INTERVIEW: Kehlani Talks Debut Album 'SWEETSEXYSAVAGE'
By Isha Thorpe
January 27, 2017
From the first time we heard Kehlani’s music, we were hooked. The 21-year-old songstress has been blessing our eardrums with timeless projects for a couple of years now and we still wait on the edge of our seats for the next thing that she has up her tatted sleeve.
Kehlani released her first mixtape, Cloud 19, in 2014. This was followed by You Should Be Here, which was released in 2015. Since then, more and more have been taking heed of this rising star. The proof is in the pudding. The artist’s 2015 mixtape peaked on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart of that year. The project even scored her a 2016 Grammy nomination for “Best Urban Contemporary Album.”
Fast forward to 2017 and Kehlani is ready to turn the music world on its head, once again, with the newly launched SWEETSEXYSAVAGE. The new project features 17 tracks -- with two bonus songs in the album's deluxe edition. Furthermore, Kehlani is about to venture off on her SWEETSEXYSAVAGE World Tour in support of her new work. This tour kicks off on Feb. 21 in Montréal, Canada.
iHeartRadio had the opportunity to chop it up with the singer/songwriter about the album. During the discussion, Kehlani speaks about the inspiration behind some of her songs, the emotions she felt while recording the project, how she wants her fans to feel when listening to it, and much more. And if you're already excited about the new album, as much as we are, you can buy it here.
Check out iHeartRadio’s interview with Kehlani about SWEETSEXYSAVAGE below.
What was the process of recording SWEETSEXYSAVAGE like?
The process of recording SWEETSEXYSAVAGE was definitely stressful because I had to take a two-month break in between it, and had to kind of re-teach myself the creative process.
“CRZY,” “Advice,” “Distraction,” and “Undercover” are some of the first songs that you’ve released from your new project. Why did you lead with these tracks? What messages do they say that you feel like you needed to let the public hear first?
I led with the tracks “Crazy Advice,” “Distraction,” and “Under Cover” because I felt like they were fun and they'd bring a lot of attention that I didn't necessarily get from my main fan base, which is kind of there for the more inspirational viby-er stuff. I felt like I could bring in new fun, and excited fans with those tracks.
How does SWEETSEXYSAVAGE show the evolution from your previously released two mixtapes?
SWEETSEXYSAVAGE shows my evolution of just wanting to be happy, wanting to have to fun and less dwelling on a bunch of negative stuff, which is why the album isn’t necessarily sad, or in that kind of place. It's all very happy because I just wanted be in that place myself. So, that's how it came out like that.
Are there any songs on the album that you’re hesitant or nervous about people listening to?
Not really. I think [with] “Do You Dirty,” I was nervous at first just for people to hear me be that honest in such a crazy way. But, I don't really get nervous about people hearing about all sides of me anymore.
What do you want your fans to take away from this album? What’s your goal for SWEETSEXYSAVAGE?
I want my fans to take away that I wanted to have a lot of fun and that I really wanted to be happy with this album. The album came out after a rough time and I didn't want to necessarily think about or keep myself in a bad place. I think as artists who write their music, you realize that every time you perform a song, or sing a song again, you get put back into that same vibe over and over and over again. I didn't want to make anything negative that every time I perform it, I get upset, or every time I have to hear it somewhere I get upset again. Really, I just wanted to propel myself forward only in positivity.
SWEETSEXYSAVAGE reminds us of TLC’s CRAZYSEXYCOOL album title. Did you get any musical inspiration from them, while making this?
I definitely got inspiration from that title. But, what I tried to get across [was that] everybody in TLC was all of the above at the same time. It wasn't that just one's crazy, one's sexy, one's cool. To me, they were all three: crazy, sexy, and cool. And for me; all women are sweet, sexy, savage, smart, important, crazy, sexy, cool; all at the same time. It's just about not just separating being three different things.
If you could describe your new album in three words, what would they be?