Uprising singer releases album
by Anna Minasyan
In her debut album entitled Isolation, Columbian-American Kali Uchis mixes Latin influences with R&B and soul to create a unique sound, attracting listeners to the soothing voice and compelling tale of the artist.
Writing and co-producing all the music featured on the album, this record tells of Uchis’ trials and tribulations during her immigration to the United States, her rocky beginnings in the music industry and her relationships. Compared to her 2015 EP, Por Vida, which captured her in a vulnerable state, Isolation begins to exhibit Uchis on a road toward realizing self-worth and confidence in her abilities.
Uchis’ defiant spirit is a theme running through the lyrics on her album. In an interview with NME, Uchis said, “I grew up very different and ready to fight people…I experienced people not believing in me.”
In “Dead To Me,” Uchis swears off those that bring negative energy into her life. She tells herself that people who are obsessed with her while simultaneously bringing her down have no place in her life. Most of the album is a conversation with herself, either about encouragement or reflecting on past mistakes.
“After the Storm” featuring Tyler, The Creature, gives hope to listeners with the lyrics “If you need a hero, just look in the mirror. No one’s gonna save you now so you better save yourself.” Along with the soulful introduction and Uchis’ tranquil vocals, this song, first released as a single, sums up Uchis’ style and intent with this album.
An attractive aspect of Isolation is that many featured artists from a variety of genres bring added flavor to Uchis’ soulful voice, such as BIA, Steve Lacy, Reykon, Jorja Smith and Tyler, The Creator. In “Tyrant” featuring the British sensation Smith, who contributes a vocally rich verse, the contrast with Uchis’ dreamy sound is refreshing.
Making her Colombian origins known, Uchis dedicated her song “Miami” to the hardships she faced in wanting to pursue her dreams of music in Colombia, where opportunities for young women, especially in this experimental genre, were practically nonexistent. She sings about how people’s misconceptions fueled her further to make a name for herself. With a doleful, edgy sound and a Spanish rap verse by BIA, this track sets a rebellious tone for the rest of the record.
With a refreshing yet nostalgic sound, Isolation proves to be a beautifully crafted story of this multifaceted artist where she demonstrates the range of her lyrical abilities. Though her vocals do not show much variety, her collaboration with unique artists gives listeners a balance of melodies.