Kehlani: Oakland’s Troubled Urban Queen
A Talented Jewel on the Precipice of Disaster
Alongside sport, music is one of the most prominent and enjoyable facets of my life. As such I felt it was only right to include a regular piece, hereby known as 6 Songs and a Story, on artists, producers and musicians of all shapes and sizes.
Please note, these pieces are not intended to be published as a ‘oh hey look guys I have discovered this person or group of people you have never heard of before’ I am not trying to paint myself as a musical soothsayer.
These spotlights are on artists whose music I particularly like, some may be emerging and some may be established but that’s not the point. The point is the music they are creating and as such I will slip in a link to a relevant playlist at the article’s end.
Having began her musical career as a member of a teen pop group known as PopLyfe, Kehlani Parrish entered the public consciousness as a finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2011.
Unfortunately, PopLyfe failed to take the title however talent-show judge extraordinaire Piers Morgan (just take a second to think about that, Piers Morgan, was a judge on one of America’s highest rated shows…) predicted success in her future, sadly for PopLyfe it was as a solo artist.
America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon saw something special in Kehlani. He attempted to get her to link up with a rap group looking for an additional member but Kehlani felt she wanted to go in a different direction.
Not to be deterred, Cannon flew her to LA in 2014 and arranged for her to have some solo studio time. This would really be the spark that launched her career as she went on to release 2 mixtapes (Cloud 19 and You Should Be Here) and open for G-Eazy on his 2015 tour.
It wasn’t long after the launch of her 2015 mixtape You Should Be Here (in fact it was only a week) that she was signed to Atlantic Records.
Away from music Kehlani has had a testing time. The overwhelming media attention she received as a the result of her relationship (and break up) with Cleveland Cavalier’s point guard Kyrie Irving earlier this year prompted her to try and take her own life.
Fortunately, for those of us who prefer to appreciate the music artists produce rather than picking apart their personal lives’, she seems to have managed to pull her self out of that dark place.
In the midst of all her success it is easy to forget she is only 21 and I hope that in this age of media saturation, her talent will not be extinguished by the smothering of a national media that doesn’t know when to stop.
So there was your story, now for the 6 songs.