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How Kali Uchis went from living in her car to music’s biggest star

Kali Uchis’ rise was a steady constant of success, but it didn’t start that way.

Born Karly-Marina Loaiza, the singer-songwriter was raised in both her northern suburb of Alexandria, Virginia and her native Colombian hometown of Pereira.

At the age of 17, after a fall out with her father regarding her rebellious attitude, armed with nothing but her Subaru for shelter and support, she found herself out on the streets on her own, bringing the dream of her current blessings to life.

She managed to get through the hard times and come out stronger for it. At 18-years-old, she released her first music video, “What They Say,” gaining the attention of Snoop Dogg, who worked with her on the retro-pop “On Edge.”

Kali’s artistic collaborations have grown since her collab with the OG with more renowned artists like Tyler the Creator, Jorja Smith, Daniel Ceasar, Diplo, and Bootsy Collins have worked with her on a frequent basis.

In 2015, she went on tour with soul singer Leon Bridges. In the early months of 2018, she was booked for a worldwide tour with Indie pop vocalist Lana Del Rey. Shortly after, the release of her debut album Isolation, which includes EPs “Tyrant” and “After the Storm” was announced.

Though her beginnings were tough and her support was limited by those around her, Kali’s success has grown exponentially in a few short years, and credit is due to nothing but her own perseverance and belief in herself — and maybe a little bit to the haters.

In a recent Instagram post she said,

“Last one, promise. Before & after I was an artist, I spent my life knowing no one believed in me… Nothing has been easy & I am so thankful for all of you streaming & buying my debut album. Just to have the opportunity to have created it, & shared it with you, is a blessing. Love you.”

Most of Uchis’ creativity comes from those she chooses to work with. She tells Pitchfork that her inspiration comes from those surrounding her in the studio.

 “I can only be inspired if I’m working with people that I really respect.”

Her new album puts together all the characters of Kali that make up her artist’s identity; Sweet, sad, sassy, sultry vocals that embody her bicontinental background, which has shaped her unique melodic identity. The whole album is wrapped in pop, soul and reggaeton hits with flares of cultural and personal originality lining each single.

In 2018, we have Isolation, the beginning of many albums to come from Kali. Lucky for us, her happy space is making her music and pressing her talents onto her creative projects.

Ironically, Isolation has flared an opposite response for our beloved songstress, as her fanbase has never felt so connected to her triumphs before.