Kehlani is one of the most popular female recording artists today. Kehlani was born on April 24th 24, 1995, in Oakland, California. She began her career as a member of Poplyfe, a teen group formed in 2011 for American Idol’s Season 10 (in which they finished 8th place). Taking influences from such legends as Aaliyah and Beyoncé, Kehlani first began releasing cover songs online in 2012, eventually releasing cover songs on YouTube alongside original tracks before releasing her first official mixtape Cloud 19 through Atlantic Records in 2014. The album was well-received, earning her the “Rookie of the Year” title at the BET Awards. Popularity continued to grow as she released other singles, including “Escape,” featuring rapper Gucci Mane and “You Should Be Here” (which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album). Following this success, Kehlani dropped her debut studio album, SweetSexySavage, on January 27th7th, 2017, which debuted #3 on Billboard 200 and was certified gold by RIAA in May 2017. Kehlani continues to grow as an artist and collaborate with other music artists. She has established herself as an indie-pop artist, but her recent collaborations show that she moves further towards mainstream pop while retaining her unique sound and style. Apart from having a forthright, famous career, she has graced us with many well-known and popular songs in her relatively short career.
10. CRZY (2017)
Kehlani’s 2017 song “CRZY” is a bold anthem for Kehlani’s fans who feel they can do anything. The song encourages her listener never to give up and keep pushing on, even when things seem rough. Penned by Ari Levine, Andrew Swanson, Brittany Hazzard, and Kehlani herself, the song speaks of a woman who has overcome past obstacles in her life.
9. Gangster (2016)
In 2016, Kehlani released a single titled “Gangsta,” which became her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 hit. The lead single from her debut studio album You Should Be Here was written by Jhene Aiko and produced by & Oak. She references her previous relationship with NBA player Kyrie Irving in the song. She sings about how she isn’t perfect but is still willing to try for a new love interest.
8. The Way feat. Chance The Rapper (2015)
Kehlani’s 2015 single “The Way” earns its spot on this list because of its incredible success despite being utterly different from any other music released in the pop genre at the time. Collaboration with American rapper Chance the Rapper, “The Way” was written by Kehlani alongside Christopher Brown and James Fauntleroy, while Jahaan Sweet handled production. It peaked at #10 on Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first single to hit the Top 10. The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2016 BET Awards and won Teen Choice Award for Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song in 2016. Kehlani released a live performance music video, her most viewed YouTube video with over 100 million views.
7. Did I (2015)
“Did I” is an impressive pop jam from Kehlani’s debut album, “You Should Be Here.” Produced by Pop & Oak, “Did I” is a lively, upbeat anthem that encourages people to love themselves despite their mistakes and flaws. It was nominated for Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance in 2017. It received nominations at the BET Awards, including Video of the Year, R&B/Soul Single of the Year, and Collaboration of the Year.
6. Good Thing – Zedd feat Kehlani (2021)
Kehlani’s collaboration with Russian-German record producer Zedd, released April 11th1th, 2019, as a single from Zedd’s upcoming album “Wesołe Nuty” is a perfect example of how far she has come since her first studio album, You Should be Here. In the song, Kehlani sings about how good it is to have someone stand by you through all your ups and downs in relationships. It speaks of being open and vulnerable to love. The song is in the pop genre but also includes elements of R&B.
5. Done For Me (2018)
Charlie Puth’s “Done for Me,” featuring Kehlani, is an upbeat indie-pop song released as the first single of his upcoming album Voicenotes. The song describes a couple who are dysfunctional initially but come to realize they complete each other. It is about how love can change even the most broken people and help them become whole again.
4. FWU (2014)
Kehlani’s 2014 song Fwu is one of her multiple intro tracks, which she has used throughout her career to introduce herself as an artist with something unique to say through music. The song speaks of commitment and loyalty in her relationship with someone special. If you don’t know much about Kehlani, Fwu is a great song to start your journey with her.
3. Get Away (2014)
“Get Away” is one of the introduction songs on Kehlani’s debut album You Should Be Here, which talks about being brave enough to open your heart up to love despite the fear of getting hurt again. The song was re-released in 2018 as part of Kehlani’s mixtape “While We Wait,” which included four additional tracks, including “Nights Like This.” It’s a perfect song for anyone who’s having a tough time getting over their ex.
2. Distraction (2017)
Kehlani’s 2017 R&B Pop single “Distraction,” tells her lover not to be scared of loving her – take a risk before it’s too late. It encourages one to follow their hearts rather than what others think or say. “Distraction” was nominated for Best R&B Performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards. It peaked at #7 on US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Kehlani’s first single to enter the Top 10 on that chart.
1. ANTISUMMERLUV (2013)
ANTISUMMERLUV is Kehlani’s first track that she released on SoundCloud. It was her introduction to her music career. The song reminds her not to fall for the distractions during summertime and instead take it slow until she finds something worth holding onto. The song speaks about saving oneself from falling into a temporary relationship and serves as a prelude to her future songs, which deals with finding someone who is meant to be yours forever.
Kehlani burst onto the music scene in 2014 with her debut mixtape Cloud 19 and was quickly recognized for her talented, powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Her music is very relatable and fun to listen to. A lot of her songs talk about self-love, dating, and relationships with men and women, which makes them even more special in a time when music is filled with love. As she continues to grow and develop as an artist, the world is anticipating the release of her next album, which will be sure to inspire.