Who is Kali Uchis?
Kali Uchis may not be a household name quite yet, but she’s well on her way. Some have even called her the next Amy Winehouse due to her style, flare and impressive range. With a new single titled “Tyrant” that’s rapidly gaining popularity as it circulates social media in anticipation for her first album, her talent, brand and journey in music thus far are worth taking a look at.
For those unfamiliar, the 22-year-old Colombian-American singer-songwriter is an enigma at first listen. Her genre falls somewhere between soul, indie and pop - if you had to define it. But when broken down, there are influences of all kinds in her music. She prides herself on overseeing every aspect of her music from production to her retro-vintage visuals.
In 2014, Uchis released a 9-track EP titled Por Vida that featured almost entirely sweet melodic slow jams produced by well-known names like Tyler the Creator and Diplo. Songs like “Call Me” and “Sycamore Tree” pushed Kali’s vocals to the forefront, with the latter (a haunting a cappella track) being aptly featured on visually intense teasers for the sixth season of American Horror Story - which considerably boosted her popularity. Meanwhile songs like “Ridin Round” has undeniable reggae undertones while “Lottery,” one of the featured tracks of the EP released as a single ahead of time, is heavily tinted with very retro vibes.
More recently, interest in Uchis skyrocketed as her vocals were featured prominently on two tracks of the highly anticipated new Gorillaz album – “Ticker Tape” and “She’s My Collar.” Her vocals are hair-raisingly sweet and salacious, and undeniably one of the standouts of the album.
“Tyrant”, Uchis’ most recent release, is the first single from her yet-to-come debut album. Uchis herself described it as a “post-apocalyptic love song” and some of her Colombian heritage comes out to play in a few lyrics as well as some prime examples of her kick-ass songwriting skills - “I disappear like El Chapo” being the one she first tweeted with the link to the single. And above it all, her vocals are as delightfully saccharine and beautiful as ever. The song also features stellar vocals from Jorja Smith, a name you may recognize from Drake’s most recent album More Life. Her soulful style paired with Uchis is a match made in heaven.
Overall, Kali Uchis should be on your radar before the release of her debut album, which allegedly is coming sometime later this year. She’s the kind of artist you can’t put your finger on – her vibe is a sort of playful nostalgia somehow both remnant of the 60s and 90s and influenced by a little bit of everything and everybody. Her music is wholesome, lustful, mysterious and honest all at once; and her rising stardom is full of promise – don’t sleep on this one.
Listen to Tyrant.