Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith may be from opposite sides of the pond, but they perfectly complement each other, and The Kali & Jorja Tour showcases two rising stars poised to make waves in pop music. Their sets on Saturday night delighted an enthusiastic crowd, never more so than when they came together to close out their wildly successful stop in Irving at the Toyota Music Factory.
It’s not surprising that Uchis works so well in tandem considering the wide array of talent she’s collaborated with so quickly in her career — Tyler, The Creator, Snoop Dogg, Daniel Caesar, Bootsy Collins, Juanes, Vince Staples and more. But there’s some irony to that, considering her critically acclaimed debut studio album is titled Isolation and she’s a champion of individuality, which is really just a testament to how well she knows herself, an endearing quality at such a young age.
Surprisingly, these two powerhouse artists didn’t get the sold-out crowd they deserve. It's only a matter of time before they do, however. Uchis is too interesting an artist to simmer below the mainstream for much longer. Isolation is genre-defying by blending wide-ranging elements from R&B, hip-hop, funk, bossa nova, indie pop and countless other spaces track to track, making it all the easier to keep on repeat. Uchis wrote the songs straight from her gut without too much tinkering, with the artist’s stream-of-consciousness internal monologue making her wisdom absurdly accessible to anyone paying attention. As if that weren’t enough, it’s not just through sonic quality and introspective lyrics that endless buzz seems to follow Uchis, but also an unparalleled confidence and swaggering style.
Whether sexily writhing around her platform stage booty-up while performing “Melting” or jaunting across the stage denouncing haters for “Dead To Me,” Uchis' movements felt unrehearsed. The way lyrics like “But, what are you up to? I haven't a clue, 'cause baby you're dead to me, why can't I be dead to you?” were delivered nonchalantly and paired with an upbeat electro pop track is a level of unfazed we should all strive for.
If there’s a lesson to learn from Uchis, it’s that we should think long and hard on how we want to navigate our lives. The Colombian-American artist has persistently recounted the solitude it took to create the album and her realization that she would sooner choose to be by herself rather than be around people who don’t appreciate her energy, and how only in that space could we truly reflect and come out better on the other side. How else would we have gotten an affirming hit like “After The Storm” if not for these methodologies?
Uchis’ headlining set pulled from Isolation as well her 2015 project Por Vida, but it was probably the set's covers that provided the most unique aspect of the night. Uchis performed a solo medley of Don Omar’s “Pobre Diablo,” Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful,” Radiohead’s “Creep” and a rendition of her own “Killer” spliced with a Beach House sample, which offered an insight into her influences. The coup de grace of the evening was the closing medley from Uchis and Smith together where they tapped into their inner Destiny’s Child by covering “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name” before closing shop with their joint track “Tyrant,” swaying the night away hip-to-hip. Because, if anything, solidarity is just as important as solitude.