Rising R&B star Kehlani takes her turn at gracing The Fader.
Kehlani, surely a name everyone’s heard a lot this year due to the major success this Bay Area singer has received following the release of her latest project, You Should Be Here. And you should. Everyone should heed this young star’s journey, because it is definitely an interesting one. Following the release of her debut mixtape Cloud 19 in 2014, who knew that she would be headlining her own tour and signed to a major label all by the next year?
The Fader is definitely an outlet for her story to be told the right way. The singer talks everything from her mom and childhood to her musical beginnings. For the full interview click here.
On her childhood
“I’ve always been a little light. Something bad would happen, and I’d be like, ‘Well, this is happening, but we’re lucky in these other ways.’” But things got more complicated when her mother reentered her life—though not as her guardian. “At that point, my mom had two other kids. I just couldn’t understand why I was the only child who couldn’t be around her. She would be doing her shit, then get clean for two months, but I was never allowed to stay with her, and I couldn’t grasp why. They would be literally dragging me out of my mom’s crib, holding-on-to-the-walls type shit. Screaming like, ‘Why am I the oldest and I can’t be here? Don’t you think I’m the most mature?’”
On her musical beginnings
Things went best when she focused on music. At 14, she was recruited as the vocalist of a local cover band, PopLyfe. They gigged aggressively and, in 2011, successfully auditioned for the competitive variety show America’s Got Talent. Finishing in fourth place, they missed out on the prize money…Nick Cannon, the host of America’s Got Talent, reappeared in Kehlani’s life, presenting himself as her miracle route out of Oakland…he set her up with an apartment in the Valley and arranged sessions with producers. He sent her to New York, where she met Jahaan and slept some nights in the studio, before returning to L.A. to finish her Cloud 19 mixtape.
On growing up with no money
“There were times where I really had to do shit like wait outside of a train station and snatch iPhones out of peoples’ hands and run and sell them,” she says. “I went through people’s houses. I ran through cars—all type of shit that I feel like made me grow up so fast. I’ve been banned from Walgreens. I’ve been banned from Walmart for stealing fucking clothes and food. Lucky’s caught me with a box of Wheat Thins and some bread. I was like, ‘Can’t you tell I’m stealing because I’m hungry?’”