• Jennifer Universe

Kehlani is raw and true in a scene that’s often not.

As I try to draw a comparison, because that’s how our brains are wired, I’m stuck. I can’t. Kehlani is one of a kind. Her energy and aura are unique to the core, and also found in the the crowd. Cats at a Kehlani show are all so down for her and her crew. And the people she surrounds herself with seem to be just as authentic as she is. Maurice Moore and Ambré Perkins opened, followed by a DJ Noodles set where she played an array of hits, but stayed cool, calm and collected behind her setup. Joined by Jahaan, Kehlani’s go-to producer, the crowd waited patiently, intently, knowing the young songstress would soon appear.

Kehlani opened the sold out show with one of her biggest hits to date, You Should Be Here. She didn’t miss a beat and neither did the crowd. Her passion is infectious. And it’s fun. Her presence reminded me of my best friends who I wish I could have shared the experience with. OC was the last stop on her brief Tsunami Christmas tour, and I was happy to hear her call out LA for being lame at shows – because LA really does have a tendency to be smug and boring at shows. The crowd, however, reflected her demeanor and matched her enthusiasm.

For being new on the scene the vibe at a Kehlani show is thick with nostalgia. The 21 year old radiates confidence even through her uncertainty. You can taste both. At times, even she seems shocked that she’s where she’s at. She is genuine and grateful. And deserving of all that she’s accomplished and what’s to come. The set list included her 2015 mixtape, You Should Be Here, in its entirety. Jahaan and Noodles stayed on stage throughout the performance. Jahaan on the keys helped to elevate the mood and add depth to the already rich performance.

As alluded to in its promotion, Tsunami Christmas featured Kehlani & Friends. Throughout the two-hour set, Kehlani was joined by SZA, BELLY, BJ The Chicago Kid (note: go listen to his new mixtape – The Lost Files: Cuffing Season), Aminé and YG. The latter was definitely the best received. YG performed BPT, Why You Always Hatin’ and FDT.

A Kehlani show is my ideal version of a Saturday night. It is chill, but also very hyped. She connects genuinely with the audience and you can feel her vulnerability pulse through the venue as she performs wholeheartedly. Her allure and sensuality are contagious. Dance moves reminiscent of the 90s R&B scene paired perfectly with nearly every song. Kehlani slowed down only a few times for 1st Position, a short serenade of I Can Love You Better, and Tore Up.

Kehlani’s debut album, SweetSexySavage, is set to drop January 27, 2017. She’ll head out on her world tour mid-February, and trust you’ll regret it if you don’t go. Tour dates and pre-order here: http://kehlanimusic.com/sweetsexysavage/

She is a gem and I hope she never changes.

Set list

You Should Be Here

How That Taste




Who Run The World (Girls)


SZA - Child’s Play

Get Away

1st Position

I Can Love You Better

Tore Up



As I Am




The Way


Did I

AMINE - Caroline

YG - BPT, Why You Always Hatin’, FDT




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