Calladitas No More

Here’s How Kali Uchis Became An Accidental Feminist Icon In Music

Kali Uchis has been blowing up in the music world and it isn’t hard to see why. She possesses a soulful voice that entices anyone within earshot. The Colombian-American’s songs embody female empowerment and strong womanhood, though Uchis says that’s coincidental. Empowerment has was always been something she has had to figure out on her own. Uchis spoke with mitú about how she got into music, her inspiration and being labeled a feminist.

Music was not something Kali Uchis thought would be her career.

thank u everyone for the birthday wishes today, it's sunny over here???love, Uchis

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She admits that she has always been musically inclined, playing different instruments since she was a teenager. She also loved writing poetry. Becoming a singer, however, wasn’t a lifelong goal.

“I never had classical training or choir. I was never part of that world,” Uchis says about her start in music. “So, when I decided to put out a mixtape, I was making music for myself, and it started doing really well. That’s when I was like ‘Okay, I’ll do this.'”

While she never thought about becoming a singer, she did pride herself for having diverse taste in music as a teen.

it's okay, i've been hurt before?❤️

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Her aunt introduced her to Claudia de Colombia, Jeannette and Selena. As she got older, she started to explore music more and discover her own taste. She found that she gravitated more towards female singers, naming No Doubt as her favorite back then.

Uchis says that growing up with a lack of female role models shaped who she looked up to musically.

thank u for helping me sell out the vday observatory so fast?? see u there w @phonyppl

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“I was always very fascinated with very flamboyant show looks, like Cher, Diana Ross, Paulina Rubio, and I loved Ivy Queen,” Uchis says. “I was more attracted to female artists because I felt like I didn’t have that many female rolemodels in my life. I was never super close to my mom or my big sister, so I felt like having those icons to look up to in a sense was really helpful for me.”

She never meant for her music to be about female empowerment but it came off that way because she has had to empower herself.

KaliUchisVEVO / YouTube

“I wouldn’t say that my music is all about female empowerment,” Uchis says. “I think it was never a pre-meditated thing. It was more so that I happen to be a female and I happen to know what it feels to be constantly trying to figure out how to be empowered or how to love yourself in a world that’s constantly like, ‘Don’t do this or don’t wear that, you should look like this.’ Just constantly trying to tell you that you shouldn’t love yourself or that you’re not enough.”

“So, after going through that as a young girl, when I was trying to make music, it just ended up going into my music, but it wasn’t really a thing,” Uchis says about the female empowerment in her music.

OUT NOW LINK IN BIO

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Uchis says she gets confused when people call her a feminist because she never gave herself that title or distinction. She  does feel strongly about human rights, and says self-love and body acceptance are important to her.

“[People] being able to love themselves and reclamation of the female body, and being able to be proud of who you are and proud of where you come from, that’s definitely always been a lot to me and been a huge part of my identity because it’s a struggle when you’re a kid sometimes,” she says.

Uchis credits her unique aesthetic and sound to celebrating juxtaposition in art.

me minding my business while life tries to test me & people try to play w me @lukegilford @sage.white

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“I think the best art is art that has juxtaposition involved. One of my saddest songs on this album sounds like the happiest,” says Uchis. “I just wanted things to be very soft and pastel-y, and very angel baby (her term for her aesthetic). But at the same time I wanted the music to come from a strong place.”

The Colombian-American singer also spent time in both the U.S. and Colombia which freed her physically and mentally.

“It was definitely a culture shock, the two places. But that’s what I loved about being able to come from two places and have somewhere else to call home,” Uchis explains about her childhood. “You don’t ever feel stuck. No matter if I was going through something in Virginia or feeling down about myself, I would be like ‘I could just go back to Colombia if I have to.’ You don’t feel like ‘Oh what the fuck am I gonna do now?’ I never felt tied down there. It was nice.”

Uchis recently re-recorded her song “Tyrant” in Spanish and wants to tell fans that they can expect some more Spanish-language remakes.

LINK IN BIO, TYRANT OUT NOW

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Uchis wants to re-record some of her older music in Spanish so everyone can enjoy it.

“I love making music in Spanish. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to be able to write in Spanglish than to just stick with one language,” Uchis says. “The song already had some Spanglish in it so I just thought ‘Why don’t I just do a whole version in Spanish?’ My next single is gonna be all fully in Spanish actually.”

