Kali Uchis

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Kali Uchis
Adele smiling
Kali Uchis performing in 2018
Karly-Marina Loaiza

(1994-07-17) July 17, 1994 (age 25)
Years active2012–present
Musical career
Associated acts

Karly-Marina Loaiza (born July 17, 1994), known professionally as Kali Uchis /ˈis/ OO-chees, is a Colombian-American singer and songwriter. She debuted in the music industry with her 2012 mixtape, Drunken Babble, which was described as "genre-defying". She released her first EP, Por Vida, in 2015 to further recognition. Her debut studio album, Isolation, was released in 2018 to widespread acclaim.

Life and career[edit]

1994–2011: Early life[edit]

Karly-Marina Loaiza was born on July 17, 1994 in Alexandria, Virginia.[1][2] Her parents moved from Pereira, Colombia to the United States in the early 1990s, fleeing the conflict in Colombia. Uchis and her family moved around back and forth between the U.S. and Colombia. She started elementary school in Colombia and moved back to the U.S. in third grade. While growing up, she learned to play piano and saxophone.[3] Uchis participated in a jazz band,[4] before her graduation from T. C. Williams High School. Uchis often skipped classes to spend time at the photo lab, making experimental short films.[1][5] Her interest in photography led to her creating mix-tape cover art.[4] She also wrote poetry, songs and music, but did not initially intend to sing, being rather more interested in directing films than being in the spotlight. She was given the nickname "Kali Uchis" by her father.[1]

2012–2016: Drunken Babble and Por Vida[edit]

Shortly after graduating,[5] Uchis released her debut mixtape, Drunken Babble, on August 1, 2012. The mixtape was described as "genre-defying", noted for its influences from doo-wop, reggae and early 2000s R&B.[6][7][8] In 2014, she collaborated with rapper Snoop Dogg on the song "On Edge" for his mixtape, That's My Work 3.

In February 2015, Uchis released her debut EP Por Vida for free download on her official website, and later on iTunes. The project featured production from various musicians, including Diplo, Tyler, the Creator, Kaytranada and BadBadNotGood.[9][10][11] She embarked on her first tour during October 2015 with Leon Bridges, touring through the United States and parts of Canada.[12]

In 2016, her song "Sycamore Tree" from Por Vida was used in teasers for the television series American Horror Story: Roanoke.[13]

2017–2018: Breakthrough with Isolation[edit]

Kali Uchis performing in March 2017.

In April 2017, Gorillaz's fifth studio album, Humanz, was released, including the songs that feature Uchis, namely, "She's My Collar", and the bonus track, "Ticker Tape".[14][15] The following month, Uchis released "Tyrant", featuring English singer Jorja Smith, to serve as the lead single from her then-upcoming debut studio album. In June 2017, she announced her first headlining tour, specifically a North American tour in support of the album. The tour took place from August to October 2017, starting at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, with a stop at the Pop Montreal music festival.[16] Uchis then released "Nuestro Planeta", featuring Reykon, as the second single from the album, on August 25, 2017.[17] In October 2017, Uchis was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Record of the Year for "El Ratico", her collaboration with Colombian musician Juanes.[18] She was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards for "Get You", her collaboration with Canadian singer Daniel Caesar.[19]

Uchis supported Lana Del Rey on select North American arena dates of her world tour, the LA to the Moon Tour, from January 15 to February 16, 2018.[20] "After the Storm", a track featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins, was issued as the third single in January 2018, followed by the announcement of Isolation, in March 2018, which took place during Uchis' appearance on The Tonight Show.[21] Isolation was officially released worldwide on April 6, 2018.[22][23] It received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87, based on 17 reviews.[24] The album's fourth and final single, "Just a Stranger", featuring Steve Lacy, was released on October 30, 2018.[citation needed]

2019–present: Upcoming second studio album[edit]

In June 2019, Uchis collaborated with American R&B band Free Nationals and American rapper Mac Miller on the single "Time",[25] which is the first official posthumous release by Miller since his death on September 7, 2018.[26] In December 2019, Uchis released "Solita",[27] the lead single of her upcoming second studio album, scheduled to be released in 2020 and to be predominantly sung in Spanish.[28][29]



Uchis stated that she is influenced by music of the 1960s, with its mix of early soul, R&B and doo-wop, saying: "Musically and aesthetically, the culture of it just inspires me."[30] She also mentioned that she enjoys jazz, stating during her career beginnings that she draws musical inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.[31] Other musicians she cited as influences on her sound are Curtis Mayfield, Loose Ends, Ralfi Pagan, and Irma Thomas.[30] Uchis also admires singer Mariah Carey.[32]


"My family is still there, and my parents are there now, I got to experience both worlds in a way. I feel like that was really nice to have as a kid, and I would definitely want to give that to my own kid, the ability to have multiple places to call home."

