8 Things to Know About Kehlani, R&B’s Current “It Girl”

"Our music should be who we are."

Kehlani Parrish is in an Uber trying to order Chick-Fil-A. She’s a month away from kicking off her tour in support of her 2015 mixtape, You Should Be Here — a collection of songs so good, even Billboard wants to call it an album.

The 19-year-old’s personality and voice first turned heads on the sixth season of America’s Got Talent as the frontwoman and only female member of Poplyfe. Following the show, the singer took judge Piers Morgan’s advice to shed the band and pursue music as a solo artist — she shed her last name, too.

Kehlani has since released two mixtapes, collaborated with Chance the Rapper and BJ the Chicago Kid, and blossomed into R&B’s current “it girl.” Scroll through the eight things you should know about Kehlani below, and check out her music here.

  1. Because her debut “album” is that good.

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    Billboard named Kehlani’s You Should Be Here project the “year’s first great R&B album.” Even though YSBH is a mixtape, Billboard is right. Rarely does someone barely out of her teens imbue a project with such confidence, and that’s what Kehlani did on YSBH.

  2. She can dance as well as she sings.

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    Kehlani fell in love with dance before she fell in love with music. Problems with her knee led the singer to stop dancing for a while, during which time she started singing, only to find out that she can do both equally well.

  3. She writes love songs about men AND women.

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    Kehlani is openly bisexual, and uses “he” and “she” interchangeably in her songs.

    “I didn’t put a song that had anything to do with homosexuality on You Should Be Here,” she says. “I felt like I put it out there on Cloud 19. Sometimes I don’t have any of those songs. Sometimes a lot of the songs will be about girls. Sometimes I make songs about girls and I say ’he’ or I’ll make songs about guys and I say ’she,’ or sometimes they’re exactly what they’re about. I feel like it just allows me to get a lot more perspective.”

1/2 Cartoon, 1/2 Beyhive.