Kehlani burst onto the national stage as a member of the teenage group Poplyfe, which was formed mostly of students at Oakland School for the Arts, based at the California city’s historic Fox Theatre. That group went deep into the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2011 and Kehlani has continued her ascent since.

She released a pair of mixtapes, Cloud 19 and You Should Be Here, in 2014 and 2015, the first of which immediately caught the attention of ICM’s Caroline Yim.


Photo: John Davisson

John Davisson

“I heard ‘Get Away’ and I was hooked from that first song,” Yim told Pollstar. “It was a mission to find her. … It took me a month or two to actually get the right contacts. … I thought it would be easier to find her, but it wasn’t (laughs).”

A true throwback to the likes of Monica, Brandy and Aaliyah, Kehlani is the real deal when it comes to dance moves, musical instincts and her connection with fans, Yim said.

“She allows herself to be vulnerable,” Yim said. “She opens up and is not afraid to show her audience and her fans what she’s been through and what she goes through. … It’s so genuine.”


Photo: Scott Legato /


Like her R&B forerunners, Kehlani hit big radio success early. She got her name out with tracks like “Distraction” and “CRZY” off her 2017 studio debut, SweetSexySavage, and had a bona fide hit with the dark anthem “Gangsta” off the “Suicide Squad” soundtrack.

Now the songstress is seeking to make a name for herself on the road. 

Kehlani played Coachella in April and is in the middle of a world tour routed through North America, Asia and Australia, with some make-up dates in Europe to be announced soon, as unexpected surgery forced her to do some rescheduling.

The venues on the menu range from 750 – to 3,000 – capacity rooms and festivals include FYF in Los Angeles; Summer Sonic in Osaka, Japan; and Corona Capital in Mexico City.