Melting sweet pop and smoky R&B into collaborations with Snoop, Gorillaz and Tyler, this Colombian-American singer is on the rise.
When jazz-loving Karly Loaiza was growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, and playing the saxophone in the school band, she looked to strong female artists for escapism and inspiration: Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Maya Angelou. Far from her native Colombia, she found her creative identity in music, developing a smoky blend of ’60s dream-girl pop, ‘90s R&B, soul and blues that transformed her into Kali Uchis, dressed in pastels and pleather, chilling in the California sun with hip-hop bumping out of her lowrider stereo. The playful versatility of her aesthetic and the diversity of her influences have made her both a strong solo voice and a fluid young collaborator: She self-released 2012’s Drunken Babble and 2015’s Por Vida before dropping her proper debut album, Isolation, on Virgin Records. She has worked with artists such as British soul singer Jorja Smith, Odd Future ringleader Tyler, the Creator, West Coast rap royalty Snoop Dogg and Gorillaz, among others. In her Fireside Chat the Colombian-American artist discusses inspirations, influences and collaborations.