Woman Crush Month is a month-long series by the girls of She Did What She Wanted
in celebration of Women’s History Month.
By Eva Baldo
In a time where our generation is constantly faced with discrimination and negativity, seeking an inspirational figure is in dire need. As a young woman entering a business and a world that is dominated by men, I seek an influence from a strong, independent, and a “SweetSexySavage.” My woman crush and influencer goes out to the one and only, Kehlani.
With her debut album release, I can’t help but realize how much of an impact this young woman has on me, how I want to live my life, and how I want to achieve goals within the music business. Kehlani Ashley Parrish is only 21 years old with extreme talent and words of wisdom. Her music isn’t just words and instruments or synths, but lyrics with heart and passion, advice, experience, and comfort and instrumentation with a movement, a flow, a personality and emotion of its own. Everything she sings is real and relatable, not in the corny way but the raw and honest way.
I remember listening to her second mixtape, You Should Be Here (which is now Grammy-nominated), on SoundCloud as I stumbled across it as I scoured the site in order to be that annoying person who can claim they discovered the next big thing to all their friends–I know, I hate me too–but, that mixtape was where she bared her soul and her Oakland roots to fans. She let them in on the personal life she was living post-America’s Got Talent and being in the group PopLyfe that started her career. She looks for answers in the situations she faces, the information in between the lines. I find myself questioning and trying to find answers where I can’t seem to grasp the truth, but as Kehlani reassures her audience it’ll “be alright” if you just go with the flow and stop looking so hard, the answers you want might not necessarily be there. She also faces her flaws and bluntly and confidently says what she wants, who she is, and what she expects from relationships. Sweet and sassy, a perfect description of the budding artist. Her ability to show the audience her vulnerable side while also giving a positive outlook on the hand of cards in life she was dealt is an inspiration to me. Throughout her mixtapes she includes personal calls with relatives and the sadness she faces being away from family, which I can relate to being a full-time student at Syracuse University. She has faced her luck and the events of her life with a smile and makes it into art, just like the great Carrie Fisher told us to – “Turn your broken heart into art.”
However cheesy it is, Kehlani’s lyrics about pledging loyalty to her man throughout her music really gets me–don’t make fun, I admit I’m a total fangirl. In our generation, it seems like a constant issue for people to truly be loyal and secure with who they’re with or even who they are as a person. The constant question is if “I’m down for you, are you down for me?” During the time I discovered this beautiful creature, I was in that awkward stage of boys and friends and my life was just a mess socially. Kehlani definitely helped me through that, made me think of value and that saying “quality over quantity” a lot heavier than in the past.
Every song touches on a problem one might face growing up, but there’s cases where it’s extremely detailed and personal to the artist, a true skill a great singer-songwriter has. When I write music (I’m a singer/songwriter too if you count the garbage I make as ~art~), I think of the Neo Soul-R&B that reveals so much about the artists, but delivers catchy, sing-able, heart wrenching, enjoyable music.
I had the pleasure of seeing Kehlani perform twice at SXSW of 2016. She was ah-maze-ing. Her energy and pure talent on stage was everything I would aspire to be in a live artist. I remember getting all my friends to come with me and seeing how moved they were with her performance. She’s basically a goddess, but it’s chill though. She also has killer dance moves that made me want to pop-lock and drop it alongside her.
After following her social media accounts and her journey through the music industry, this girl has some balls that we can all aspire to having. She is constantly on the hustle for making music, getting involved in the people she loves lives’, collaborating with brands and other artists, and just becoming an all around savage in the industry. Who wouldn’t want to have and create all the opportunities she has?
As I move forward in the industry I will definitely model my logic, my aspirations, and goals with Kehlani and her music in the back of my head.
Favorite Kehlani Tracks That Make Me Feel Some Typa Way (Listen Especially If You’re Having Boy Problems):
- “Not Used To It”
- “Get Like”
- “I Wanna Be”
- “Too Much”
- “In My Feelings”
Oldies But Goodies
- “Did I”
She Did What She Wanted firmly believes there’s nothing better than women empowering other women, so when we found out March is Women’s History Month, we knew we needed to do something special. There are too many amazing women to fit into just thirty one days, but to do our best, we invited our contributors to write about the favorite women in their lives, and Woman Crush Month came to be. #WCM is the ultimate girl power party, and it’s all about women celebrating women and their achievements, and we personally can’t think of anything better than that.