2018 has been a year that has not lacked, in the new music department. Deciding on the first album to review for “Sarah’s Music Monday’s” was a bit difficult. However, after careful consideration, I bring to you the first new artist on file for today’s post: Kali Uchis.
Uchis is a Grammy-nominated, eccentric yet refreshingly classic vocalist that made her way onto the music scene circa 2012. Fortunately, I have been able to watch Uchis evolve and prosper in the industry since then, is I first found her Youtube page around the year 2013. While I will say her sound has progressed regarding vocal progression, her music has remained consistent and distinctly unique.
Her music will take you to a land of sunshine, sand, and happiness. Three things you need and crave for during the summer. Yes, somewhat of a cliche, but hey; there’s truth in those sometimes.
Up until the release of her debut album “Isolation” which emerged on April 6th, I had been almost devoutly playing her singles and EP’s until the time came for her first full-length album.
This album was widely anticipated, and to my ears, it certainly delivered. I will say, it is the type of album you should listen all the way through first to get the gist of her sound if never hearing her previously before.
For some reason, I can never seem to articulate Uchis sound in just one or two adjectives. So I set off to find out exactly what her genre of music is classified. Ultimately, this just led to more confusion. After a bit of digging and research, I had seen a few recurring genres noted; Neo Soul, Reggaeton, Bossa Nova, and the more recognizable, R&B and Hip Hop. Here are my critiques about these loose placements of Uchis within various genres.
Her music is NOT Hip Hop. While it most certainly has those smooth vibes and rhythmic tracks to back her wide range of vocals, I would most definitely steer her genre into the more appropriate Neo Soul or potentially the newly emerging category of Alternative R&B. That would be the best overarching category. Now, this being said, we cannot forget her strongly influenced cultural dedication to her home country of Colombia seen through her music. Most of her inspiration stems from her homeland rich with culture, musical influence, and so on. This is what makes grouping her music into a category that much harder. Uchis has an admirable and intriguing way of pulling from a myriad of musical influences and sounds to generate her well-defined craft.
Uchis has also made a name for herself by implementing wide ranges of alternate artists to collaborate with. These vary from Tyler the Creator, Snoop Dogg, to Bootsy Collins. I have such an appreciation for new artists diversifying their music with key collaborations, and I must say, Uchis has a quit the grasp of this concept as well.
In a generation of autotune and remixes, I cannot tell you how pleasantly stimulating to find an artist that focuses on actual vocal ability rather than just the likeability of background tracks for radio stations and so on. Our Founder, Nicole did not know who Uchis was and fell in love with the smooth, the Caribbean infused song “Miami.”
The only critique I have about the album is the length. Of course, as a fan I want this thing to be a cool 20 tracks long, but maybe that isn’t realistic. The 45 minute long, 15 track album will have to do for now. Listening to it was a delight through and through. I feel at some points; artists will get in this sort of slump of producing songs that sound almost identical to all of their previous work. This does do not ring true for Uchis. Her album seems like a labor of love with a complete feel to it. Until I wear out this entire album, I will patiently be waiting for her new project to drop.
All in all, Kali Uchis is most definitely an artist worth checking out. Whether it be because of her unique sense of fashion or duly notable vocal ability, she is arguably the next big thing on the music scene.