By Tia Williams
This term, Xtreme Radio is proud to present our featured presenter reviews. Each week, a new presenter will show their music taste through an album review and a featured artist article. In this piece, Tia praises the talents of R&B singer Kehlani.
R&B thrives on relatability and good story-telling, and few people do this better than Kehlani Parish, or “Kehlani” for short.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Kehlani’s talents first became known to wider audiences when at 14 she joined a band of fresh-faced teens confidently named Poplyfe. They came fourth in the show, sadly missing out on that sweet prize money but she was left with this parting advice from the judges – do it on your own and become a solo artist. Fast forward 6 years and she’s written and produced 2 mixtapes and an album, with “You Should Be Here” nominated for Best Urban Contemporary – Grammy Award.
SweetSexySavage was her first debut album released in 2017 and features 19 tracks in total. The theme of the album is centred on her love life and the difficulties of being in and out of a relationship. “CRZY” is a pop-y carefree track so infectious it’d be a sin not to place it on your prees playlist. ”Are you down to be a distraction, baby?/But don’t distract me, let me ask you, baby” is line taken from “Distraction” where Kehlani finds herself wanting to escape with someone from time to time but draw too much of her attention – flirty but true to her brand. “Gangsta” was created for the Suicide Squad movie soundtrack” and is her most widely acclaimed thug-love single with a deep sensual tone and a chorus that will leave you SHOOK.
But my all-time favourite is definitely “Honey”. Kehlani’s melodic voice shines through as always but with only an acoustic guitar to accompany you really get a real sense of who she is as an artist and what she’s trying to achieve through music. “I like my girls just like I like my honey; sweet/A little selfish” A romantic confession. She is honest about her feelings towards women and reflective of past relationships, not allowing herself to wallow in regret but grow to be a more easy-going, “charming” character. Live in the moment and tell that girl you like her is the message to take away from this lesbian anthem.
If you like SZA, Frank Ocean, or even Destiny’s Child, you should give Kehlani and listen- I’m certain you’ll enjoy it.
Listen on Spotify and Soundcloud to show your support.
Tia Williams is a first year in Medical Engineering, and presents a show on Xtreme between 2 and 4 on a Tuesday afternoon.