They didn’t win the competition, but she made an invaluable ally in Nick Cannon. On April 24, 1995, in a south Berkeley, Calif. Coming in fourth place overall, they missed out on any prize money, but Kehlani walked away with some invaluable gifts.
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Down-to-earth contemporary R&B singer and songwriter from Oakland, California. The 23-year-old — born Kehlani Ashley Parrish — announced her first pregnancy on social media Friday afternoon. Below, read Kehlani’s thoughts on her fans’ expectations of her, the ways in which social media can still be used for good, and the advice she will one day give her daughter.
In Morning Glory,” Kehlani shows off the duality of her talent as both rapper and vocalist. Although not released as a single, this track sounds like a potential pop hit as she sings about the expectations she has for her lover. Feels,” one of the strongest songs off the album, compiles all the pain and growth present in her other tracks into one smooth piece. The song is full of 2000s R&B-influence, but it’s still uniquely Kehlani. Nights Like This,” and RPG,” featuring Ty Dollar $ign and 6LACK, respectively, are clearly the crowd-pleasers of the album.
By the time her senior year rolled around, she decided to move down south to Los Angeles in an attempt to get back into the music game. She enrolled at Hollywood High, but because of the fact that she wasn’t yet 18 and had no legal guardian with her in L.A., she was removed from the school in handcuffs after a matter of days and temporarily placed in a group home. So she returned to Oakland with no money and eventually graduated, but it wasn’t easy.
A native of Oakland, California, she later settled in Los Angeles. Her father passed away when she was very young and her Aunt helped raise her. Her cousin is rapper Clyde Carson In 2016, she dated NBA guard Kyrie Irving She and guitarist Javie Young-White welcomed a daughter named Adeya in 2019. She began dating YG in 2019.
When crystallised into songs – which she writes herself – her bold realness is her greatest strength. Sonically, she flirts with the Y2K R&B hits of her childhood, and she samples and interpolates artists like Ginuwine and Lauryn Hill (she’s got a big tattoo of Lauryn’s face above her left elbow). But her words are urgent, filled with stories from real-life experiences that deal with topics that matter very much to young people: heartbreak, body image, self-respect.
Prior to YG, Kehlani dated singer PartyNextDoor on-and-off from 2014 to 2016 and Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving from 2015 to 2016. She later posted a loved-up photo of her and YG on her Instagram page: Cat’s out of the bag,” Kehlani wrote.
Instead of typical banter, Kehlani used the time between songs to speak with the audience about the importance of donating locally to people in need; about self-respect and self-care; about living every single day with nothing but love in your heart.” For an artist who has been open about her sexuality (she identifies as bisexual) and her mental health issues (she survived a 2016 suicide attempt), unfiltered honesty is her modus operandi.
Born a unique blend of ethnicities including African American, Caucasian, Native American, Spanish, and Filipino Native American Kehlani will casually tell you You’re lucky if you make it out of Oakland.” However, in her case, talent usurped luck. Months after her birth, Kehlani lost her father, never properly meeting him. Mired in drug addiction, her mom shuffled her to an aunt. She initially found solace in dance—ballet in particular—but a knee injury sidelined her what might’ve been a budding career as ballerina.
Overall, the features help shape the tracks to sound like the popular R&B hits we’ve been hearing on the radio lately, but the last two tracks—Butterfly” and Love Language”—solidify that Kehlani’s solo singles are her best. In Butterfly,” the fact that the mixtape is dedicated to her daughter shines through, as she sings about awaiting transformation in her relationship—perhaps as she and her partner become parents. Instrumentally, Love Language,” is the best track off of the album. The beats are catchy and experiment with synthetic sounds. The listener will finish the album swaying along until the very end.
The title of this interminable 19-track debut album shows how Californian R&B singer Kehlani sees herself, however inaccurately. There is some melodic sweetness here, in the chorus to Undercover or the modest earworm of Get Like; savagery is signified by a willingness to say the F word and smoke blunts in her videos. But sexiness is utterly absent in a record whose jaw-slackeningly boring lyrics make it more like a first date from hell. R&B masters take solipsism and turn it into universal human drama; Kehlani, without an ounce of wordplay, merely reels off the bland injustices and generic joys of her life over humdrum production, until Keeping Up With the Kardashians starts looking like Sarah Kane in comparison. Her friends presumably put her on speakerphone when she rings and just make occasional noises of agreement while getting on with some light housework or a tax return.
