In the Spotlight: Kali Donn

Michelle Norsworthy

What do you get when you take a criminal justice major, soul and a guitar and smash them all together? Kali Donn, that’s what.

Though she still considers herself a beginner, Kali Donn’s musical and vocal talents have landed her continual spots at Unplugged and Savannah’s The Love & Soul Experience – a monthly event where artists and professionals from across the nation and local area are invited to perform and network.

But the 19-year-old Savannah native doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously.

“Both events bring forth such amazing opportunities to network and do what you love,” Donn said, “I’m extremely humbled and blessed.”

According to Donn, performing live isn’t as easy as it looks. “I’ll say to myself ‘welp, you’re up on stage now. There’s no turning back. The only thing you can do is give it your all and the people will either like it or hate it.’”

And like it was the answer for Chatise Smith, junior public relations major.

“I thought [Donn’s music] was very smooth, very soulful. It reminded me of like, India Arie, or maybe Floetry, and very relaxing,” Smith said.

With a vocal style that can only be described as ethereal and soulful, Donn blends spoken word and her guitar skills to create an almost confessional experience in songs like, “Thnk You” and the sneak-peek “AJC.”

While Donn does covers from artists like John Legend, Florence + the Machine and Beyoncé, she’s tackled a handful of original songs.

“A new song usually happens like this: something really good, or bad, happens, I play a random chord progression, then sing about what happened and try to make the words rhyme,” Donn said. “All this usually happens between 12 and 4 a.m.”

As far as influences go, the songstress said that she’s influenced by musicians who can really play, and gains her inspiration from her desire to make people happy – and, of course, make her mama proud.

With a few original songs under her belt, Donn didn’t deny the possibility of dropping an album of her own. “I’d love to make albums,” she said, but the focus is on finishing more original songs.

Until then, any one whose looking to add a little soul to their playlist can find her on YouTube and Soundcloud.