Wednesday, 29 April 2015

United States of KALIfornia: Kali Uchis, the Dream Girl

On her video for her single, What They Say, some noob named Sean mentioned that there was something that made him hate that he really liked Colombian singer, Kali Uchis. His ears, they said yes. His eyes, they said no. He went on to add, "Not sure what it's called, but it's like they're always wearing kid's clothes yet pull off this sophisticated boss-ass-bitch look - Kreayshawn, Kali Uchis, Lil Debbie, Brooke Candy, FKA Twigs, etc..."

OK, so Sean isn't a noob because he's one hundred percent correct. Kali motherfucking Uchis is this 60s soul, 90s R&B, no-small-talk hybrid all aesthetically presented in a seemingly recognisiable Chola look with elements of mod, funk and that ghetto everyone's seen somewhere but never remembers where exactly. You look at girls like Kali and you're straight away hypnotised. She's not even dressed all that eccentric or cutting edge or offering anything vastly different from the things you've seen and, even, the things you own. But somehow, she brings some sort of validation, some sort of power, a presence to this look. Perhaps it's presumptuous (considering I've never seen her IRL) but she's one of those people whose aura just oozes through everything she does, wears and is. And I am in love with her.

But that's not even the half of it.
There's this mix of low-rider, that gangsta Nancy Sinatra vibe Lana went for (but Kali delivers with a touch of Amy Winehouse and a heavy dose of Selena), the soul and doo-wop music my dad listens to and an actual Wednesday Night Interlude in all her music. She's one of the few who cross over between "boy, bye" and "just wanna be the girl you like" so seamlessly, you think she wrote all your journals.

I could try give you a run down of her bars, the songs she samples, how she's worked with Tyler, the Creator (baby) and Snoop Dogg, the syrupy sound of her voice, how she works as her own backing vocals and beat on Sycamore Tree but I don't know a lot jargony stuff about music and you'll find out on your own from how great she is.

I mean, you just look at her, well a photo of her, and it's like maple syrup on a cloudy Sunday: sweet and sad. You look at her and you think about trying to put on lipstick and curling your hair when you're not even feeling all that gangsta. You look at her and, I don't know, you can see the simultaneous Herstories happening at once; that Latin mysticism wrapped in the shades of gold and yellow that makes you think of One Hundred Years of Solitude and the sunsets in telenovelas, "pastel ghetto", grind and actual hustle--the kind that makes you call a white rose handsome instead of beautiful, and a fierce, independent queen in the making.

Of her hometown Colombia, she said in an interview with The Fader, "I love Colombia, it's just that the people there are not really... a majority of my family is tainted by their environment." Can you see? Can you believe it? It's so easy to decide where you come from is either a pit of shit or parade some false, exaggerated sense of nationalism because you don't want people to do that first world head tilt, click their tongue and express mumbles of shame, "at least you're here now".

"You know a lot of people don't want to put out stuff because you have to hear everybody's bullshit. But even as a civilian, I was always hearing people's bullshit about the way I look, or the way I talk, or the way that I like weird shit. So I was just like, 'might as well get paid for this shit.'" - Kali Uchis.

above photos from Know What I Want music video


  1. as policy I never read youtube comments but I'm glad you read f*ckboi Sean's since it allowed you to spread this awesome musician's magical talents through the power of the Internet (pray hands emoji)

  2. Wow ! I didn't know her ! Thanks for sharing. I'm listening her song "Know what I want" on Youtube.. and guess what ? I love it ! I don't why..she reminds me (a little bit) of Amy Winehouse, lol

    Follow me on GFC and/or Instagram ( @hekyma ), I follow back !

  3. her style is mesmerizing. Just listened to a couple of tracks and yeah her music is beautiful


We can also talk about the overweight, grey cat I'm gonna name Atticus one day or how you're feeling.

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