Not much is known about the Colombian singer and visionary director known as Kali Uchis. She is a Virginia native with a vintage soul sound as her music is characterized by her dreamy vocals and her romantic lyrics about love, relationships, and what she wants as she sings over soulful mellow old-school sampled grooves. But don’t get it twisted. Kali will sing a love song as sweet as California, but if you come incorrect she will drive you through the desert in the trunk of a car.
Last year she featured on vocals for Tyler The Creator’s “Aunt Wang Syrup Theme Song” and her new EP release Por Vida features production from Tyler, Kaytranada, and BADBADNOTGOOD all making for a great soul tape from a lovely newcomer.
“Call Me” produced by Tyler The Creator is the first full song on the album and a great opener track, though the intro track “Sycamore Tree” is a good teaser. Tyler really did his thing on the production creating a luch and layered sound with some musical isms from a few different genres, but not sounding like anything modern. Lyrically, it is a call to escape into love and frolicking. With the gentle nostalgic vibe of the track, who wouldn’t take her up on the offer?
On “Melting” Kali croons tender lyrics as sweet as a vanilla cone on a hot summer day. She says that her lover’s smile makes her melt like ice cream, but gives an even more vulnerable look into her love when she sings “I pray that I can learn to be funny. I’m watching every stand-up comedy hoping it will rub off on me, so you’ll smile at every word I say.”
“Lottery” is one of the best tracks on the EP with a persistent bass thump that pushes the track forward under high keyboard melodies. Her singing rhythm is incessant similar to rapping, but even with her catchy flow her backing vocals still makes this a dreamy song making one quick to put up a bet on her love in a second.
“Know What I Want” is one of the singles from the album with a video of a tryst with a somewhat unfortunate lover getting an unpleasant treatment in a lonely room in a hotel in the desert. Some of the shots are reminiscent to Kanye West’s video for “Flashing Lights”, but with Kali’s sweet rasp one can only think that the guy must have had it coming to him.
“Rush” produced by Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD is probably the most fun track on the album. The grooves pour over you to wash away whatever other wack beats you’ve been subjecting yourself to. Just follow Kali’s command and “lose it to the rush” of the sun and love and “let it rush all over”.
On “Ridin’ Round” Kali shows that she’s a boss chick that likes to ride around with her girls with her car low to the ground. She talks about her stuntin’ on her haters. With music as good as this I bet it would create a few enemies, but how could they hate on someone with such lovely melodies? Congratulate and participate, ladies, not haterate!!
“Loner” is another favorite of the release produced by Caleb Stone. The ep closes with this track with a slow jazz feel as Kali bemoans loneliness.
Kali Uchis has an sultry vintage sound that is unique by itself, but even more so in comparison to most artists as of late. Por Vida is definitely worth a good many listens bearing some gems that should hang around in your music collection for sometime. Keep your eyes and ears open for more wonderful work from this enchantress.
Kali Uchis Official Site
Kali Uchis- Por Vida Soundcloud Stream