The audience wasn’t what I had expected at Kehlani. Its the kind of crowd who wouldn’t give a damn about Peter Dunne resigning or probably even old enough to vote.
Cowering in the background making sure I wasn’t outed out for my political or musical convictions, I enjoyed the concert with a small group of revellers happy to ‘bump n grind’ with this stranger.
Sure, she is one of R&B’s hottest properties at the moment. Her defining soulful vibe onside with artists like rapper G-Eazy, plus attracting the attention of producers worldwide. She strutted onstage, bopping along to Keep On, flanked by her dancers either side of her, while her drummer, DJ & key player killed it ensuring the unimpeded flow carried to the audience. Shit – even I knew this song.
Pacing the stage in her rainbow coloured PRIDE sweater dress, the petite singer had time to chat to the crowd who had their phones high in the air, a right little IG nation. The audience reciprocated singing her lyrics as she encouraged the boisterous crowd to “ Keep it up”. At one stage she shared about being “Her first time in New Zealand,” and explaining the similarities of where she was from in ‘Oakland’ similar to sounding like ‘Auckland’ in her Californian drawl.
She shared a lot from the stage, imploring fans,” The most important thing is to look after yourself.” But it was her music driving the packed crowd into a frenzy as she peeled off a more than generous set comprising of earlier songs to her latest release SweetSexySavage. At one stage she came out donning a green trench coat and got ‘personal’ about her life, offering ‘pearls of wisdom’ as she touched on Too Much, Advice and other songs that sounded every bit as good live.
It was treat to have her in New Zealand, so many times R&B artists overlook us in favour of ‘big brother ‘Australia, however her songs and message really cut through, the crowd enjoying themselves. So it wasn’t my cuppa but I surprised myself how many of her songs I knew. Her sassy athleticism and onstage antics lending themselves to a great night out. Good to see also after her attempted suicide last year she has bounced back and only eager to impart learnings to her fans. With New Zealand’s dismal record in this area, that alone should be applauded.