Her 2013 debut, Drunken Babble, was self-crafted in just 48 hours.
This D.I.Y mixtape was birthed from a then 18-year-old Kali, who used Garageband on her Macbook as a creative outlet. Sitting on the floor of her bedroom with a Yeti mic, she let her energy flow, under the influence. "I was definitely hesitant [to put out “Drunken Babble”]. I was thinking, 'Maybe it’s too real,'" she told WAMU 88.5. "I’m literally just crying on the joint. I’m saying everything that’s hurting me and bothering me. I didn’t make it for people to hear. I knew people who knew who I was talking about were going to feel a type of way, but I was just like “Eh [screw] it."
The 17-track project features heavy sampling and "talk rap," which she's since ditched and fully committing to being a superstar crooner.
The West Coast has fully embraced her.
Since uprooting cross-country to California at the top of 2015 in the name of making her dreams come true, Kali has made herself a fixture on the music scene. Uncle Snoop even gave his blessing. "From the time I seen 'What They Say' I knew Kali had something special," he told Dazed. The two ended up linking, which resulted in Kali lending her soulful timbre to a track from Snoop's That's My Work 3 mixtape called, "On Edge." The studio session was one of epic portions as Kali recalls the OG having a table with blunts lined up and a bowl of candy upon her arrival.
Kali has also had the pleasure of working with Tyler, The Creator. Her romantic sound paired with his offshoot rhymes have birthed some of the best tracks off of each of their albums (See: "F**king Young/Perfect" and "Call Me.")
It only takes her a few minutes to pen a track.
Kali's unique writing abilities are swift. The nostalgic complexities of her sound should be enough to suffice as the ultimate element of surprise for a millennial but it barely scratches the surface. "Five minutes," a confident Kali divulged to Billboard about just how long it takes her to create a track.
Her sound and style is influenced by the '50s, '60s and '70s.
If you haven't already peeped, Kali tops the meter of eccentric – in a good way, of course. With a love for classic musicians like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to an admiration for smooth cabaret-style songbird Astrud Gilberto, this gal definitely aced musical history. However, her modern day peers have deemed her as the Amy Winehouse of the West Coast.
She's Colombian – although she considers herself more "alien."
A proud Latina, Kali was born and raised in Pereira, Colombia and migrated to Virginia at the age of seven with her family (hints: her tattoo of her dad's passport signature conveniently placed on her inner arm.) But even still, the self-proclaimed introvert never really felt completely at home in her native Colombia either, as she dealt with harassment for her appearance like her naturally blonde hair. That same adversity she faced for being so different actually helped her embrace her individuality at young age. "I learned not to care what other people thought, 'cause I just got so used to being bullied and [stuff] just for the way I contrasted with my environment, she told WAMU.
She's a one-woman show.
From sleeping in cars at the local Harris Teeter parking lot to canoodling in the Hollywood Hills, Kali's unrelenting hustle has proven to be a benefactor. Sure, these days she's collaborating with like-minded individuals, but she's all about creative control when it comes to her music and her growing brand (Sidebar: She hasn't signed with a major just yet.) "Free thinking and the power of visualization and creativity are the most beautiful things God could ever have given me and it would be disrespectful to not utilize those gifts," Kali told Hypetrak.
She dropped her debut album, Por Vida, earlier this year.
Released on Feb. 4, her debut showed and proved that she wasn't just some curious teenager fidgeting with an Apple toy. Influences of soul, doo-wop, hip hop and reggae engulfed the nine-track offering, laced with pure, grade-A production from Tyler, The Creator, Diplo, Kaytranada and more.
Her delivery is sweeping, dreamy and all things romantic with a gritty backdrop of realism. Listen to Por Vida below.