R&B singer/songwriter %cKehlani% was born on April 24, 1995 as Kehlani Ashley Parrish. Born to a unique mix of ethnicity such as African-American, Caucasian, Native American, Spanish and Filipino-Native American, Kehlani was raised by her aunt because her father died when she was infant while her mother was in and out of prison. Kehlani's early music was influenced by Neo Soul and R&B artists her auntie used to play, including %cLauryn Hill%, %cErykah Badu% and %cJill Scott%. Kehlani grew up in Oakland, California and attended the Oakland School of the Arts where she studied ballet and modern dance.
But a knee injury stopped her from building a career as ballerina. She was moved to OSA's music department, where she started to focus on music. At the age of 14, she was recruited as the vocalist of a local band, PopLyfe. In 2011, the band competed on talent-search competition "America's Got Talent", but they only finished in the fourth place. During their final appearance, judge %cPiers Morgan% told Kehlani, "You've got real talent, but I don't think you need the group." At the end of "America's Got Talent", Kehlani left the band because of several managerial and contractual dispute.
In 2012 and 2013, Kehlani was homeless, moving from house to house and often sleeping on couches. "I went through a lot of growing up, being on the streets, being homeless, moving around, crib to crib to crib. Just trying to graduate high school. Then %cNick Cannon% called me," said Kehlani, recalling her unpleasant memory. In 2013, Nick Cannon, the host of "America's Got Talent", asked Kehlani about being in a rap group. She agreed at first and went to Los Angeles, but then she didn't like the direction of the group. As she moved back to Oakland, she began stealing items from grocery stores to continue her life. Months later, Kehlani released her first solo track on SoundCloud titled "ANTISUMMERLUV". Cannon called her back after hearing the song and he bought Kehlani an apartment in L.A.
Cannon slowly built her way to where she is now. He sent Kehlani to New York City to work with record producer Jahaan Sweet. Months later, she returned to L.A. to finish her "Cloud 19" mixtape. On August 26, 2014, she released the mixtape, which features guest appearances from %cKyle Dion% and %cIAMSU!%. In October 2014, Kehlani unleashed R&B-pop track "Till the Morning", which was named one of Billboard's "Emerging Picks of the Week" in November.
In April 2015, Kehlani released her second mixtape "%cYou Should Be Here%". It features guest appearances from %cChance the Rapper% and %cBJ the Chicago Kid%. Mixed by Joe Fitzgerald, the mixtape debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard 200 chart. In support of the mixtape, Kehlani embarked on "You Should Be Here" tour, which sold out in every North American date and selected European dates. The 3-track mixtape received a nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 58th annual Grammy Awards.
In 2016, Kehlani collaborated with fellow singer/songwriter %cZayn Malik% on the track "Wrong" off his debut solo album "Mind of Mine", which was released on March 25, 2016. On November 26, 2016, Kehlani revealed that her debut album would be called "SweetSexySavage". "CRZY" was released on July 15, 2016 as the lead single of the album and it peaked at No. 85 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Distraction" was released on July 23, 2016 and its accompanying video received over 2 million views in one day on YouTube. Kehlani premiered the third single "Advice" on December 1, 2016 on Zane Lowe's "Beats 1" show, while the fourth single "Undercover" was premiered on January 5, 2017 on the same show.
On January 13, 2017, "Do u Dirty" was released as the album's first promotional single. The 17-track album is expected to be released on January 27, 2017 by Atlantic Records.