Kehlani has also spoken openly about her fluid sexuality – the gender pronouns she uses to address the objects of her affection alternate from track to track. Her definition of love is one that transcends categorisation, and her call for liberation is inspiring. Earlier this year she posted an Instagram photo to her 1.5 million followers with the caption, Ladies you have every right to be as sexually expressive as you want, or don’t want to. Neither is wrong. Neither is unacceptable”. While her viewpoint fits right into a broader conversation about female sexuality within the paradigms of pop music, it’s essentially a comment on self-confidence – an attitude she tidily summarises on Bright’s timeless chorus – Can’t nobody love somebody that do not love themselves”.
Kehlani has traversed a bumpy road in her two short decades: she’s opened up about lacking the mother figure she needed, the vulnerability that comes from giving love and not getting it back, and the facade of social media—how it’s really just a mask people wear. Social media, more often than not, is a vortex of hidden emotions, faux realities and embedded personal issues. While it can be liberating for some people to wax poetic about their daily lives, it can also be a stage for our worst impulses, our most debased instincts and prejudices.
This relationship is built, in part, on a shared journey. Collectively, the Tsunami Mob have watched Lani grow into the artist she is today. My fans got to go through all kinds of ups and downs with me,” she explains. Whether that was relationships, family problems, me getting older, or graduating high school — they’ve seen everything so we have a very personal relationship.” Throughout our conversation it’s the Tsunami Mob that has Kehlani enthusing the most. Despite everything she’s achieved in the last 12 months – sold out shows, Billboard charting mixtapes, the Grammys and global critical acclaim – she sounds proudest when talking about the supportive nature of the following she’s built.
Behind this rising musician is a 20-year-old woman who has a life beyond what the public eye sees: a woman who is still growing up and learning, a woman who is fiercely independent and has struggled through some serious shit. How her personal life inspired Internet trolls to play God is inexplicable. It’s pretty ironic that Twitter users saw one photo and decided to immediately turn against Kehlani, and construct an alternate narrative that served their prejudices rather than waiting to learn the facts, but Brown is a known abuser with anger management issues, and he still works with the top pop artists. Brown could murder someone and people would still praise him on social media.
During the routine, there’s drama when her team discovers some obsessive messages she’s been receiving from a local fan on social media. Her manager, David, seems panicked, sharing photos of the guy with the venue’s security to make sure he can’t get through. This type of alarm is not new for Kehlani. She’s been criss-crossing the country in a modest Sprinter van on a US tour – her biggest since the release of her two mixtapes of sparkling, empowered R&B-pop – and things have been getting heavy with her adoring public. At a recent stop in Toronto, a fan passed out. In that same city, someone found out where she was staying, showed up at her hotel and had to be escorted from the premises. This might seem odd, when you consider Kehlani has yet to perform on national television or release an album (it’s coming in early 2016). Overzealous fans are typically more of a problem for the Beyoncés and Rihannas of the world, but the rapture Kehlani inspires in her devotees is very real.
In a bold move that has taken the internet by surprise, YG and Kehlani have made their relationship public with a red carpet debut during NYFW. The two stepped out as an item for the first time since rumors started that they were romantically involved, which previously made rounds on social media.
Kehlani seemingly never fails to disappoint. The accomplished Oakland-born R&B singer has made a well-deserved name for herself since her debut mixtape, Cloud 19,” and the RIAA certified gold studio album, SweetSexySavage.” Her recent feature on Cardi B’s single, Ring,” as well as a slew of other high-profile collaborations, has only propelled Kehlani to an even higher status as a virtuoso vocal accompanist.
Maybe we are finally reaping the fruits of Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar‘s years of efforts to make social issues cool to talk about in music, or maybe the reality in the US of cops killing African Americans on what feels like a daily basis, and the increasingly powerful voice of the #blacklivesmatter movement both online and in the streets, makes it impossible to be anything but political. Kehlani, for her part, addressed that subject directly when she released a song written in the wake of Ferguson, 2014’s Collect Call ”, in which she makes a plea for protest and social justice.
Social media comments ranged from misogynistic to slut-shaming to just plain hateful—and that was only what the public could see. Later on Monday, Kehlani posted, then deleted, an Instagram image of herself with an IV saying she tried to end her life.
Kehlani’s face lights up when she talks about her music. That contagious energy is palpable on the countless high profile collaborations she’s done, including tracks with a who’s who of 2018 pop including Cardi B , Post Malone, Chance the Rapper, G-Eazy, Charlie Puth and her good friend Hayley Kiyoko, with whom she recently starred in a music video about two lovers escaping a homophobic mother on a raucous road trip.
On the other hand, Nights Like This,” which features popular R&B artist Ty Dolla $ign, has the singer reminiscing on an old relationship and contemplating reconnecting, evaluating the inevitability of the relationship failing again.
