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Kehlani on Wikipedia
Kehlani Stavernfestivalen (203237).jpgKehlani performing in 2016
Background information
Birth nameKehlani Ashley Parrish
Born(1995-04-24) April 24, 1995 (age 22)
OriginOakland, California, United States
  • R&B
  • hip hop
  • neo soul
  • pop
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • dancer
Years active2009–present
  • HBK Gang
  • Atlantic
Associated acts
  • Chance the Rapper
  • G-Eazy
  • Clyde Carson
  • Zayn
  • Poplyfe
  • Kyle Dion
  • Iamsu!
  • Belly
  • Post Malone

Kehlani Ashley Parrish (born April 24, 1995)[1][2] is an American singer, songwriter and dancer who is currently signed to Atlantic Records.[3][4]

Kehlani is originally from Oakland, California where she achieved initial fame as a member of the teen pop group Poplyfe, which was a finalist on America's Got Talent.[5] She released her first mixtape, Cloud 19, in 2014.[6] The album was listed among Complex's "50 Best Albums of 2014."[7] Kehlani's second mixtape, You Should Be Here, debuted at number 5 on the national R&B/Hip-Hop chart in 2015 and preceded her sold-out North American promotional tour.[8] In 2016, she was nominated for the Best Urban Contemporary Album Grammy Award for You Should Be Here. Kehlani's debut studio album, SweetSexySavage, was released on January 27, 2017.[9]


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 2009–13: Career beginnings with PopLyfe
    • 2.2 2014–present: Cloud 19, You Should Be Here, and SweetSexySavage
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Discography
  • 5 Tours
  • 6 Awards and nominations
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Kehlani was born and raised in Oakland, California.[10] She has described her ethnicity as a mix of "black, white, Native American, Spanish, and Filipino."[11] She was primarily raised by her aunt, who adopted her when her mother, struggling with drug addiction, served time in prison. [12] Kehlani's father, who also suffered from drug addiction, passed away when she was only an infant. [12] During her teenage years, she attended the Oakland School for the Arts, where she initially practiced dance, particularly ballet and modern dance.[3][13][14]

Early in her life, Kehlani aspired to train as a dancer at the Juilliard School, but she suffered a knee injury in junior high, which led her to turn her attention towards singing.[15] While living with her aunt, Kehlani was exposed almost exclusively to R&B and neo soul artists, such as Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, whom today she describes as some of her early musical influences.[15] When she was 14, Kehlani was recruited to join a local pop cover band, PopLyfe.[3]

2009–13: Career beginnings with PopLyfe

Kehlani's singing career effectively began when she started out as a member and lead vocalist for the group called PopLyfe. The band's music was produced by former Tony! Toni! Toné! member, D'Wayne Wiggins.[15][16] Within two years, the group performed throughout the Bay Area and other cities. In 2011, they auditioned for the sixth season of America's Got Talent, and eventually finished in fourth place. During their final appearance, judge Piers Morgan told Kehlani, "You've got real talent, but I don't think you need the group."[3][5][17]

After the end of America's Got Talent, Kehlani left PopLyfe, because of several managerial and contractual disputes.[18] Over six months, she avoided doing anything music related for fear of being sued by the group's management.[16] In 2012 and 2013, Kehlani was effectively homeless, moving from house to house and often sleeping on couches.[15] During her senior year of high school, she moved to Los Angeles, California with no legal guardian. In 2013, Nick Cannon, who had been the host of America's Got Talent during PopLyfe's run, called Kehlani to ask her about being in a rap group. She agreed at first and went to Los Angeles, but, ultimately didn't like the direction of the group and moved back to Oakland. To help with money and food, she decided to begin stealing items from grocery stores for a short time.[3] Months later, Kehlani released her first solo track on SoundCloud, called "ANTISUMMERLUV". Cannon called her back after hearing the song and he set her up with an apartment in LA, along with studio time.[3][15][16]

2014–present: Cloud 19, You Should Be Here, and SweetSexySavage

In 2014, the studio time culminated in the release of her first mixtape, called Cloud 19. The mixtape features guest appearances from Kyle Dion. Cannon also sent her to New York City to work with record producer Jahaan Sweet.[3] The mixtape ranked at twenty-eighth on Complex's list of the "50 Best Albums of 2014,"[7] and was also listed among Pitchfork's "Overlooked Mixtapes 2014."[19] A song she released in late 2014, "Till the Morning" was placed by Billboard as one of the "Emerging Picks of the Week" on November 7, 2014.[20] In 2015, Kehlani opened for American rapper G-Eazy on the second leg of his From the Bay to the Universe tour.[21] On April 28, 2015, she released her second mixtape You Should Be Here. Billboard called it the "year's first great R&B album",[22] when it debuted at number 5 on the US Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[23] The project features guest appearances from fellow American rapper Chance the Rapper, and American singer-songwriter BJ the Chicago Kid.[24] A week after the release, she announced that she had signed a deal to Atlantic Records.[4] In support of the Mixtape, she went on the You Should Be Here tour, which sold out every North American date and select European dates.[8] Throughout 2015, she also received individual plaudits: Complex called her one of the "15 Artists to Watch Out for in 2015"[25] and Rolling Stone named her one of the "10 New Artists You Need to Know."[26] She was also nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album.[27] Kehlani collaborated with fellow singer-songwriter Zayn on the track, "Wrong" from his debut album Mind of Mine, which was released on March 25, 2016.[28] Her song "Gangsta" was featured on the soundtrack for the hit movie Suicide Squad, which gave her and her music some beneficial recognition, as it reached number 41 on the Hot 100.[29] On November 26, 2016, she revealed the title of her debut album SweetSexySavage,[30] which was released on Atlantic Records on January 27, 2017.[9][31]

