Kehlani Parris is a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from Oakland, California. The artist was first noticed in America’s Got Talent, where she introduced herself as a homeless teen. Shortly after the show, Kehlani released two mixtapes, You Should Be Here and Cloud 19. One of them was named Billboard “Year’s first great R&B album.” You Should be Here also received a Grammy nomination for the Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2016.
Kehlani’s sudden success was “a complete 180,” the artist often said. Kehlani recently released her debut album SweetSexySavage.
The rising star is commonly compared to other musicians such as Jhéne Aiko, Frank Ocean, Tinashe, and Bryson Tiller.
Here are three reasons how Kehlani is rising to the top in the R&B category.
1. Promo is everything.
After releasing her mixtape, Kehlani received up to a million plays on SoundCloud in 24 hours. The artist posted her music on a bunch of music platforms to gain exposure. Additionally, Kehlani also quickly went on tour to promote her music.
Once given an opportunity, don’t wait around! Fast and effective promotion is everything.
Here is an audio of Kehlani’s new song, “Personal.”
2. She writes everything herself.
A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that Kehlani writes her own lyrics, and she composes her own songs. Her album is truly her own work. In an interview with Complex Magazine, the artist explains she wants her personality to translate precisely to her music. Her debut album, SweetSexySavage, is a mix of strong R&B rhythms paired with Kehlani’s blues, contemporary vocal.
Whether you’re a singer/songwriter or an R&B artist, don’t be afraid to make your own calls. Only you can create your own best product.
Here is a video of Kehlani’s new song, “CRZY.”
3. She collaborates with other artists to gain exposure.
Kehlani’s debut mixtape You Should be Here features guest appearances from Chance the Rapper, BJ the Chicago Kid, Coucheron, and Lexii Alijai. By collaborating with other musicians, Kehlani can quickly gain exposure and increase her fan base.
Here is a video of Kehlani’s song “The Way,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Considering her young age, Kehlani is dominating the R&B category. Her authentic and original music make her an artist to look out for. The ambitious musician hopes to win a Grammy in three years’ time.
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Weng Cheong is a Psychology and International Relations double major at Syracuse University. She loves to listen to music, take photographs, and travel in her spare time.