Exclusive: Kali Uchis is the Voice of Summer

Fresh from the release of one of the most talked about EP’s this year, Por Vida, we met up with Colombian songstress Kali Uchis before her performance at the New Balance #my998s party. The launch of the #my998s campaign (which allows customers to design their own sneaker on the website) was a roaring rager that served as the unofficial kickoff to summer. Uchis, who’s been praised for her soft summer sound and crisp Amy Winehouse-esque voice, was the perfect soundtrack for the event. Wearing a DIY cropped Lazy Oaf sweatshirt, she told us about her musical upbringing, her favorite NY hotspots and why she won’t launch a fashion label anytime soon.

One of your EPs (Drunken Babble) you wrote and produced in like 48 hours. How does music come so naturally to you?

I used to be in band. I always had an affinity for finding new music and different artists, composers, bands and stuff growing up. My musical grounding was mostly in jazz band – when I was little I played saxophone, piano and I wrote a lot of poetry and then I started composing songs. Then I got into visual arts, like photography and videography, and that’s when I started combining. Like I would make videos and then I would make songs to attach, so it would be like one visual project. Then I made a mixtape as my own personal creative outlet, made a Twitter account, posted the link and then people started recognizing it. A lot of people are still finding it now. I did it by myself, I didn’t work with anyone so it had no promotion.

And now you’ve worked with Diplo and Tyler, the Creator. Who else would you like to work with at this point in your career?

I’d really like to work with Mos Def, D’Angelo and I wanted to work with Bootsy Collins and I think I’m gonna work with him cause he followed me on Twitter now so we’re talking about it.

That’s awesome! You’ve also gotten a lot of attention for your style and the way you present yourself. Is fashion something you’re interested in exploring?

My whole life I just looked at it fresh and it’s just another creative outlet, an extension of your personality so it just happened that way. I’m not trying to start a brand or anything but I probably will end up making clothes. Right now I’m focused on music. After I’ve released a couple of solid albums and want to conquer another aspect of my life then maybe I’ll think about starting a brand.

You’re currently based in LA. Where are your favorite places to go out in New York?

I usually just spend time with my friends but I liked Up & Down when I went there. Up & Down’s cool. Honestly, I don’t go out that much so I haven’t seen many places in New York. Isn’t there like a tower that has a roof where you can see everything?

Like the roof at the Standard?

Anywhere that has a good view.

What’s something people don’t know about you?

When I was little I was a huge tomboy and used to get mistaken for a boy.

Any last words for Milk Made?

Be yourself!

Listen to Por Vida here.

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