Kali Uchis

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Kali Uchis
Adele smiling
Kali Uchis performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameKarly-Marina Loaiza
Born (1994-07-17) July 17, 1994 (age 26)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2012–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitekaliuchis.com

Karly-Marina Loaiza (born July 17, 1994), known professionally as Kali Uchis (/ˈis/ OO-chees), is an American singer and songwriter. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, she initially garnered music industry attention with her 2012 mixtape, Drunken Babble, which was followed by her debut EP, Por Vida, released in 2015. Uchis released her debut studio album, Isolation, in 2018 to widespread acclaim. Uchis's second studio album and her first Spanish language project, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞, was released in 2020. The album spawned the single "Telepatía" which became Uchis's first solo charting hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. She is also known for her collaboration with artist Kaytranada in his song titled "10%", which earned Kali Uchis her first Grammy Award.

Personal life[edit]

Karly-Marina Loaiza was born on July 17, 1994 in Alexandria, Virginia.[1][2] Her father moved from Pereira, Colombia to the United States, where he met Karly's mother during the early 1990s. Her mother had children from a previous marriage. Karly is their only child together. Her father moved back to Colombia when Karly was in high school in order to take care of his mother, who had fallen ill. Uchis stayed in Colombia with her father and aunts during the summer. Growing up in an immigrant and working-class home, her home life was often filled with hard manual labor.[3]

In high school, she learned to play piano and saxophone.[4] Uchis participated in a jazz band,[5] 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][6] Her interest in photography led to her creating mix-tape cover art.[5] Skipping class and breaking the curfew set by her parents led to her being kicked out of her home in her adolescence. During this time, she lived in her car and wrote songs on her keyboard which would later come in the form of her lo-fi mixtape, Drunken Babble.[3] 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]

She is openly bisexual.[7]

Career[edit]

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

Shortly after graduating,[6] 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.[8][9][10] 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.[11][12][13] She embarked on her first tour during October 2015 with Leon Bridges, touring through the United States and parts of Canada.[14]

2017–2018: Breakthrough with Isolation[edit]

Kali Uchis performing in March 2017.

In April 2017, Gorillaz's fifth studio album, Humanz, was released, including songs that feature Uchis, namely, "She's My Collar", and the bonus track, "Ticker Tape".[15][16] 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.[17] Uchis then released "Nuestro Planeta", featuring Reykon, as the second single from the album, on August 25, 2017.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] "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.[22] Isolation was officially released worldwide on April 6, 2018.[23][24] 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.[25] The album's fourth and final single, "Just a Stranger", featuring Steve Lacy, was released on October 30, 2018.[citation needed]

2019–present: To Feel Alive and Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞[edit]

In June 2019, Uchis collaborated with American R&B band Free Nationals and American rapper Mac Miller on the single "Time",[26] which was the first official posthumous release by Miller since his death on September 7, 2018.[27] In December 2019, Uchis released "Solita",[28] originally planned to be the lead single of her upcoming second studio album,[29] it was later excluded from the final tracklist. However, the song would be included as a bonus track on the vinyl release of the album. On December 9, 2019, Kali Uchis was featured on the single "10%" by Canadian producer Kaytranada, which was taken from his album Bubba. The song would go onto win a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Later on, Uchis was featured on Little Dragon's 6th studio album, New Me, Same Us for a remix of the song, "Are You Feeling Sad?". April 24, 2020, Uchis released an extended play titled To Feel Alive.[30] The EP was recorded entirely in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 7, 2020, Uchis released the song "Aquí Yo Mando" alongside American rapper Rico Nasty.[31] The song was previously previewed in an episode of the HBO series Insecure.[32] "Aquí Yo Mando" serves as the lead single from Uchis' second studio album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞, which is her first project predominantly sung in Spanish.[33][34][35] "La Luz" with Jhay Cortez was released as the album's second single on October 1, 2020.[36] Later that month, a music video for the song was released on October 26.[37] On November 6, the album's pre order was released, with the track list later being revealed on November 13.[35] On November 17, "Te Pongo Mal (Préndelo)" with Jowell & Randy, was released as the album's sole promotional single.[38] The album was released on November 18, 2020 and would peak at number 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums Chart.[39]

Following a lip-sync challenge on the platform TikTok, "Telepatía" from Uchis' second studio album saw a surge in popularity in early 2021. Before being issued as a single, the song debuted inside the top 10 of Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, also reaching number 3 on Spotify's US Top 50 and number 14 on the service's Global Top 50.[40] "Telepatía" has so far peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.[41] Following the resurgence of the song, the success garnered Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 55.

Artistry[edit]

Influences[edit]

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."[42] She also mentioned that she enjoys jazz, stating during her career beginnings that she draws musical inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.[43] Other musicians she cited as influences on her sound are Curtis Mayfield, Loose Ends, Ralfi Pagan, and Irma Thomas.[42] Uchis also admires singer Mariah Carey.[44]

Philanthropy[edit]

"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[5]

In 2018, Uchis started selling clothing through social shopping app Depop and donated the proceeds to communities around her hometown.[45] On an Instagram post, she captioned "in my hometown of Colombia 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.[5]

Discography[edit]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Organization Year[a] Category Work(s) Result Ref.
Grammy Award 2018 Best R&B Performance "Get You" (with Daniel Caesar) Nominated
[46]
2021 Best Dance Recording "10%" (with Kaytranada) Won
[47]
Latin American Music Award 2021 Favorite Pop Album Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) Nominated
[48]
Latin Grammy Award 2017 Record of the Year "El Ratico" (with Juanes) Nominated
[49]
Premios Nuestra Tierra 2021 Best New Artist Herself Pending
[50]
Best Alternative/Rock/Indie Artist Pending
Best Alternative/Rock/Indie Song "vaya con dios" Pending
Best Dance/Electro Song "10%" (with Kaytranada) Pending
Soul Train Music Award 2018 Best New Artist Herself Nominated
[51]
UK Music Video Award 2018 Best Urban Video - International "After the Storm" (featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins) Nominated
[52]
Best Production Design in a Video Nominated

Concert tours[edit]

Headlining
  • North American Tour (2017)
  • In Your Dreams Tour (2018)
  • Isolation Tour (2018)
Co-headlining
Supporting

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b Savage, Mark (August 1, 2018). "How Kali Uchis went from living out of a car to pop stardom". BBC News. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Beaudoin, Kate (March 12, 2015). "This Incredible Colombian Pop Star Is About to Make It Big in America". Mic. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
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  7. ^ @kaliuchisbra (April 21, 2020). "i've openly been bi my whole life :)" (Tweet). Retrieved May 15, 2020 – via Twitter.
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  1. ^ Year in which awards ceremony was held.

External links[edit]