Already counting the likes of Snoop Dogg and A$AP Rocky amongst her fans, Columbian singer Kali Uchis is set to be the next big thing in pop music. Following a debut mixtape recorded as a loner in Virginia - which was mainly created so that she could make music videos - she unexpectedly found herself attracting a lot of attention.
Relocating to Los Angeles, Kali decided to apply a new level of focus on her 'Por Vida' EP. The result is a dreamy, autobiographical nine-track offering, that sees her blending her own brand of “low-rider soul” with beats by the likes of Diplo, Tyler The Creator, Kaytranada and BadBadNotGood.
Clash caught up with Kali to get a track-by-track breakdown of the release...
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My songs come directly from my subconscious and they hit me randomly at any given time, most times when I’m not in the studio. Usually when I’m in the shower, or in the sun, completely alone. Luckily this song I had a USB microphone near me and was able to record this demo. I was hoping to bring it to a producer that could build a beat around it, which I tried a couple of times. I just ended up liking it with only vocals better.
'Call Me' As soon as Tyler sent me this instrumental, the melodies and words immediately popped into my head. I grabbed a notebook, pencil, and just went in and made sure I got it all down ASAP. The next day, I booked a session in New York and recorded it.
'Melting' All of my songs are autobiographical and during this moment in my life I was falling in love with someone. I wanted to express the crazy feelings I was experiencing in a child-like metaphors, because this person made me feel like a little kid again.
I really wanted to experience the value of going with the flow of life and staying in tune with yourself in order to move past your shitty circumstances. Kaytranada and BadBadNotGood are all amazing people that I admired musically so it was awesome to get them on the project. Kaytranada had reached out to me and sent me beats, and this one in particular really stood out. I wrote to it and sent it to him the next day and he loved it. I didn’t know BadBadNotGood were on it til we did the credits and he was like “I put BadBadNotGood on there too!”
'Lottery' I wrote this song when I wanted my boyfriend back. It's hard for a lot of people to admit that they make mistakes and are still growing, so I wanted to make a song that was about putting each other's pride behind yourself to really love someone and stay down for them, regardless of their mistakes or flaws as long as you can grow together. I sampled ‘Oh Honey’ by the Delegation because they glorified a woman's loyalty in that song.
'Know What I Want'
At this point my boyfriend was jerking me around because of the mistakes I made that lead me to write 'Lottery'. He justified toying with me by me needing to "earn my trust back". It's the opposite of ‘Lottery’, no more begging for another chance. I had moved on to being self-empowered and was ready to let it go if he wasn't going to treat me how I deserved to be treated anymore.
I felt completely independent at this point. I had finally let my boyfriend go and was spending most of my time with my girlfriends. I wanted to make a female anthem for not giving a fuck about what people think about you.
Tyler actually wrote the hook for this song. When we were in the studio listening to it, it took me to an entirely different realm. I immediately started writing the rest of the verses and laid them down that night. I decided to put it after ‘Ridin’ Round’ because I wanted it to feel like you were riding into the sunset with your girls, and then the darkness comes and that's when 'Speed' comes on.
I was finally comfortable with having absolutely no love interests. This song was inspired by wanting to be detached from everyone's bullshit. It's about a reclusive lifestyle that maintains your peace of mind, where everyone can just admire you from afar but have nothing to do with you.
Words: Grant Brydon
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'Por Vida' is out now.