The release of Kehlani's most recent mixtape, You Should Be Here has allowed the 20 year old singer/songwriter to attract the media attention and support she's been working at for years. Critics consider YSBH to be one of the top R&B albums of 2015 thus far, and it isn't even an official album... Fans permanently express their appreciation with "You Should Be Here" tattoos... And some of the most diverse crowds of people have been lining up for hours, night after night, to attend a show of the YSBH Tour this summer. Lucky for us, we were a part of the crowd when Kehlani and the Tsunami Mob made their stop at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on July 15th. Whether with friends, a significant other, a family member, or alone... Everyone in attendance seemed to be equally excited to be there.
The opening acts of the Philly show were three great performances by Ambre Perkins, Chynna Rogers, and Pell — a lineup that proved how being a self-made artist is the coolest wave to be on in the music industry. Their unique approaches exemplify that if you can dream it, you can plan it, create it, and showcase it... Regardless of how old you are or how many people believe in your vision.
Kehlani's squad consists of young, raw talent from all different creative areas. Photographers/Videographers, Brianna Alysse and David Camarena, capture moments from their inside POV and provide high-quality footage of performances, behind the scenes, and the tour lifestyle... DJ Noodles/Micah, keeps the crowd hype before the show and in between breaks with her mixes on the turn tables... Dancers, Effie and Yanelis, are key to an official performance (after all, what's an R&B Princess without her girls?)... And Kehlani + her Musical Director/Producer, Jahaan Sweet, are a fresh dynamic duo; they've been making magic together since her first mixtape, Cloud 19.
All of these elements combined made the YSBH Tour a night we won't ever forget. Despite being under the weather with a fever, Kehlani held it down throughout her entire performance. Her set list was exactly what we all hoped it would be with everything from "Raw and True," to "Till the Morning," and finishing the show off with "Alive." Committed fans (ahem, totally me) sang every word to every song the same as we do when looping our Kehlani playlists at home... And by the end of the night, everyone in the venue realized how we're not alone in what we feel.
Music has a power to connect us to complete strangers; it has the power to make us feel like we're best friends with a person we've never even met... And this power shouldn't be underestimated or taken for granted. Kehlani chooses to use the power of music for a purpose that is bigger than herself. It's her dream and it's what she loves to do, but it is received by different people all over as well — it means something to us. Whether it's a song to dance to, to dedicate to our ex-fuckboylameassnigga-boyfriends, to sing to our mothers, or to just listen to when we feel like no one else understands us... It holds a very special value in our lives.
Kehlani is changing the way women making music look and the way they do it... From her style of dress to her snapchat stories; it's no doubt that she is one of a kind and a true artist on her way to greatness. You should listen, you should support, and You Should Be Here.
[these things take time.] the poetry book available on amazon.com.