The day I discovered Kehlani, I had come across the SoundCloud link for Cloud 19. I thought the cover art was fire, struggled a few seconds of whether or not I was pronouncing her name correctly and after being mildly satisfied with my verdict, I decided to click play.
I didn't know that this mixtape was going to get me through high school. Or, that with this first project, I was witnessing the beginning of a superstar in the making.
When I first fall in love with an artist, it's like a first date. I want to find out everything about them. After my thorough research of reading and watching countless interviews and videos, I was left in awe that she was a queer artist who was open to her lyrics being about women. At only 19, she already was changing the set image that the industry has of female R&B singers.
The deeper I went into finding out about her, I learned about her story of losing her father, being raised by her aunt after her mother went back to jail after giving birth and her being homeless at a point. What she had went through in such a short span of time at such an early age would give her reason to be mad at the world. But, she transformed her pain into music.
Seeing someone so close to my age that had also experienced emotional trauma and had to grow up fast was the representation that I needed. I was able to see God make room for light in her dark times and I became hopeful that it was possible for Him to do the same for me. Her story heightened my faith that my struggles weren't permanent and God was working in my life, but I just had to be patient to see His glory.
As a fan of Kehlani's I've been able to not only follow her journey and growth as an artist, but her spiritual growth. I've watched her go through a rebirth and finally be set free from emotional bondages of the world and accept who she is through her music. From the young girl yearning for reciprocated love in "As I Am" to a fearless woman that knows she's more than enough in "Too Much".
She's an inspiration for people like me that struggle with insecurities and being confident by being an example of what it looks like to accept things that can't change, finally feel comfortable in your own skin and know the true meaning of self-love. She also serves a role model for all ages by using her platform to always spread words of wisdom, positivity and speak out on issues going on in the world.
In her 23 years of life, Kehlani has fought through hell and back to not let anyone stop what she was called on this Earth to do which is encourage and heal her fans and herself through her music. Her work ethic and grind never fails to amaze me and I can't wait to see what else she has to offer the world.