While We Wait follows Kehlani’s 2017 album, SweetSexySavage. It’s comprised of a total of nine songs, including the previously shared Nights Like This” collaboration with Ty Dolla $ign Additional guests such as 6LACK , Musiq Soulchild , and Dom Kennedy also appear on the mixtape.
Some songs on the project convey messages toward past relationships. Nunya” features fellow Californian veteran rapper Dom Kennedy and is a vibrant kiss of death to an ex-lover who still checks in. Kehlani wants the ex to know that ties are severed and they have no business with each other any longer.
Last week Kehlani was in the midst of prepping her first world tour, a 60-city trek that will also include a stop at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The fast-rising R&B-pop songwriter born Kehlani Parrish was days before the release of her long-awaited major-label debut, SweetSexySavage,” an album out today on Atlantic Records.
While Kahlani was dating NBA basketball player Kyrie Irving in 2016, musician PartyNextDoor posted a picture of her hand on social media, insinuating that something was happening between them. The public backlash was so bad that it eventually led Kehlani to attempt suicide.
There’s no doubt that this release is another solid display of Kehlani’s talents and emotionally-driven writing. Fans will be pleased and casual listeners will be able to find gems. There will be plenty of people playing this record to death, and they have every reason to.
asping loudly and clutching my armrest wasn’t exactly what I expected to be doing while 35,000 feet in the air, hurtling back toward New York from Los Angeles after shooting the cover story for this issue, but I couldn’t help it—Kehlani elicits that kind of reaction. This time, the 23-year-old musician, activist, and app innovator had shocked me—along with her more than six million Instagram followers—with the announcement of her pregnancy. Now, you can add mother to be to the ever-expanding definition of what it means to be Kehlani.
Her fans, however, have been longing for more of her and her alone. Now, with her latest mixtape, While We Wait,” her following has been quenched of their thirst. While We Wait” has once again highlighted Kehlani’s knack for consistent, entertaining and emotionally-captivating melodies intertwined with pulsating rhythms.
Morning Glory” can be considered a bit of a self-love anthem from Kehlani. With a similar theme as older songs Bright” and especially As I Am,” the singer professes her love for herself in her natural state and discomfort in dressing up. The lyrics explain that a lover should accept her as is, beyond the glitz and glam, explaining that there is more to her than what meets the eye.
For the past four years, Kehlani has consistently been featured as an Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone and Complex. But with her new mixtape, While We Wait, Kehlani solidifies her position as one of R&B’s current stars. This highly anticipated mixtape has attracted social media buzz from artists like Khalid, Wale, Janelle Monae, and DJ Khaled. It’s no surprise that the album is gaining so much attention, as Kehlani’s artistry has been continuously evolving and improving. Keeping a relatively low profile in 2018, choosing to be featured on just a select few tracks—KYLE’s Playinwitme”, Charlie Puth’s Done for Me,” Cardi B’s Ring”— Kehlani blossoms on this new mixtape, ready to make 2019 hers.
Apart from getting nominated for a Grammy, she has also received nominations for BET Awards. Popular on social media as well, she holds about 3.8 million fans on Instagram. Singer Kehlani and rapper YG took their relationship public this week.
After a breakthrough year, 21-year-old Florida singer and rapper YK Osiris has just shared his debut album, The Golden Child. Included as part of 2019’s XXL Freshman list , YK Osiris channels throwback R&B through modern-day hip-hop. The Golden Child, which is released through Def Jam, sees him build upon his momentum with a solid collection of tracks.
R&B artist and now tech startup founder, Kehlani has been a very busy woman. Not only did she just announce her pregnancy, but today she is officially announcing the launch of her new app, Flora , an app that inspires young people to make positive changes in their lives.
Kehlani’s mixtape While We Wait,” released in late February, is dressed with a yearning for love like many an R&B album, yet harnesses Kehlani’s distinctive brand as both a romantic and a player. In While We Wait,” Kehlani creates a profound emotional experience, invoking large-scale romantic sentiments through a simple and candid lens.
On April 24, 1995, in a south Berkeley, Calif. apartment, a pregnant woman on the run from the police went into labor as the child’s father guided her through the birth over the phone. They were both addicts. The child, born prematurely and “like, not breathing,” as Kehlani explained to The Fader in 2015, went to the hospital before doing a brief sting in foster care. Her mother returned to jail and her father died when she was “one or two.” Eventually, the mother’s sister adopted her.
Rapper YG and singer Kehlani just made their dating debut together at New York Fashion Week on Thursday. The Oakland, Calif.-based singer and songwriter quote-tweeted a post gushing over the couple. I just want to know who shot they shot first and said what,” Astasia Williams wrote.