By Lauren Robinson A.K.A Nobody’s Millennium
Professionally known as Kali Uchis, Karly-Marina Loaiza is a Colombian-American singer/ songwriter born July 17th, 1993 in Alexandria, Virginia. Her parents moved to the United States in the early 1990s when conflict began to brew in Colombia but they would move back and forth between both places. She began elementary school in Colombia but moved back to the U.S. by the third grade. Uchis graduated high school in America but would often skip class to go to the photo lab and experiment with making short films.
Musically, Uchis learned how to play piano and saxophone. Alongside learning how to make music she wrote poetry and songs but didn’t intend on becoming a singer but directing films. Her on stage name“Kali Uchis” was given to her by her father. After graduating high school, Uchis released her debut mixtape Drunken Babble on August 1, 2012. Critics described the tape as “genre- defying” with her musical influences stemming from doo-wop, reggae, and early 2000s R&B. More of her influences come from the 1960s and the Jazz genre where in the beginning of her career Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were mentioned to be her influences. Other musicians she cited as influences are Curtis Mayfield, Loose Ends, Ralfi Pagan, Irma Thomas, and Bootsy Collins.
Uchis released her debut EP Por Vida on her official website for free download and later released on iTunes. Various musicians like Diplo, Tyler, the Creator, Kaytranada and BadBadNotGood contributed to the production of the project. Her first tour began in October 2015 with Leon Bridges.
On May 22nd, 2017 Uchis released “Tyrant”, featuring English singer Jorja Smith. The song was the first single for her then-upcoming debut studio album. June 20th, she announced her first headlining tour in North America as support for the album. Uchis then released “Nuestro Planeta” featuring Reykon as the second single from the album.
Uchis’ career has been on a steady rise and even becoming recognized with accolaids. In
October 2017, Uchis was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for “Record of the Year” for her collaboration with Colombian musician Juanes, “El Ratico”. She also snagged a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards for her collaboration with Canadian singer Daniel Caesar, “Get You”.
On March 14, 2018, Uchis performed on The Tonight Show and announced her debut album, Isolation. It was officially released worldwide on April 6, 2018.
Despite being signed to major record labels Virgin EMI and Interscope her sound is able to keep close to her roots without being drastically changed or forced to become more commercial in order to find success. Uchis has created a niche for herself and is thriving through resilience and constantly displaying her talents to the world.