Kali Uchis

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Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameKarly-Marina Loaiza
Born (1994-07-17) July 17, 1994 (age 24)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • burrito music video director
  • Vocals
  • saxophone
  • piano
Years active2012–present
Associated acts

Karly-Marina Loaiza (born July 17, 1994), known professionally as Kali Uchis, 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.

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]


2012–2014: Drunken Babble[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" from his mixtape, That's My Work Volume 3.

2015–2016: Por Vida[edit]

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–present: Isolation[edit]

Kali Uchis performing in March 2017.

On April 28, 2017, Gorillaz's fifth studio album, Humanz, was released, which included songs that feature Uchis, namely "She's My Collar" and the bonus track "Ticker Tape".

On May 22, 2017, Uchis released "Tyrant", featuring English singer Jorja Smith, to serve as the first single from her then-upcoming debut studio album. On June 20, 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.[14] Uchis then released "Nuestro Planeta", featuring Reykon, as the second single from the album on August 25, 2017.[15]

On September 27, 2017, Lana Del Rey announced that Uchis would be joining her as an opening act on select North American arena dates of her world tour, the LA to the Moon Tour. Uchis supported Del Rey from January 15, 2018, to February 16, 2018.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

On March 14, 2018, Uchis performed on The Tonight Show and announced her debut album, Isolation.[19] It was officially released worldwide on April 6, 2018.



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."[20] She also mentioned that she enjoys jazz, stating during her career beginnings that she draws musical inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.[21] Other musicians she cited as influences on her sound are Curtis Mayfield, Loose Ends, Ralfi Pagan and Irma Thomas.[20]


"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 donate proceeds[22] to communities around her hometown. 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 [23]
2018 UK Music Video Awards Best Urban Video - International "After the Storm" (featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins) Nominated [24]
Best Production Design in a Video Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated [25]

Concert tours[edit]


  • North American Tour (2017)
  • In Your Dreams 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 (23 August 2018). "Kali Uchis Went to Her Hometown in Colombia to Donate Food & Supplies to Families in Need". Remezcla. Retrieved 19 November 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. ^ "Kali Uchis announces 2017 North American Tour". Illroots. June 21, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Cacouris, Christina (August 25, 2017). "A New Spanish-language Kali Uchis Single "Nuestro Planeta" Just Dropped". V. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Kim, Michelle; Strauss, Matthew. "Lana Del Rey Announces Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Mcphate, Tim (October 7, 2017). "Kali Uchis Talks Juanes, Colombia & Lana Del Rey Tour". Grammy.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  18. ^ Merril, Philip (December 19, 2017). "Who Will Win Best R&B Performance?". Grammy.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Kali Uchis announces debut album Isolation". DIY. March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Wilkinson, Dan (November 24, 2014). "2,4,6,8... we appreciate kali uchis". i-D. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Smith, Thomas (April 16, 2018). "Kali Uchis: The Making of A Modern Icon". NME. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Kimble, Julian (25 October 2018). "Kali Uchis used to live out of her car. Now, she's one of pop music's rising stars". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Grammys awards 2018: full list of winners". Guardian. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  24. ^ "video genre categories - ukmva 2018". www.ukmva.com. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  25. ^ "2018 Soul Train Awards Exclusive: H.E.R., Bruno Mars Tie as Top Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-10-25.

External links[edit]