-Uchis, Washington Post[4]

In 2018, Uchis started selling clothing through social shopping app Depop and donated the proceeds to communities around her hometown.[33] On an Instagram post, she captioned "in my hometown of co[lombia] i was able to contribute medicine, groceries, school supplies, new shoes, household appliances, & even make house modifications for some families suffering from disabilities, illness, & others who had nothing after fleeing from guerrilla warfare". In early August 2018, Uchis and her family in Pereira planned to work and help with communities in her hometown, Pereira, and in Medellín.[4]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Result Ref.
2017 Latin Grammy Awards Record of the Year "El Ratico" (with Juanes) Nominated
Grammy Awards Best R&B Performance "Get You" (with Daniel Caesar) Nominated [34]
2018 UK Music Video Awards Best Urban Video - International "After the Storm" (featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins) Nominated [35]
Best Production Design in a Video Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated [36]

Concert tours[edit]


  • North American Tour (2017)
  • In Your Dreams Tour (2018)
  • Isolation Tour (2018)




  1. ^ a b c Diaz, Jaquira (July 13, 2017). "Who Is The Real Kali Uchis?". The Fader. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Kali Uchis | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  3. ^ Beaudoin, Kate (March 12, 2015). "This Incredible Colombian Pop Star Is About to Make It Big in America". Mic. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Estaff, Remezcla (August 23, 2018). "Kali Uchis Went to Her Hometown in Colombia to Donate Food & Supplies to Families in Need". Remezcla. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Wisniewkski, Angela (September 13, 2017). "Kali Uchis talks immigration, 'Showgirls,' and her deceptively sweet music". Metro Times. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  6. ^ Weiss, Alex (April 6, 2018). "Kali Uchis Is a Self-Made Pop Star". Paper. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Younger, Briana (April 22, 2014). "Kali Uchis: 'I'm An Artist In Every Sense Of The Word'". Bandwidth. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  8. ^ DePollo, Adam (October 25, 2013). "Flow Culture: Kali Uchis surprises with genre-defying debut mixtape". The Michigan Daily. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Leight, Elias (February 3, 2015). "Kali Uchis Talks 'Por Vida,' Working With Snoop & Tyler, The Creator & Twitter Stalking Bootsy Collins". Billboard. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  10. ^ Minsker, Evan (February 3, 2015). "Kali Uchis Shares Por Vida EP Featuring Tyler, the Creator Production". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Brydon, Grant (March 2, 2015). "Track By Track: Kali Uchis – 'Por Vida'". Clash. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  12. ^ "Kali Uchis to Join Leon Bridges on North America Fall Tour".
  13. ^ Whyte, Woodrow (August 1, 2016). "Here's the True Identity of the Mysterious Voice on Those AHS Teasers". PopBuzz. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  14. ^ Phillips, Amy; Monroe, Jazz (March 23, 2017). "Gorillaz Announce New Album Humanz Featuring Grace Jones, Danny Brown, Mavis Staples, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  15. ^ Josephs, Brian (March 23, 2017). "Gorillaz Announce New Album Humanz Featuring Danny Brown, Pusha T, Grace Jones, More". Spin. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "Kali Uchis announces 2017 North American Tour". Illroots. June 21, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Cacouris, Christina (August 25, 2017). "A New Spanish-language Kali Uchis Single "Nuestro Planeta" Just Dropped". V. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  18. ^ Mcphate, Tim (October 7, 2017). "Kali Uchis Talks Juanes, Colombia & Lana Del Rey Tour". Grammy.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Merril, Philip (December 19, 2017). "Who Will Win Best R&B Performance?". Grammy.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Kim, Michelle; Strauss, Matthew. "Lana Del Rey Announces Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  21. ^ "Kali Uchis announces debut album Isolation". DIY. March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  22. ^ "Isolation by Kali Uchis". Apple Music. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  23. ^ Gaca, Ana (March 15, 2018). "Kali Uchis Announces Album, Performs with Tyler, the Creator on Fallon". Spin. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Isolation by Kali Uchis Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "Time – Single by Free Nationals, Mac Miller & Kali Uchis". OBE / Empire Distribution. Retrieved June 13, 2019 – via iTunes Store.
  26. ^ "Mac Miller's first posthumous release drops". Hollywood.com. June 12, 2019.
  27. ^ Darville, Jordan (December 4, 2019). "Kali Uchis shares new song "Solita"". The Fader. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  28. ^ Kali Uchis on "Solita" (Video). March 12, 2019.
  29. ^ Kali Uchis Talks About the Inspiration Behind "Solita", Her New Album and more (Video). YouTube. December 5, 2019.
  30. ^ a b Wilkinson, Dan (November 24, 2014). "2,4,6,8... we appreciate kali uchis". i-D. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  31. ^ Smith, Thomas (April 16, 2018). "Kali Uchis: The Making of A Modern Icon". NME. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  32. ^ https://twitter.com/KALIUCHIS/status/1147943456276267008
  33. ^ Kimble, Julian (October 25, 2018). "Kali Uchis used to live out of her car. Now, she's one of pop music's rising stars". Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  34. ^ "Grammys awards 2018: full list of winners". Guardian. January 29, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  35. ^ "video genre categories - ukmva 2018". www.ukmva.com. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  36. ^ "2018 Soul Train Awards Exclusive: H.E.R., Bruno Mars Tie as Top Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

External links[edit]