By Kallan Louis
May 31, 2017
Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani and her SweetSexySavage world tour, named after her debut album, made a stop at the Fillmore Charlotte Memorial Day Weekend. Considered by some in the industry as one of the top young artists to watch, 22-year-old Kehlani earned quite a following with the release of her mixtapes Cloud 19 and You Should Be Here. The world tour has helped her promote her debut album that was released in January.
It didn’t matter what song she performed that evening, the mostly young female crowd screamed as soon they heard the beat to any track and they sang along to hits including “Distraction,” “Down for You,” “Gangsta,” “The Way” and “CRZY.” The former America’s Got Talent contestant didn’t show signs of rust. Her crop top exposed her abs as she body rolled and gyrated her hips alongside two background dancers. She utilized the stage to the fullest, at one point going into the crowd because she felt like she could not see fans to her left.
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The key take away from the show came from the candid conversations the Oakland native shared throughout her set. She occasionally stopped her show with inspiring words to her fans, women, particularly those in volatile relationships, and members of the LGTBQ community. She talked about mental health and made a plea for the everyone to make themselves a priority. Mental health is a topic she knows well firsthand. In 2016, rumors of infidelity to her then boyfriend, NBA star Kyrie Irving, with ex-boyfriend singer PartyNextDoor, led her to attempt suicide.
Additionally, she requested that fans at every stop on her tour bring donations to local shelters for those in need.
Kehlani brought an international flair by adding Toronto’s Jahkoy and London’s Ella Mai to the tour. JahKoy opened the concert rocking a Carolina Blue Cam Newton jersey during his brief set. He crooned the audience with “No Regrets” before performing his hit “California Heaven.” Former X-Factor contestant Ella Mai became a viral sensation with her renditions of hit songs, including Kehlani’s “The Way” on Instagram. DJ Mustard saw one of these videos and the rest was history. Dressed in loose fitting and baggy clothes, Ella Mai had a comfy, girl-next-door look with a ‘90s R&B sound. Similarly, her lyrics on tracks like “Boo’d Up” and “She Don’t” are reminiscent to the golden age of R&B.
We have witnessed the popularity of R&B diminish over the years as the lines between hip-hop continue to blur. Young acts like Kehlani, Ella Mai and Jahkoy have the potential to shape the genre and help define its future for years to come.
The North American leg of the SweetSexySavage tour wraps up in July.
Check out the remaining 2017 Kehlani tour dates.