-up playlist is a stream of beltable songs by iconic women. Uchis is becoming somewhat iconic in her own right, with her bold style, brassy spirit, and unmistakably rich voice. To her fans worldwide, Uchis is also a vital role model – a strong Colombian woman who’s proud of her culture and her sexuality. Her songs are often self-sustaining anthems of empowerment, elegant vignettes about striking out on your own and knowing your worth and not needing a man. In her music videos, Uchis plays motorbike-riding hustlers, power suit-wearing newscasters, and the kind of women who shove the guy who wronged them in the trunk of their car. In the promo photos for her first EP, she posed in the desert wearing all white, a suitcase in one hand and a rifle in the other.
Of course, this sexism is compounded for a woman, especially a Latina, working in the music industry. “I find it fascinating,” Uchis has said in interviews, “that immediately when a female and male are working together or if a male does anything that is going to help a female’s career whatsoever, the immediate assumption is that she must be giving some type of sexual gratification to him in some way.” People don’t want to give women the credit they deserve, she says, or let them be seen as the dominant force.
Left-field pop polyglot nominated for multiple Grammy awards before she hit the Top Five of the R&B album chart with Isolation. Always love this venue and Kali was amazing. Popcorn a plus! Super yummy. KALI: A lot of coffee, and Shakira. There’s a lot of people coming out with music from there like you probably heard of J Balvin, he’s worked with Pharrell.
Born Karly-Marina Loaiza in 1994 to Colombian parents, Kali Uchis was raised between Pereira, Colombia, and the suburbs of Virginia. She learned to play the piano and saxophone at a young age, and by high school she’d joined jazz band.
As the audience prepared for Kali Uchis to take the stage, anticipatory shouts echoed throughout the building, leading into a thunderous homecoming-like cheer. KALI: Yeah, I feel like everyone’s saying that. From scoring a spot at SA’s Mala Luna Fest to performing on tracks by Snoop Dogg and Gorillaz to touring with singer Leon Bridges, Kali Uchis has carved out a niche in R&B and pop.
Although Jorja has released several singles since January 2016, she dropped her debut studio album, Lost & Found, in June 2018. She has also toured with Bruno Mars on his U.S. tour, collaborated with Drake on his More Life album and co-wrote the song I Am” with Kendrick Lamar for the Black Panther soundtrack.
We talk a bit about the prevalence of brujeria, or witchcraft, in Latin culture, which leads to me telling her I am surprised there aren’t more Spanish songs on the album. While much of Isolation has some Spanglish ad-libbing and rhythmic influences, Nuestro Planeta” is the only song entirely in Spanish.
But Uchis, who played saxophone and piano and was in a jazz band before quitting in high school, never planned to sing. She was more interested in film and photography, so she began by building a portfolio, filming music videos for local artists, creating mix-tape cover art, and making clothes and selling them online, all while writing music that she largely kept to herself. She got more comfortable with singing as she developed her voice, but her creative aspirations were met with admonishment and ridicule from adults and peers alike.
I mean, we have a statue dedicated to Juanes in Medellín! In music, it’s really difficult to remain timeless. You want to remain somebody who can keep being an artist and not be washed out. You often hear things like, I liked his first one better.” It’s hard for the fans to grow with you. So I have a lot of love for artists like him and Shakira, who are putting on for Colombia so much. They do so much for the city; they do so much for the country. It’s amazing to have Colombian artists at the forefront of pop music. I wish there were more Afro-Latino Colombians or indigenous Colombians that were being put on at the moment – I feel like that’s really what’s missing right now. But, you know, being from Colombia is definitely still something to be proud of.
Highlights included Blue Lights,” Smith’s haunting portrayal of police brutality and racial profiling, which showcased her knack for emotive storytelling, and Goodbyes,” a moody ballad with faint echoes of the Fugees’ Killing Me Softly.” Sung amid wisps of pink-lit fog, Goodbyes” showed Smith’s immense capacity for emotional depth. Sliding into her falsetto on the chorus, she sold the song’s story of inevitable heartbreak and loss flawlessly.
More recently, the Colombian American singer landed two dates at this year’s ACL Music Festival. TYLER: There’s something so special about it. I think it just sounds like love. At a Grammys after party event last year, I was wearing a headpiece by Kim Shui. I love her stuff. That was fun to wear because I love when I can feel like a goddess. Very ethereal, otherworldly.
TYLER: He’s Colombian? Fucking congrats to him, motherfucker that’s tight. My dad’s Nigerian and I don’t know anything about that side, ‘cause I don’t know the dude but Nigerian music from the 70s and 80s is insane. They were making funk that was fused with other shit, it’s crazy. There’s this band called Witch that’s cool there… I’ve never had Nigerian food but I’m gonna try it too. I just like pancakes and waffles and French toast but I’m down to try it.
When things got tense between her and her father during Kali’s senior year of high school in Virginia in 2012, she moved out, living out of her Subaru and often staying up late in a parking lot writing poems, then recording them as songs on her laptop. One night a year later — after she’d made amends with her dad and moved back home — she decided to upload some of the music she’d been creating as an online mixtape. She called it Drunken Babble, and to hear her describe it, it was just an experiment. She had no idea it would eventually launch her career.
You can see from my first videos I was using handheld cameras and literally doing it all by myself with no team. I didn’t know how to perform. I had to teach myself all these things.” One of these videos from 2012 is still on Uchis’ YouTube channel. Directed and edited by Uchis herself, the video shows her singing in a tiny home bathroom, DIY-style shots of her lying on a (very ordinary-looking) bed and lots of teenagers smoking weed. It’s got the same gritty, amateur feel as the freestyle videos you might have seen on SBTV before grime went mainstream , but with a hedonism-heavy story board that brings to mind Thirteen, the indie cult classic about bored, rebellious teens.
With a voice that sounds as though Holiday, Diana Ross, Amy Winehouse, and Lana Del Ray all had a bilingual baby, Kali quickly became a go-to vocalist for artists ranging from Tyler the Creator to Major Lazer. After another mixtape, Por Vida, and more collaborations — including El Ratico” with Juanes, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy — Kali rose to mainstream attention last year when she was featured on Daniel Caesar‘s Get You,” which earned the pair a Grammy nod. Next came her album’s lead single Tyrant” with fellow up-and-comer Jorja Smith, which was featured on an episode of Insecure, and this year, she opened up for Lana Del Ray on tour.
But the way I work best is still from scratch on the keyboard, when I’m by myself in my room. I’ll just make different sounds, and it can get weird laughs. Then I bring my ideas to people who can really produce, because I’m still figuring out how to be a better singer, writer and musician in general. It’s nice to see what you come up with with different people, because I learn so much from all these really talented musicians.
Kali Uchis dropped Isolation a little more than a year ago. A few months later, she took to Twitter to let followers know she was taking a hiatus. Shortly after that, she and Jorja Smith would take the road for a North American tour that birthed the kind of images that shook the body and cleansed the heart.
I’m actually going at the end of August to visit and shoot a couple of videos. I’m coming out with a lot more Latin songs, and I think it’s important to spend more time with the community there. In the same way, I came to L.A. for a couple years to be around like-minded people and make music. All the people I was working with at the time on the album were people that happened to be in L.A. Now, I’m trying to focus more on Latin music, so it’s vital for me to immerse myself in Latino culture. I wouldn’t want to be in L.A. trying to make Latin music with a German guy or something.