I haven’t written about Kali Uchis on MuuMuse until now because, well, let’s face it – I haven’t written on MuuMuse much this past year(s), period. But I intend to change that in 2020, if only for my creative sanity and happiness. Why not start getting back into the routine before the New Year’s resolutions even kick in?
All that is to say: I’ve known about Ms. Uchis for a while, and thanks to her latest single, it’s time to get her properly Introduuced.
Born Karly-Marina Loaiza, the 25-year-old singer is from the States (Virginia, specifically), but her parents came over from Colombia – Madame X‘s favorite place to visit after taking a pill and having a dream, and the blessed birthplace of many of my faves, including Shakira, J Balvin and Maluma.
As a result, she moved back and forth between Colombia and America growing up, eventually kicking off her music career with her 2012 debut mixtape, Drunken Babble – but she really floated into my orbit after being announced as the opening act for Lana Del Rey in 2017. (Naturally.)
Her star has only risen further since, including nominations at the 2017 Grammys (for “Get You” with Daniel Caesar) and the 2017 Latin Grammys (for “El Ratico” with Juanes), plus nominations at the UK Music Video Awards in 2018.
Earlier this month, Kali Uchis dropped her new single “Solita,” and on Wednesday (December 18), she debuted the accompanying music video directed by Amber Grace Johnson, who worked with Rihanna on Rihanna x Savage imagery, among other major accomplishments.
The track, her first taste of new music since her debut studio album Isolation last year, was co-crafted with a talented crew: Rih‘s “Work” co-writer Sevn Thomas, Lana‘s “Summer Bummer” co-writer Jahaan Sweet and Tainy, who, most incredibly, co-produced the Luny Tunes remix of Paris Hilton‘s “Stars Are Blind” with Wisin & Yandel. And, yes, most of Balvin‘s Vibras, and a billion other things.
Aside from the impressive production credits, the track ticks several boxes in its not-quite-easily-definable nature: musically, it floats somewhere between the worlds of moody, downtempo, space-y, synth-y alt-R&B and reggaeton. Lyrically, it floats in between languages (Spanish and English), resulting in Kali Uchis’ first bilingual single. Given her upbringing of bouncing between countries, the stylistic choice feels appropriate.
Like so many great songs before, this one can be filed under the winning, ever-expanding category of “Dancing On My Own”: I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh-oh-oh. The main difference being that instead of it being Swede-Pop night at the club, it’s Latin night. (Latin night is kind of the only way you can even convince me to go out dancing these days, also.)
But as opposed to sulking in the shadows of the song, Kali Uchis is keeping her head up, as evidenced by the futuristic, empowering music video. Our heroine is reawakened, sensually shimmying with a snake (all Great Pop Girls do), and hitting the pole, Hustlers style, remaining in full control the entire time. Most stunning are the shots of her surrounded by oiled-up suitors offering their lighters and bowing down.
She might be alone, and she might still be heartbroken, but she’s sure as hell still in high demand.
“I’d rather dance alone than with the devil. This song is about healing, freedom and embracing the mixed emotions that come with that. I hope my fans feel sexy when they listen to it. I’m so excited to share more,” she says of the song in the press release.
“There’s a little bit of sexiness in it, but it’s also nostalgic…I think that just goes back to wanting to feel empowered about independence, rather than feel like, ‘Oh, poor me, I’m alone.’ It’s not really like that…I wrote the song a year ago. I was coming out of a breakup from a really long relationship. I think the song still resonates with me because I definitely look at relationships really differently,” she went on to explain on Apple Music.
“The vibe was sad, yet horny.” If that isn’t my 2019 in a nutshell.
Now, let’s dance through these remnants of our misery and kick off the next decade on the right stiletto.
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Photo credit: Guerrera PR / Universal Music