Talking with self-described dislikable Colombian girl Kali Uchis.
Since her debut studio album Por Vida, lowrider soul babe Kali Uchis is creating new standards. With the release of “Only Girl“, a Kaytranada-produced single featuring The Internet’s Steve Lacy and Vince Staples, Uchis introduces a new era of her sound with carefully selected collaborations. The dreamy music video for the song, directed by Uchis herself is out now.
Uchis teases that for her upcoming album, she’s also back it with Tyler, the Creator and now Thundercat. We talked to her about what she’s been up to, what she’s learned since her last album and how the internet has helped her be less afraid to be diverse and experimental.
It’s now been over a year since Por Vida. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since then?
I’ve learned so much in the past year, I’ve had things I knew be reinforced as well. The biggest thing to me would be the importance of humility. I don’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to get soaked up in success and how quickly things move, and to forget how blessed you are and how you wouldn’t be here without the help of so many different people. I can’t thank my fans enough.
You’ve talked a lot about how important it is for you to both work and be alone. With your success now, how have you maintained or lost that? How do you care for yourself while you’re so busy?
That’s something I’ve fortunately been able to maintain. I make a point to be productive, and having alone time is crucial to that. To be honest, it’s not hard to separate me time from work. I don’t go out a whole lot, I like to stay in, so I just make sure to make time for myself.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]I really loved your “Ridin Round” music video. I’m Brazilian, and like you, grew up mostly in the U.S. I had always suspected this because I also have Colombian relatives, but I can really see the similarities in our cultures in this video: from the breakfast at the beginning to the street scenes. It’s very cool that you were also one of the directors and edited it yourself. What was the whole experience like for you?
It was amazing. I love going home, but this time to go home, and work with great people to shoot a music video with my people in the place I’m from… It’s not often you get that opportunity.
I love how your music and style mixes this ultra femme pink wonderland with a sense of real life and hardships. How would you define your sound and style? What, if anything, do you hope people get from your music?
I want people to take whatever they can from my music, but I want them to feel something. I want to make people feel the way I do when I listen to music I love, it always hits me in the gut. Maybe it’s warmth, maybe it’s heartache, maybe the highest plane of inner peace. If you can feel something, at least, I’ll know I’ve done my job.
I want to make people feel the way I do when I listen to music I love, it always hits me in the gut. Maybe it’s warmth, maybe it’s heartache, maybe the highest plane of inner peace.
Photographer Andrew Quesad.
We’re all waiting on what’s next. Is there anything you can tease about your new album?
It’s coming very soon. I’m working with a lot of outrageously talented people, Thundercat, Tyler, more… everything will come to light soon, I promise.
Right now we’re working on an issue that studies the way our lives are affected by digital platforms and how we have grown to understand them and operate within them. The internet, to us, has been a place where we can find peace in being alone, yet not alone at the same time. Have you felt a special connection to the internet?
Without a doubt. The internet played a huge part in me developing my artistry just like it has for all of my peers, I think. It broke down the door of access, and opened the doors of discovery… We create community and start conversation on the internet in ways we were previously unable, in places that never before existed. It’s not perfect, but it’s very special, and important, too.
We create community and start conversation on the internet in ways we were previously unable, in places that never before existed. It’s not perfect, but it’s very special, and important, too.
When did you first get on the internet and when did you start using it as a creative medium?
My first time was probably in my early teens, I’m not sure exactly when, but I feel like I started using it as a creative medium not long after. It also became a development tool for me. I learned how to make videos on the internet, then I learned how to make them better. Then I learned how to make music.
How do you think that using the internet has influenced your voice and style?
The exposure the internet gives us to so many different people, cultures, and stories allows for a worldly perspective. For me personally, I definitely think it’s made me less afraid to be diverse and experiment in ways I probably never would have.
Now for a game we play all the time. On a scale of 1–10, what activity (any activity) would you rate a perfect 10?
New candles, new books, new records, at home.