13 July

Meet soul and R’n’B pin-up Kali Uchis

 

Like a 70's pin-up but a soul and R’n’B artist by profession, the fresh-faced Kali Uchis first made an impression with “Por Vida”, her 2015 EP on which she collaborated with the big man himself Snoop Dogg and the eccentric Tyler The Creator. Today she launches “Tyrant”, the first track off a major album carried by her sweet Colombian flow. Numéro met this young nymph with her dulcet tones, who revealed all about the opus to come…

By Chloë Fage

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    A sultry pout à la Françoise Hardy, pale Monroe-esque blond locks, and ultra-colourful silhouette straight out of the cult film Clueless The young artist Kali Uchis, who appeared on the scene back in 2013, is a time capsule unto herself. And the multiplicity of her influences is just as impressive in her music: yéyé sounds combine with a Motown groove against a reggaeton rhythmical backdrop. “When I was little, I was like this really old fashioned kid, always in my own world, Walkman earphones clamped to my head listening to music 24/7, everything from Claudia de Colombia to April March”, explains the girl who succeeded in drawing from both her Colombian and American origins.

     

    When I was little, I was like this really old fashioned kid, always in my own world, Walkman earphones clamped to my head listening to music 24/7.”

Kali Uchis - Tyrant ft. Jorja Smith

A cacophony of musical references that Kali Uchis left to decant for two years up to the conception of her first real album, the time it took for her to refine her artistic choices. “I started doing music when I was 18 years old. I had so many references and just one desire, to experiment as much as possible. That’s exactly what I tried to do with my first project ‘Por Vida’.” A hybrid musical project conceived with the biggest names in hip-hop including superstarSnoop Dogg, and that would become the experimental basis of “Tyrant”. With this new work the Latina Brigitte Bardot affirms her vocal identity, reduces the field of influences and offers something resolutely modern with a predominantly R'n'B and dancehall edge

Kali Uchis - Only Girl ft. Steve Lacy, Vince Staples

“The characters embodied by Brigitte Bardot always fascinated me. Her performances on screen really shook every taboo and opened the field to a more emancipated vision of women. It’s a great guideline for my lyrics.”

 

On this first track from the album, recorded in collaboration with English singer Jorja Smith, Kali explains: “I wanted to offer up something light and fun, that would honour this project. A first track that foreshadows the beautiful things to come but doesn’t reveal too much at the same time!” For now the artist is doing a great job of maintaining the suspense around the other tracks on her album, even though other prestigious collaborations have seen the light of day. Her caressing voice is featured on the latest Gorillaz’s album “Humanz”, on Drake’s “More Life” and also in the fabulous productions of Kaytranada. But it’s not just her musical sensibility that fascinates; her retro/Latino/glamour puss image is just as intriguing. The girl who admits worshipping Brigitte Bardot, is one of a new garde of female artists, along with Princess Nokia and Tommy Genesis, who depicts womankind in all its liberated glory, sexually as much as socially. She says: “The characters embodied by Brigitte Bardot always fascinated me. Her performances on screen really shook every taboo and opened the field to a more emancipated vision of women. It’s a great guideline for my lyrics.” A statement that’s both strong and energising, spurred on by a velvet voice against a languorously syncopated rhythm: And God Created… Kali Uchis.

 

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