Kali Uchis expresses her multicultural identity – Berkeley High Jacket
The multifaceted and divinely innovative are just a few of the many ways to describe Kali Uchis, the woman who leads the way in modern American consumption of Latin music. With two studio albums and two EPs, Uchis has proven how capable she is of redefining what it means to be an intersectional artist. The duality in her is hard to ignore; as a colombo-american woman, she transcends the major trends of the two regions. It creates an intriguing side to his music that listeners can’t get enough of. Her song “Telepatia” was on Billboard’s Top 200 World Chart for twenty-six weeks. This success is what brought her to the mainstream culture; However, his musical prowess dates back much further in his career.
His discography ranges from acapella to full orchestral soundtracks, and his widely released first project, an EP titled “Por Vida”, is a lovely introduction to his work. Full of fluid lyrical stories and soft rhythms, it’s an introspective look at what femininity is for Uchis. The second album, titled Isolation, is a clear example of the development of her voice as a musician; it sounded incredibly polished and the whole project was more cohesive than we had seen before. Starring acclaimed artists such as Tyler the Creator and Steve Lacy, this album was enjoyed in the same spaces as other independent music from the 2018 era. His latest album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios), is what launched Uchis’ meteoric success in connecting American listeners to Latin music.
Uchis’ Colombian heritage is an integral part of her identity – she even sports a tattoo of her father’s passport signature, reminding her forever of where she came from. She grew up in Virginia, but during her high school years her father returned to Colombia and she began living two lives: one during the summers with her father in South America, and the other here in the United States. She speaks of Colombia as a community like no other. This ambivalence she has towards the United States is reflected in her music; this country is his homeland, but it lacks something close to its heart. At the start of Isolation, on a track called “Body Language (Intro)”, the lyrics “There is no me to find” show his conflicting feelings. Her lack of connection to where she grew up divides her identity. This message is difficult to convey, yet Uchis is punctual in his deliverance.
Uchis is keen on staying true to herself while exploring who she is as an artist. In an interview, she said: “I was brought up with the belief that taking care of people and taking care of yourself and your soul is much more important than fame and money.”