As for all the cars in her music videos, she smiled when recalling her first car and just how good it made her feel to ride around.

half a mil overnight on TYRANT that's crazzzyy thank YOU!!!! ??? link in bio

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“It was a ’69 Mustang and it was cherry red,” Uchis recalls with a big smile. “I was just obsessed with it. All I would do is make enough money to put gas in it and drive around the city with my friends smoking weed like, ‘Yeah, we’re badass’ while playing old music. People would look at us like, ‘What the fuck?’ I would just make little videos with my friends and we just thought we were the coolest thing in the whole world. But, it’s just a feeling, being behind the wheel of that car was one of the best moments for me. I was in my own world and I could just be on the road driving my car and I would feel so at peace and good.”

“I used to get made fun of. They would be like, ‘Oh, you’re not supposed to be into cars, you’re a little girl,'” Uchis says. “But I just always loved them.”

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As far as her fans, Uchis has a message for them regarding her forthcoming new music.

próximamente?

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“Thanks to everyone for being patient and for still supporting me even though it’s taken me a while to get it together,” Uchis says.

It’s cool, Kali! We can’t wait to listen!


READ: This Colombian Singer Has Officially Dropped Her First Spanish-Language Original Song

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

Stay grateful you did not grow up in the era of Snapchat/ Instagram/ Facebook kids because you can delete but your recorded actions can still come back to bite. Cardi B knows the story. While the Afro-Latina queen of Trap isn’ making any apologies, the latest video to be dug up from her past is requiring her to give some answers.

Video of the singer, recalling a time in her life in which she felt forced to drug and rob men while seducing them has resurfaced.

Over the weekend, video of the “Money” rapper recalling how she used to drug and rob men resurfaced.

The video, which was recorded during an Instagram live broadcast, sees Cardi as she goes on a tearful verbal tirade about her past. This after, someone apparently questioned her success and accused her of not “putting in no fucking work.”

“I had to go ‘oh yeah, you wanna fuck me? Yeah yeah yeah let’s go to this hotel.’ And then I’d drug [expletivie] up and I’d rob them. That’s what I used to do.”

Users online were quick to comment.

“The fact that cardi b admitted to drugging and robbing men she would take back to a hotel for sex blows my mind,” wrote Twitter user @itsangelaa. “That’s not ‘keeping it real.’ that’s a crime.”

“I wonder what woulda happened if it were the other way round,” @BTSisthecauseo5 commented.

At the onset of the backlash, the rapper seemed to take the comments rather lightly.

The following day she also tweeted “IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE, IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE and I love it.”

On Tuesday, however, after users on Instagram and Twitter continued to simmer, she was forced to issue comment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bve_d3sFet7/

In a post to her Instagram, the rapper responded to the comments about the video by saying: “I’m a part of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”


Read:After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

Katalina is used to the spotlight. For years, the colombiana has cultivated an audience of millions on Instagram with her hilarious short videos about relationships and womanhood. But now, the social media influencer-turned-singer is using her mic to explore these themes.

Debuting her first song, “Sacude,” a carefree pop-urban dance jam, last November, the Miami-living entertainer followed up this month with the heartbreaking ballad “Adios” featuring Cuban-American singer JenCarlos Canela, showing her musical versatility.

“With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about,” Katalina, 27, told FIERCE. “I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.”

We chatted with the rising star about her lifelong love of singing, transitioning from social media influencer to music artist, saying goodbye to loved ones and what to expect from the beauty in the months that follow.

FIERCE: Most people who are familiar with Katalina know you as a social media influencer with hilarious videos, but last year you took the leap into music. Why?

Katalina: I have always liked to sing. I come from a very musical and talented family, but we always practiced it as a hobby. A year ago, I gave myself the opportunity to develop it professionally with my manager, Kito Sunshine, and I am totally grateful and in love with this. Music is what I love the most — it frees me.

FIERCE: Was this shift from social media influencer to singer strategic? Did you know you always wanted to sing and saw social media as an avenue to build your popularity and get you there or was this an unexpected but welcomed outcome?