Personal life

In January 2016, it was confirmed that Kehlani was in a relationship with NBA point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving.[32] In March 2016, Canadian musician PartyNextDoor posted a picture of Kehlani's hand on Instagram insinuating that he had gotten back with her. This caused a media controversy across Twitter, in which abuse was tweeted against Kehlani in hundreds of thousands of posts. Kyrie made a tweet saying they had broken up before the incident, but this seemed to go unnoticed.[33] The negative media attention caused Kehlani to attempt suicide.[34][35] Kehlani took to social media to explain that she had not cheated on Irving. Kehlani is also openly bisexual.[36]


Main article: Kehlani discography
  • SweetSexySavage (2017)


  • You Should Be Here Tour (2015)
  • SweetSexySavage World Tour (2017)


  1. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (July 8, 2015). "Kehlani - The fast-rising singer/songwriter reveals (almost) all". Now. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ Josephs, Brian (April 24, 2015). "Happy Birthday, Kehlani!". The Boombox. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Zeichner, Naomi (August 4, 2015). "Kehlani Earned This". The Fader. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Frydenlund, Zach (May 6, 2015). "Kehlani Signs With Atlantic Records". Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Golden, Zara (March 11, 2015). "Meet Kehlani, A Soft-Hearted R&B Star Who Looks Like A Badass". The Fader. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ Krastz, Roger (April 17, 2015). "Kehlani on Going From Homelessness to Music Success". XXL. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Davis, Justin (December 19, 2014). "The 50 Best Albums of 2014 - 28. Kehlani, Cloud 19". Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Henry, Keryce Chelsi (October 6, 2015). "Catching Up With Kehlani". Nylon. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Kennedy, Gerrick D. "Kehlani just wants to be happy after grappling with darkness. New album 'SweetSexySavage' leads the way". Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  10. ^ "About". Kehlani. Retrieved 2017-04-30. 
  11. ^ Peter Rosenberg (interviewer), Kehlani (guest) (March 30, 2015). Kehlani Talks to Rosenberg about Her Rough Upbringing, The Bay, and her Tattoos!. WQHT. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Who Is Kehlani? The Oakland Singer Talks About Being On "America's Got Talent" & How Nick Cannon Saved Her Life". Complex. Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  13. ^ "About". Kehlani. Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Kehlani - Biography | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Drake, David (December 3, 2014). "Kehlani Talks About the Making of "Cloud 19," the Tutelage of Lauryn Hill, and Getting a Hand From Nick Cannon". Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Ahmed, Insanul (March 25, 2015). "Who Is Kehlani? The Oakland Singer Talks About Being On "America's Got Talent" & How Nick Cannon Saved Her Life". Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  17. ^ Freeman, Macy (July 9, 2015). "With second mix tape, Kehlani is a rising star". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Kehlani Discusses Shady Managers, Her Bisexuality, and Her Many Tattoos". Complex. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  19. ^ "Overlooked Mixtapes 2014". Pitchfork Media. December 22, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  20. ^ Anderson, Trevor (November 7, 2014). "Emerging Picks of the Week: Nathaniel, Kehlani & Angel Olson". Billboard. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  21. ^ Lyons, Patrick (November 19, 2014). "G-Eazy Announces Second Leg Of "From The Bay To The Universe" Tour". Hot New Hip Hop. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  22. ^ Leight, Elias (April 29, 2015). "Kehlani Releases the Year's First Great R&B Album With 'You Should Be Here'". Billboard. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Kehlani - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  24. ^ Robinson, Will (April 28, 2015). "Kehlani releases delightful mixtape You Should Be Here". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  25. ^ Servantes, Ian; Davis, Justin (January 12, 2015). "15 Artists to Watch Out for in 2015". Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  26. ^ "10 New Artists You Need to Know: April 2015". Rolling Stone. April 16, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  27. ^ Cliff, Aimee (December 8, 2015). "Kehlani: "I Honestly Didn't Expect A Grammy Nomination This Early"". The Fader. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  28. ^ "13 Truth Bombs Zayn Malik Just Dropped In His First Solo Broadcast Interview". MTV News. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  29. ^ "10 Hip-Hop and R&B Artists to Watch In 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  30. ^ Espinoza, Joshua (29 November 2016). "Kehlani names her debut album". Complex. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  31. ^ "Kehlani: How she turned difficult times into a stunning debut album - NME". NME. 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  32. ^ "Kehlani And Kyrie Irving Publicize Their Love On Instagram". Vibe. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ Aimee Cliff. "Kehlani Shares Photo From Hospital After Apparent Suicide Attempt". The FADER. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Kehlani Hospitalized After Apparent Suicide Attempt". MTV News. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  36. ^ Pinto, Adriana (November 15, 2016). "Kehlani "Distraction" Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified". youtube. Retrieved November 15, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Nominees in top categories for the Grammy Awards". Business Insider. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Kehlani on SoundCloud Edit this at Wikidata
  • Kehlani discography at Discogs

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