Kehlani is a singer, songwriter, as well as dancer, based in America. They are originally from Oakland in California, and first achieved fame as a part of PopLyfe, a teen group, in 2011.
Here we’ll explore this iconic musician and the cultural buzz that surrounds them.
Kehlani at a glance
Kehlani was born as Kehlani Ashley Parrish on April 24,1995. She was born in Oakland in California. Early in their life, they were raised by their aunt after their mother found herself spending time in jail. Kehlani also lost their father when they were very young.
When they were a teenager, they went to the Oakland School For Arts, where they trained to be a dancer. Following this, Kehlani aspired to learn dance at the Julliard School as well. A knee injury would get in the way of this dream, and caused her to turn toward singing.
Kehlani got their start in a music group
Kehlani’s career as a singer started with the music group PopLyfe, of which they were the lead vocalist. The group originally performed across the Bay Area before auditioning for America’s Got Talent’s sixth season, where they finished fourth.
View this post on Instagram
During the show, Piers Morgan would tell Kehlani that they didn’t need the group, and that they had real talent. Following the show, Kehlani took that advice, leaving PopLyfe and starting her solo career.
Kehlani’s solo career started out hot
In 2013, Kehlani released her first solo track on SoundCloud. It was called “ANTISUMMERLUV.” Nick Cannon contacted them after hearing this song, wanting to help them further their career. Their song ‘Gangsta’ was featured on the Suicide Squad movie’s soundtrack, which helped them cement their name in the music industry.
In the year 2014, she released Cloud 19, which was her first mixtape. Complex listed this mix tape as one of the ’50 Best Albums’ of the year 2014. In 2015, Kehlani came out with their second mixtape, ‘You Should Be Here’. This mixtape managed to debut at No. 5 when it came to the R&B and HipHop chart.
Kehlani found themselves nominated for the ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The following year, Kehlani would release their first studio album, titled SweetSexySavage. In 2020, they came out with her second studio album, titled It Was Good Until It Wasn’t. More recently, in 2022, she released her third studio album, titled Blue Water Road.
Kehlani’s voice is in demand
Complementing their solo success, Kehlani has opened shows for singers like G-Eazy, Halsey, and Demi Lovato.
They have also collaborated on singles with artists, including Charlie Puth’s 2018 single, “Done For Me.’
In 2018, she was also featured in the single “Ring” from Cardi B. It was this song that helped them make their first entry into the top 40 of Billboard Hot 100.
2019 was a busy year for Kehlani as well. They released their third commercial mixtape, and collaborated with Zedd on the single “Good Thing.” They would also release a single, “Morning,” together with Teyana Taylor.
“Little Story,” another single, was released on the 24th of February, 2022. Later that year, in March, they revealed through their Instagram, that they would be releasing another album on April 29. The week after they released this statement, they would release the third single from their album, ‘Up At Night’, which featured Justin Bieber as well.
Not just music: Kehlani is coming to a screen near you
It also appears that Kehlani is making moves on-screen, as well. In 2022, they were cast for the upcoming season 3 of L-Word: Generation Q alongside other big names like Margaret Cho, Joey Lauren Adams, Joanna Cassidy.
Kehlani’s Gender And Sexual Identity
Gender and sexual identity are fluid. In 2018, Kehlani posted a now-deleted tweet saying they were polysexual and polyamorous; however, they have since clarified their gender and sexual identities multiple times over the years over different media.
While the artist has continued to have polyamorous relationships, in 2021 Kehlani also shared that they were a lesbian during a livestream.
In 2019, in an interview with Diva magazine, Kehlani stated that they were on the non-binary scale. Later on, in 2021, during an interview with Byrdie Magazine, Kehlani discussed their pronouns being she/they. Kehlani shared why they preferred the pronoun ‘they’ over ‘she,’ saying that they felt more seen, when people referred to them using the term ‘they’.
Related: We’re All Cringing After This Interview with R&B/Pop Sensation Kehlani
The Grammy-nominated artist Kehlani, has steadily grown in popularity over the years. Over the years, they have become more open and confident in how they express themself. A queer icon, Kehlani continues to inspire people across the world with their music.
View this post on Instagram
Keep up with the latest on Kehlani and your other favorite queer influencers by subscribing to the INTO newsletter.