Katalina: Since I was a little girl, I have known that I liked to sing and play the piano. From 9 to 11 years old, I sang in the choir of a church when I lived in Colombia, and for me it was something magical, so I’ve always known it. As far as social media, I entered by accident, but from the first day, I enjoyed the opportunity to reach so many people and show them my musical side as well. It was not a strategy. I did not upload many videos singing, but people motivated me more and more to try to develop music professionally, so I gave myself the opportunity, and, well, here we are.

FIERCE: But you’re not just a pretty girl with a following who is trying to use her fame to dabble in something she has no business doing. You are talented! Still, several social media influencers have attempted to break into music, some like Cardi B and Jenn Morel finding success, but others not so much, oftentimes not because they lack talent but rather because they’re not taken as seriously. What has this transition been like for you?

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Sigue tu instinto ????

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Katalina: It is a bit difficult for people to see social influencers in another facet that they are not used to, but, in my case, I always showed them that musical side, so it was not totally a surprise. The same people asked me and the reception was very special. I hope to reach many people with my music.

FIERCE: As you stated, you have been passionate about singing and playing the piano since you were a child. What sort of music did you grow up listening to and how do you think it’s influenced your Latin pop sound today?

Katalina: I grew up listening to a lot of pop and ballads. My mom always listened to this music, so she did influence me a lot. I remember locking myself in my room and practicing these songs all the time. I still do this.

FIERCE: Colombian music is having a major global moment right now. What do you think you bring to the game that’s different and helps you stand out among the rest?

Katalina: Together with my work team we are creating our own seal. Our sounds are different and the vocal arrangements are unique to what we want to project. We are focused on the urban wave but keeping my romantic side.

FIERCE: I can see that for sure! You recently released “Adios,” a ballad featuring Cuban-American artist Jencarlos Canela about saying goodbye to an ex-love with the hope of returning to each other again in the end. This is very relatable because a lot of times during breakups there’s this hope that time away will bring you two back together. Sometimes it’s because the couple really is good for each other, but other times it’s just a matter of costumbre. How do you, Katalina, decipher between the two?

Katalina: Saying goodbye is always going to be difficult, either out of love or habit. I think that if you are with someone just out of habit and not because you love him, it is better to say goodbye definitely. “Adios,” to me, has another meaning. Beyond the circumstances for which you have had to say goodbye to your ex-partner, it is the goodbye that makes your heart hurt. It’s the memories of the shared moments that make you miss a person and want to have them again, that’s “Adios.”.

FIERCE: In the music video, the song took on new meaning. It wasn’t just about an ex but about losing someone you love to death and never being able to be with them again. Why did you all want to dedicate this song and video to those who lost their partners?

Katalina: These are very common situations in all of our lives. The message also has to do with those who have lost a loved one, not just their partner. In my case, I recently lost my grandmother suddenly, who was a mother to me, and, for this reason, I, and many others, can identify with this video.

FIERCE: I’m so sorry to hear that! And I think you’re right. The video really extends to loss outside of romantic relationships. We are in an era of collaborations, especially for Latin music, and in this song, your and Jencarlos’ voices blend very beautifully. Tell me, who are some of your other dream collaborations?

Katalina: I’ve always believed you find strength in unity, so working in a team, to me, is a very wise decision. I have a long list, but I’d want to start with artists like Natti Natasha, Karol G, Becky G, Ivy Queen, Cardi B — these are strong women and great examples of what it means to be an empowering woman. Also, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and others. They are artists with careers worthy of admiration.

FIERCE: I know you’ve been working on a lot of music for this year. What can you tell us is in store for Katalina in 2019?

Katalina: There are incredible songs written by international composers. I will also have my debut as a songwriter in a song that I think people will really identify with.

FIERCE: Can we expect more ballads like “Adios” or more dance songs like “Sacude” or a mix of genres?

Katalina: With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about. I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.

FIERCE: You are so young, at the start of your career, what do you hope people can say about Katalina in 10 to 15 years?

Katalina: My dream is to become an icon in music worldwide. I would love for people to say that I inspired them to fulfill their dreams, that I helped empower other women, that my life has been a great example of triumph. In 10 to 15 years, with the help of God, I will leave my mark throughout the planet.

Watch Katalina’s latest single, “Adios,” below:

Read: Up Next: Meet Victoria La Mala, The Mexican Badass Empowering Women With Urban-Banda Jams

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