American singer-songwriter Kehlani joins Dotty on The Dotty Show on Apple Music 1 to talk about her second album ‘CRASH’, writing about women and how her audiences have reacted to the change. She also talks if she feels the weight of the importance she holds within the queer community, using her platform to speak out about world issues and she also discusses people thinking she should be a bigger artist.

Kehlani talks writing songs about women…

I think the funniest and biggest difference was working with the writers that I work with and being like, “Stop writing this for me like I’m writing about boys.” We’re coming up with lines together. And then they say something, and I was like, “No, no, I have to say it like this.” So then we’re reformulating all these songs together, and I’m like, “You see?” And they’re like, “Ah, okay,” because there are different structures that people take. But as far as the freeing aspect, in my mind, I could have written these songs about boys in the SweetSexySavage days. In my opinion, this sounds like an elevated version of my first album. And it’s not that different in the level of explicitly, I’ve always been explicit. I’ve always been as chaotic as I’ve been, and trifling and maybe a little toxic in the lyrics and very honest, but obviously I’m just singing about my actual life.

I also realised that was something I had to remember when the album was coming out. There’s women who want me to sing about men, and they don’t want to sing along anymore. They don’t want to listen because they can’t relate. Then there’s men who want to hear a woman sing about them and they can’t relate anymore. So I already knew my kind of community of listeners was shaping in this very specific kind of way based on how drastic everything was changing. But to me, I’m just happy I don’t have to change the lyrics on stage. Because performing old music now, I have to change all the lyrics on stage or else it’s kind of uncomfortable to sing. So now I get a whole album of that’s just like, yep, this is exactly what it is. I don’t got to touch it.

Kehlani talks feeling the importance she holds in the queer community…

I feel more of a weight on my personhood in the communities that I represent by just making sure that where I stand, who I am, the things I align myself with are more in line. As far as the music, I don’t feel the pressure because I feel like queers are really fun and they’ll just be with whatever I say, but I definitely feel the pressure to represent in the way that I represent and just sure that I’m coming correct and I’m coming in a good, genuine, honest way.

Kehlani discusses speaking out about world issues…

I was raised with the understanding that if you have a platform, if you have any amount of eyes, you use it to turn those eyes to something that needs more eyes. It’s super simple to me. And there was a time, maybe three or four years ago, where a friend of mine asked me to speak about Palestine, and I was just simply not aware.

I did speak and the amount of Zionist’s that came out of the cuts to be like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I deleted the post. When the genocide started, I said, “This can never happen again. I can never be shied out of or use the excuse that I didn’t know enough or I wasn’t educated.” So I did my due diligence, got educated, and then was like, “I just can’t let that happen to me again.” Because I saw how important it was to the people that did appreciate my posts.

So I definitely feel like it’s a duty and I don’t really have a soft temperament with that. I do feel like everybody with a platform is responsible. The only reason we survive and we thrive in industries is because of the people. So when the people turn around and ask us to give back and to look back and we can’t do that, it doesn’t make any sense.

Kehlani discusses people thinking she should be a bigger artist…

I don’t know what they mean by bigger. It’s another one of those conversations of like, I know too much. The amount of rooms I would despise being in because they don’t align with me. Or the conversations where I wouldn’t be able to hold my tongue. Or the moments where I’m like, “This shit is crazy. You all don’t think this is crazy?” And I wouldn’t be able to do that. I have been invited to things, I got dressed, I said, “You know what? This is going to be the time. I’m just going to get in the car and I’m just going to go.” And I get halfway to the thing. And I was like, “Yeah, it just doesn’t feel like me. I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I’m into it. I don’t align with it. I just learned too much about this. I can’t.”

And then you get online and it’s like, “Kehlani doesn’t get invited to da da da da da, so she’s da, da, da, da.” And I’m like, “Oh.” It’s so interesting how different the perspective is. And that’s not to say that I get invited to everything because I don’t. I am in a very interesting spot where I have a really core fan base and it has been a little hard to get over that hurdle if there’s a next level that needs to be reached. But my tours get bigger every time, more people come out. The albums, they do what they do. And I have fun, and that’s what I prioritise.


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