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MD Discovery: Lu Kala, the Meteoric Pop Newcomer

For those who heard Latto’s single “Lottery” earlier this year, there were plenty of things to take notice of in the wake of it. First was the disco direction that the “Big Energy” rapper decided to pivot towards, but second and arguably more attention-grabbing was the featured artist. Lu Kala, a Canadian-by-way-of-Congo singer, was on hook duty, providing a refrain that tied the whole song together in an addictive, endlessly replayable package. “If I let you put your hands all over me / If I let you unwrap all this in the sheets / If I tell you all my dirty fantasies / You won the lottery, you won the lottery,” she sings on “Lottery,” both a perfect match for Latto’s trademark charisma and a sticky, radio-friendly melody that propelled the song to a Billboard placement and millions of streams.

But the fact that Lu Kala’s name may not have rung any bells for Latto’s listeners doesn’t mean the singer hadn’t been hard at work long before then. In fact, you can trace her catalog all the way back to 2020, when Kala released her debut EP, Worthy, under her own independent imprint. Further, audiences may have caught wind of her a few years later, with 2022’s “Pretty Girl Era,” a self-affirming, retro earworm that captured the TikTok consciousness, brought her a ton of online attention and earned her a top 10 hit on Canadian charts.

Lu Kala Rings in a New Era with “Hotter Now”

All that said, there’s no doubt that a co-sign from an artist Latto’s size is an important stepping stone for someone with their sights on a mainstream breakout. Those hopes are exactly what Lu Kala delivered on her with her most recent single, “Hotter Now,” her first release since the success of “Lottery” this past spring. As an entry into the newer, modern canon of Kala’s music, the track is a perfect fit—it’s breezy, airy and bright in the production, and carries a similarly sunny motto to go along with it. Flipping the idiom that Kelly Clarkson once made famous, Lu Kala sings: “What doesn’t kill you makes you hotter now / A little wilder when the lights go out / You miss this booty ever since it bounced / And it’s not coming back no, no, no, no, no.”

Taken from @igobylu, Kala’s Instagram.

Digging a bit deeper into the proverbial liner notes reveals that “Hotter Now” arrived with production credits from Space Primates and Vaughn Oliver. That duo has collectively worked with FIFTY FIFTY, Nicki Minaj, Kim Petras, Megan Thee Stallion and Katy Perry, bringing some of those artists huge hits in the process (Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl” leads the pack in that regard). That is to say, if mainstream audiences aren’t familiar with Lu Kala’s work, the industry certainly has already taken notice. And with the results so undeniably catchy, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be long before everyone else follows suit. All the music mentioned here, including “Hotter Now,” is available wherever you get your music.

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