Kehlani made her highly-anticipated Singapore debut last Wednesday on 23 May for the very first time. Organised by LAMC Productions, the concert was held at Zepp@Bigbox, which is an indoor venue that was air-conditioned and made for a perfect stomping ground to contain the excitement exuded from every single attendee. The crowd consisted mostly of millennials and young adults, who seemed to be mostly between 15 to 25 years of age, with some of them who are just slightly older than that.
As was heard through the grapevine (that was the crowd), some had stood in line since 10 in the morning and had waited for more than 8 hours just to be in front of the stage for the best view of the Grammy-nominated singer. For those who may not have the luxury of time to queue, they grabbed the chance to purchase Meet and Greet passes at an additional cost on top of their concert ticket to meet Kehlani in person! This is certainly one dedicated fanbase that is definitely not fazed – or distracted – by anything to get close to their favourite singer.
Hailing from San Francisco, the opening act DJ Noodles (also known as “Noodz”) kicked off the night with a 30-minute showcase. Although her DJ set did not exactly start smoothly due to technical issues that caused the audio to be disrupted, it was swiftly resolved and eventually, Kehlani’s tour DJ slowly got everyone pumped up and screaming.
Promptly at 8.30pm, Noodz wasted no time and introduced Kehlani on stage. The R&B songstress calmly took the stage as if she was born for it, and opened with her hit single “I Wanna Be”. As soon as she appeared, phone cameras were out instantly to capture this moment that everyone has been waiting for. The crowd cheered at the top of their lungs and Kehlani treated everyone with all of the gems from her discography, such as movie soundtracks’ hits “Gangsta” and “Good Life”, and others such as “Do U Dirty”, before finishing her spectacular 55-minute set with “CRZY”.
Kehlani put up an energetic performance and there was no stopping the 22-year-old – she just danced and jumped around the stage throughout the show, with no indication of her being breathless at all. It was quite a feat for her to perform entirely on her own too, without any need for backup singers or dancers. On top of all of that, Kehlani’s vocal chops are as unquestionable as her charismatic stage presence: she is really good.
What makes Kehlani stand out from most singers is the sense of comfort and ease that she brings to the stage, and her casual interactions with her fans that feels so personal. Although there was no chance for physical contact as the singer kept her movements within the stage, she broke that monotony by sitting at the edge of the stage several times to chill with the crowd. While the attention was all on her, Kehlani also made sure to acknowledge her fans among the crowd and showed her appreciation for the crowd’s enthusiasm, which subsequently got everyone even more enthusiastic to receive more compliments.
Not just a music icon, Kehlani is also revered by many in the LGBT communities. Acknowledging this during the concert, the American R&B singer told the crowd that “it’s okay to be different, to be unique, and to be yourself”, and reaffirmed to everyone to be proud of themselves and for what they represent.
Coming all the way here from her hometown in Oakland, California, Kehlani reminded the Singaporean crowd that she was “just a simple girl making songs”, and had never imagined she would make it here in Asia to perform to thousands of fans. It was definitely comforting to know that the talented singer is humbled by her blessings and was thankful even though she definitely deserves to be at where she is today.
Going back home with an unforgettable concert experience, we already cannot wait for Kehlani to return soon for a second, and much bigger, concert!
Photos courtesy of Aloysius Lim and Alvin Ho for LAMC Productions.