by Mikaela Antonelli
Drawing from very unique life experiences, Qbala, Kalhie Quinones, is a force to be reckoned with in the front range hip hop scene. Starting out writing long form letters and birthday cards that expressed her feelings in a poetic way, Qbala knew that writing would be a great release for her in her life. “I didn’t realize I could put lyrics to music and make something amazing” she said. At the age of 22, she discovered songwriting and expressing herself in the form of music.
In college Qbala played basketball; She travelled with Otero and followed her coach to Alaska to finish out her eligibility. While she was playing basketball, music took a backseat in her life. Finally in 2008 she began to put all her energy into her music. She came back to Colorado and started to very seriously pursue her music career. “Being on stage is like therapy to me,” she said. “I always feel drained after a show, but it feels so good.” She records with her beat producer, Munk Wun, she has found much inspiration in his beats and written some of her favorite songs with Munk.
The Fort Collins music scene has been very kind to Qbala. She has made a very big name for herself here, as well as across the country. On the scene in Fort Collins she said, “ hip hop is interesting, you really have to hustle and you have to be authentic. You can’t just stick to hip hop…you have to have respect for other artist around here, there are a lot of amazing artists here.” She has definitely been hustling, Qbala organized an entire nation wide tour on her own to promote herself around the country.
Judging from the crowd she drew last month at NewWest Fest, Fort Collins is enjoying her music as well. She has won many awards from her music in the past years. In 2013 she won the Spokesbuzz Battle of The Bands as well as Westword’s Best Female M.C. Her lyric content can range from politics to local life, to her sexuality. “There is always someone at my shows who hasn’t seen me…age doesn’t matter, anyone can relate to my songs.”