To describe the greatness and electricity of Kali Uchis in three words is a very challenging and arduous task. Therefore, I will dedicate this whole article to the description of what makes her eclectic, diverse, and mesmerising. After numerous issues because of this unpredictable UK weather, Kali was definitely the calm After The Storm as the weather began to tranquilise itself after her entrancing performance at Electric Brixton. Coincidence? I think not.

When describing her background, Uchis found it difficult to give a definite answer. Born in Colombia, she was raised between there and Northern Virginia outside Washington DC in the United States and refers to that as some inspiration for her music.

“Growing up in both those places, I just was inspired by life and the freedom to create what we want and the freedom to explore different sounds. The fact that we can push ourselves creatively in all different directions with everything also inspires me.”

“I also choose to take inspiration from people that aren’t around anymore as I don’t want to be inspired by anything my peers are doing. I want to stay original and true to myself.”

Kali’s single ‘After The Storm’, features Tyler, The Creator and the legendary Bootsy Collins. Most people, such as myself, discovered Kali when her 2012 song ‘What They Say’ was played on the now disbanded Odd Future Radio. She has also been featured on Tyler’s past two albums and he produced two songs on her EP Por Vida. She recalls the first time working with him.

“I would love to work with Pharrell one day. A lot of people in my generation grew up listening to N.E.R.D. and as someone who lived in Virginia, where they also got started, it would mean a lot.”

“I was really nervous because I had never worked with people before or even been in a real recording studio. It was also one of my first times in LA and I’m meeting this person who was further and more established in their career than I was. I was really shook but he was so cool and we got along immediately. He’s always been so supportive of me and always such a good friend. He always believed in my talent and I’ve been so lucky and grateful to have him as a friend.”

“I would love to work with Pharrell one day. A lot of people in my generation grew up listening to N.E.R.D. and as someone who lived in Virginia, where they also got started, it would mean a lot.”

Uchis first arrived on the scene with 1960s-inspired fashion and a platinum blonde hairdo that would be noticed from a mile away. The fashion remains, but we are now graced with a brunette Latin queen. Some may think this was a decision based on the upcoming album but she claims it’s more than that.

Image by: Kiran Gidda

“I like my hair to be free. When I first dyed it blonde from my natural dark brown, it was a ‘oh life is short’ moment and was just for fun. Then eventually I wanted to look more mature and how I felt on the inside. A lot of people didn’t want me to go dark because the blonde was considered my signature look.”

“As a woman in the industry, I feel as if there’s too many standards for us. We have to try a little bit harder to be taken seriously. We have to be likeable, beautiful, stylish, charming and much more. There’s so many pressures put on women that a guy can totally ignore and blow up without even really trying and yet people will still think he’s cool.”

Numerous festivals have come under fire this year for announcing heavily male dominated line ups which has resulted in Kali feeling as if the industry is much more competitive than need be.

“As a woman in the industry, I feel as if there’s too many standards for us. We have to try a little bit harder to be taken seriously.”

“Because of all these standards, it’s a lot more competitive just because a lot of women feel like there’s only so much space for all of us. If you look at the festival flyers and other certain things, you’ll see why it feels like there’s not that many places for everybody. But I do think that buyers and promoters are trying to be more inclusive and becoming more aware of those things.”

“I’d like to see more line-ups which include loads of women rather than deciding which woman is better than the other that they both can’t be included in the line-up. We’re all unique and individuals and should be looked at as so. Especially now more than ever.”

 

Regarding the highly anticipated album, Uchis previously stated via Twitter that she doesn’t want it boxed into one genre. She even gives an explanation as to why she made the decision to be a bilingual singer rather than choose one language.

“I always want to stay true to myself. I speak English and Spanish, and I claim both Colombia and America as my home. Colombia is where my heart really is because my family is still there, and there’s so much magic over there so it’s by nature that I write in both languages.”

When discussing the anticipation and delay for the album, Uchis described herself as a “tease” who wanted to prepare everyone for the release which happened to actually work in her favour. Kali Uchis’ debut album Isolation is out now.