If you’ve never been surfing before, the smooth, sexy, and soulful voice of Kehlani will certainly take you on your first ride.
Last night, the “How That Taste” singer had the Big Apple wrapped around her finger during her You Should Be Here Tour stop, and this was even hours before she hit the Highline Ballroom stage. With booming screams and chants calling her name pounding the surrounding walls of the venue, fans couldn’t contain their energy as they anticipated Kehlani coming out to the crowd.
As the DJ played a slew of today’s top turn-up hits, the audience became antsy, knowing that the real show would start at any minute. Suddenly, the music cut off, and we heard her voice.
Pulling the commentary from her “Intro” track on new mixtape You Should Be Here, smoke filled the stage, and a female figure appeared in the mist. Her back turned to the crowd, the title track began to play – the title of which is also sewn onto the back of her jacket – following the sweet sounds of Kehlani’s vocals.
The pulsing hook sent fans through the roof with excitement, setting the tone for the rest of the near-90-minute packed set list. For those who hopped on Kehlani’s “tsunami wave” after the release of this year’s mixtape, they were not left out.
The Bay Area crooner jumped right into some of her mixtape hits, such as “Wanted,” “Jealous,” “Yet,” and the outstanding fan base favorite, “How That Taste.” It wasn’t just a show catered to her new followers, however, as she made sure to take it back to her Cloud 19 tape with the sounds of “Deserve Better,” and “Tell Your Mama.”
Getting the crowd into hype mode, Kehlani did a dance off to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” transitioning right into her own sampled track “How We Do Us.”
Following a brief intermission, the queen of the evening soon reemerged through more smoke, but this time, the vibe was slowed down. It was time for Kehlani to show us the true talent within her vocals.
While some of her slower love songs touched our hearts, the first piano keys of “The Letter” definitely brought on the tears. Upon first listen, many would believe it to be a breakup track, but hearing the song live, it quickly becomes apparent that the pain it truly represents is an ode to her mother, who struggled with drug addiction throughout her life. This is the moment that new listeners, new fans, and members of her Tsunami wave truly start to understand Kehlani’s depth.
It isn’t long before the vibe went from teary-eyed to turn-up, as Kehlani broke the ice with her happy love track “Unconditional,” complete with hip-shaking dance moves and skips across the stage. Self-love was a prominent theme of the night, and Kehlani is going to make sure it sticks with this generation.
Fans and social media followers have created the nickname Baelani for the singer in the last year, as she has quickly become tons of people’s #WomanCrushWednesday choices. With her performance of “The Way,” minus Chance The Rapper, we saw that alter-ego come to life.
With tons of whining, chair dancing, and hip movement that female artists will be lining up to get lessons for, Kehlani proves that she can bring the sex appeal just as much as her trap music-loving tomboy self brings the grit.
The wows of the crowd spread like wildfire throughout the venue, as K geared up to close the show with her hype track “FWU.”
Just when fans thought the show was over, Kehlani performed “Alive,” recruiting her DJ, keyboardist, and dancers to encourage the crowd to let loose one last time before the curtains closed. It was the perfect ending to a night of self-love, empathy, and overall R&B bliss. The Kehlani Tsunami is just starting to make its real impact.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram