Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis went from living in her car to becoming a renowned singer and songwriter due to her strong work ethic (Image via Detroit Metro Times)

Kali Uchis Is the Coachella Artist to Watch in 2018

After years of financial struggles, Kali Uchis has finally found success in the music industry.

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Kali Uchis

After years of financial struggles, Kali Uchis has finally found success in the music industry.

The year 2018 looks bright for American-Columbian singer Kali Uchis, who recently released her debut album “Isolation” and will perform at this year’s Coachella Music Festival. From sleeping in cars in parking lots to recording and producing her own music in a tiny apartment, Uchis has come a long way from where she first began, but she still stays true to her roots.

Born in Virginia but partially raised in Columbia, Uchis’ upbringing was wildly different from that of her peers, which could be the reason why the sound of her music is so unique. Kali Uchis mixes styles and sounds from all over the world, and you can attribute her particular music style to her American-Columbian background.

Forming a love for poetry at a young age, Kali Uchis dabbled in the arts as a way to express herself. Originally, Uchis wanted to pursue a career behind the scenes and work as a film director.

Between skipping her high school classes and having issues with authority figures, Uchis was outspoken, rebellious and unafraid to do things her own way from early on. At the age of 17, she went against her parent’s wishes of going off to college, which ultimately led to her father kicking her out of the house.

With no place to stay or go, Kali Uchis packed all of her things into her car and drove off. Just 2 weeks later, Uchis’ father called multiple times telling her to return back home, but she felt a sense of belonging out in the streets rather than at her parent’s house.

Further, Uchis believed that the only way she would be able to grow as a person and as an artist was to live on her own without her parents sheltering her.

Although Uchis may have sounded like a troublemaker on a road to nowhere, her risk-taking tendencies were more calculated than you would think. Working several jobs at a time after leaving home in order to support herself, Uchis had an undeniably strong work ethic. Her fearlessness and determination paved an unconventional way for her to break out into the music industry.

In 2013, Kali Uchis released her first mixtape, “Drunken Babble,” and co-directed a music video for one of the songs. The music video for the song titled “What They Say” quickly captured the attention of Snoop Dogg, who then contacted Uchis on Twitter.

Without a doubt, social media has served as a beneficial networking tool for Uchis, but her sudden connections with celebrities initially shocked her. She was especially taken aback when Snoop Dogg cosigned her and asked her to collaborate with him for his 2014 mixtape.

From there, Uchis began to make more contacts in the industry through the help of Twitter. Tyler, the Creator was another artist interested in collaborating with Uchis, and since then, Uchis has appeared on multiple of his tracks.

Fast forward to now: Uchis finally dropped her long-awaited debut album on April 6th, 2018, and made amends with her parents, who are now very happy for her. Uchis admits that she may not have been the easiest child to raise, but it was the challenges and obstacles she faced that really made her into the artist she is now.

Writing all of her own lyrics and co-producing the album, Uchis is constantly changing and evolving, which is yet another reason why she is such a cool artist to watch and listen to.

Through all of her life experiences, Uchis uses a lot of her memories as inspiration for songs and music videos. In addition, she’s a huge advocate for female empowerment and social justice, which is also a common theme for her songs. With that, Uchis makes the most of her American-Columbian background by intertwining both the Spanish and English language in her tracks.

There are 15 songs on “Isolation,” and it features artists such as Jorja Smith, Tyler, the Creator and the Spanish pop star Reykon.

Admitting that she is a perfectionist, her first mixtape took her a long time to release, and she was still unsure if she wanted to release it at all. Juggling a busy work schedule and toxic relationships, she made her mixtape as a way to cope with the problems around her and as a way to express herself through a creative outlet.

She never expected the mixtape to capture the attention of prominent people in the music industry, but the risk she made to release it proved to be one worth taking, which is something that Uchis will forever be thankful for.

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Emilie Romero

University of Nevada, Reno

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