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Kali Uchis’ Genre-Defying Sound and How I Found Strength and Self-Empowerment Within It

Kali Uchis (photo: coughs/Instagram)

   Kali Uchis is a talented singer and songwriter who has carved her unique path in the music industry. She has the ability to genre-blend and sing bilingually.  

   Kali Uchis is a Colombian-American singer and songwriter. She gained recognition for her debut album Isolation, blending genres such as R&B, pop, and reggaeton. According to her Wikipedia page, she was born Karly-Marina Loaiza on July 17, 1993, in Alexandria, Virginia. Kali shares that her first years of education were in Colombia; she learned to read and write in Spanish before she did in English. 


   I first discovered Kali Uchis in 2020. I was listening to music when the song “Know What I Want,” played. The song is from her first EP Por Vida. It is a unique and catchy song which incorporates R&B and hip-hop elements. It tells the story of Kali expressing her independence and not settling for less than she deserves. When I first heard this song, I noticed that it was not like any other song I had heard before, and it immediately drew me in. The vocals and the background of the song are very upbeat and playful, and it made me feel good about myself. 

   As I continued to listen to her other songs, her versatility with genres and ability to effortlessly blend two languages, Spanish and English, are what kept me wanting more. Each song I listened to was like hearing a different story being told. 

Red Moon in Venus tour outfits worn by Kali. (photos: Pinterest)

   Kali’s second album Sin Miedo, is her first Spanish language album. In an interview with Antidote, Kali Uchis shared that her record label did not support her with transitioning to Spanish because they thought it wouldn’t be successful. She stated that she had no budgeting for marketing or music videos but still decided to release it because that’s something that she really wanted to do.  


   I find this very inspiring because although Kali was being discouraged by her record label and being told she had to fend for herself, she still did what made her happy. For me, this really shows that you shouldn’t let what others think stop you from doing what makes you happy because you’re doing it for yourself and not for other people. 

   Kali has really influenced my taste in music by introducing me to various artists through collaborations with Tyler the Creator, Steve Lacy, and Omar Apollo . 

   A big thing I enjoy when artists collab together is that their voices complement each other rather than clash with one another. Kali’s voice complemented the other artists and the raw emotions in the songs made me want to hear more from them. 

   One song that really resonates with me is “I Wish You Roses,” from her third album Red Moon in Venus (RMIV). The song’s theme is when a relationship ends, release the thing you cared for with love rather than hate. She sings, “I wish you well, I wish you love, I wish you roses while you can still smell them.” 


   Kali shared background of the song via Spotify: “I believe wishing well to everyone is a crucial part of making room for blessings to come because when you wish the worst for others, you only curse yourself.”  


   I resonate with this because something that’s easy for me is to walk around with dislike towards someone who might have done me wrong. However, over time I have realized that it’s not the best way to go about things. Everyone is human and makes mistakes so the best thing you can do is release people with positive intentions. 

   Kali Uchis has shared themes of self-love and knowing your self-worth in many songs. She’s very transparent on things that any average person can relate and feel connected to. Personally, many of Kali Uchis’ songs are special to me because she has songs for any occasion or period that I might be going through in life. 

   One major thing I’ve learned through Kali’s music is that being able to love yourself and have a sense of worth are qualities that everyone needs. 


   “Deserve Me,” from RMIV is an R&B song that shares themes of self-worth. The message behind the song is to leave any relationship that is no longer affecting you positively.  

   “Solita,” from Sin Miedo, is a very uplifting song that mixes reggaeton and R&B. It revolves around independence and self-love; she’s confidently saying she’d rather spend time in solitude than settle for less. 


   These songs have helped me realize that I shouldn’t allow just anyone to walk over me, and they’ve helped me in times I’ve felt insecure and super self-judgmental. In my opinion, it is important to not be judgmental towards ourselves because we aren’t perfect and when we judge ourselves, we only allow others to judge us. 


   Other things I really fell in love with is Kali’s ability to blend genres and the aesthetics from her music videos. 

   She further proves her ability in genre-blending on her album, Orquídeas, a Spanish language album which features genres ranging from bolero, 90s house, merengue, and Latin disco. Most artists tend to stick to one genre for their career, so this is something that makes Kali stand out from other artists. Whenever Kali Uchis switches things up she always receives positive feedback from her fans which shows just how good she is. 

   Kali’s visuals are simply breathtaking and always something different. Some visuals that stuck out to me are from her music videos for “After the Storm,” and “I Wish You Roses.” In the music video for “After the Storm,” Kali gave references to several pop culture moments, one of them being a reference to a hairstyle Diana Ross wore on Broadway. For the “I Wish You Roses” music video Kali shared with Cosmopolitan that she worked with Korean artist, Cho Gi-Seok and that she was inspired by his flower studies. The cinematics on the video were just amazing. 

   Kali will continue to influence my life because I will continue listening to her and taking the lessons she shares. I’ve been attracted to her music since I first heard it, and I will always be a fan of her.

Kali as a rose for the “I Wish You Roses,” music video (left). Diana Ross (top right) and Kali Uchis (bottom right). (photos: Pinterest)


My Favorite Music Videos of Kali Uchis 

  1. I wish You Roses music video
  2. Te Mata music video
  3. NO HAY LEY music video


Watch Kali Live  

  1. Kali Uchis performing at Lollaplooza
  2. Kali Uchis live on Jimmy Kimmel (2024)
  3. Kali Uchis live at Coachella (2023) 
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