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KEHLANI

Anyone who’s listened to a Kehlani record or followed the 29-year-old online knows her earnest, unguarded presence. With her clear-eyed musings of romantic yearning, sexual freedom, heartbreak, self-love, and mental wellness, she became the patron saint of introspection for a generation of R&B fans. And her social media favors blunt honesty over spin.

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Kehlani Ashley Parrish was born in Oakland, and her childhood was marked by trauma. Both parents struggled with addiction — her father was caught up in the streets, and her mom was in and out of jail. She’s a year older now than her dad was when he died, shortly after she was born. Kehlani bounced around foster care before her aunt dropped out of school to raise her. Dancing and music became an outlet: She enrolled at Oakland’s School for the Arts, and at 14 she had landed a spot in cover band PopLyfe. The group made it to America’s Got Talent and placed fourth, but the thrill was short-lived when she got a taste of the shadier side of the industry.

“I was seeing the effects of what music can do — how it can be healing and beautiful and bring people joy…but on the flip side, there was this ugliness. I saw the greed and the He-Mans that were willing to fuck over children,” she recalls. “I was 16 years old and brought my contract to this table full of grown-ass people like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ Like, ‘We’re supposed to be family.'”

The experience threw her off, but reconnecting with Nick Cannon got her music career back on track. Cannon, who hosted America’s Got Talent the season Kehlani competed, became a mentor. He put her up in an apartment and funded the studio time that helped her make 2014’s Cloud 19, the first of two mixtapes she dropped that featured her reverent updates of early 2000s neo-soul and TRL-era pop. Her songs were about the rush of a first crush, kisses that lingered like warm honey, falling in and out and love—and all the feels in-between. Kehlani was making straightforward R&B for those who grew up loving Brandy and Britney Spears. Her music was bright, bubbly, danceable, and super infectious. She signed with Atlantic Records, and her second mixtape, 2015’s You Should Be Here, raced up Billboard’s R&B chart and landed her a Grammy nomination.

Kehlani’s star was on the rise, and with it came a great deal of interest in her personal life. She grew up in the age of social media, so she knew whatever she did or who she dated would be up for scrutiny. But as one of the few queer women of color in R&B/pop, she wasn’t actually prepared for the intensity of the coverage she’d face. Blogs that never bothered to write about her music wrote about her love life with aplomb after she was accused of cheating. Suddenly, strangers were on her Gram attacking her, even accusing her of queer-baiting.

The constant bullying overshadowed her music, pulling Kehlani into a darkness that resulted in an attempt on her own life in 2016. She made the effervescent SweetSexySavage while still clawing her way out of the shadows. She wasn’t fully ready yet, nor was the album—but this is still the music business, and deadlines are deadlines.

It was all a critical turning point for Kehlani that helped her reprioritize what she wanted out of her life and career.

“Everything hit me. Life can just change in a moment. You know what I’m saying? Life can be over in a moment,” she says. “If you are blessed enough to come out of that, you have to take life by the reins and do this shit how you can design it.”

A warmth radiates from Kehlani, even when she’s talking about the people and things that have hurt her. It’s why so many have taken to her confessional records or gotten her lyrics or her visage inked into their flesh. In a time of strategic oversharing, she’s the rare pop star unapologetically wearing her feelings because it’s who she is—not who she’s building a persona around. She was seven when she witnessed her first demonstration. It happened by accident: She and her grandmother were out together in San Francisco and passed a group of women lying in the middle of the street. They were all soaked in fake blood. It could have been a traumatic sight for a small child, but she only remembers the curiosity that swirled in her mind afterward.

Kehlani sees the world so much differently now that she’s a mother. Before she gave birth to her daughter Adeya Nomi last year, she dropped While We Wait, a stopgap project featuring a bunch of her friends that dug deep into the vulnerable, resilient R&B that defined her early mixtapes. The project held her fans over after she paused work on what would eventually become her latest album. By the time It Was Good Until It Wasn’t arrived, she had lost three of her closest friends to addiction and went through yet another painful public breakup that splashed her all over the blogs and Twitter.

“Kehlani’s growth from SweetSexySavage to It Was Good Until It Wasn’t is her journey of going from womanhood to motherhood,” her longtime manager David Ali says. “This is definitely one of her most grown and honest pieces of work.”

In September 2020, Kehlani recorded songs for the deluxe version of It Was Good Until It Wasn't. However, after the session they decided that the songs would fit better on a separate project, and began working on their third studio album, Blue Water Road.

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kehlani Tour dates 2024

Kehlani is currently touring across United States.

Get your tickets here https://www.kehlani.com/tour/

Sunday 21 July 2024 -

Liv Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, US

Friday 02 August 2024 -
Liv Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, US

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Crash T-shirt + CD with Autographed Poster ($45)

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