If I were to ask you who you consider to be the top female artists in music today, I can bet one million dollars that the top three answers would be Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. Granted, their talent speaks for itself, but in all honesty, we need to include this one female in the conversation, a woman I claim to be the new “Princess of R&B,” Ms. Kehlani Ashley Parrish!
Being the tender age of twenty five, Kehlani has been a trailblazer for this new generation. Stepping on necks as a solo artist since 2014 with her mixtape, Cloud 19, Kehlani has proved to be a consistent, yet timeless artist who makes you resonate with every song/album she releases. Anything she is featured on instantly becomes a hit, hence there being a reason artists are contacting her directly for a feature. If you seem to disagree, look at the roster she has collaborated with in her short amount of time in the industry. These include but are not limited to: Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, Eminem, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber, Teyana Taylor and Megan Thee Stallion.
In January 2017, Kehlani released her first highly anticipated studio album SweetSexySavage, a nod to TLC’s CrazySexyCool might I add, debuting at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart and is certified Gold. Jessica McKinney, an editor for Vibe.com, eloquently said, “SSS solidifies her place as a true force to reckon with in the new R&B category.” This album single-handedly proved that Kehlani has arrived and she has no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. She then followed up with an EP entitled While We Wait in anticipation for her sophomore album, which would later be named It Was Good Until It Wasn’t.
Debuting on May 8, 2020 at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, IWGUIW became Kehlani’s second US top five debut, as well as her biggest debut to date. She also claimed the number one spot on the R&B album charts, rightfully so. The theme of the album represents the external war of needs versus wants, as well as the combination of the push and pull in any relationship. If you’ve ever been in a relationship that didn’t work out – or in retrospect, dealing with the pandemic going on around us forcing us to find new ways of connection during a period of disconnect – you can relate to this album from top to bottom. There’s a vulnerability there that really allows Kehlani to showcase her range, and yet, still take her listeners on a journey to another place in their mind during a time of so much uncertainty.
Kehlani may only be ten years in the music game, but she definitely has a lot more to say and will not be held back by any obstacles that may stand in her way. She provides a voice for those who typically “don’t fit in” and promotes the idea that it is okay to be different and still succeed in this world. I predict a long career for Ms. Parrish and I know she will break records during her time. So next time when someone ask “who’s the top female artist in the industry today?” make sure that Kehlani is included in that conversation!