Grand Prize Winner


Every once in a while an artist appears who is destined to break the mold, LU KALA is one of them. The fiery voiced songstress—with signature orange hair to match—is redefining what a pop star sounds and looks like.

Despite song writing success, behind the lyrics was a voice waiting to be released, a voice that didn’t conform to the “black girl” R&B vocal style producers assumed they’d hear. Instead her sound—raw, intensely emotive and mercurial with an ability to lean into dance, R&B, rock, soul and pop, at will—defied it. Unwilling to vocally bend herself into the box black female performers are expected to exist in, KALA has embraced her distinctive sound, transforming her trajectory as an artist, and a woman, in the process.

Since, she’s released her 2018 debut track, “DCMO (Don’t Count Me Out).” The self-empowered pop anthem disarms with frank and deeply vulnerable lyrics. KALA describes the writing process as one that pushed her into emotional spaces she hadn’t allowed herself to go before. And its inspired her to begin telling the stories she didn’t realize she needed to tell.

With the upcoming release of her debut EP, KALA continues venturing into emotional places few dare to go—on or off record. Her songs are unflinching in its tales of personal, hard-earned lessons in love. Romantic disillusionment, identity and self-worth, are all laid-bare with breathtaking, unapologetic power.


2018 Winners