Kehlani kicks off SSS tour in Montreal

R&B singer performs her new hit album at Club Soda alongside Jahkoy and Ella Mai

With the success of Kehlani’s SweetSexySavage album, the R&B singer and rapper kick-started her SSS tour with her first show in Montreal this week. Kehlani’s music is a beautiful blend of R&B, motown and neo soul. Lyrically, she often speaks up about heartfelt issues in all honesty. A multitude of loving fans gathered for her sold-out show at Club Soda on Feb. 21. Opening the show was Canadian R&B singer and rapper Jahkoy, R&B singer Ella Mai from London and R&B DJ Noodles.

Jahkoy was the first to take the mic. His soulful R&B voice was a great opener for the show. He heated up the audience with his track “California Heaven,” a song that will get you hooked after the first listen and make you want to book the very next flight to Los Angeles. Jahkoy is definitely a young rising star in the world of R&B. Ella Mai was next, taking centre stage to perform tracks from her albums, Time and CHANGE. She also performed her new hit single, “Anymore,” which was released only a few days before the show. Ella Mai revealed such a sweet allure on stage. Her songs are easy to vibe along with because of her classic R&B soft-spoken voice. Both Jahkoy and Ella Mai complemented each other as opening acts for Kehlani’s show.

Jahkoy on the mic, opening for Kehlani. Photo by Kirubel Mehari

The crowd was youthful and vibrant, cheering for the young rising artists. It was inspiring and motivating to be a part of the hype. As DJ Noodles energized the crowd with a mix of old-school hip-hop and R&B tracks, you could feel the anticipation of the fans for Kehlani to take centre stage.

Loud screams, tears of joy on fans’ faces and pure excitement filled the venue as soon as Kehlani stepped on stage alongside her two backup dancers. Kehlani and her dancers gave a killer performance throughout the show with high-energy choreographies. Kehlani’s confidence shined through on stage all night long.In between songs she would talk to the crowd in such a friendly, down-to-earth manner. Through her performances and speeches, it was clear that, in that moment, there was no place she would rather be. She seemed genuinely happy and thankful to be performing on stage.

Fans cheer in admiration when Kehlani take centre stage. Photo by Kirubel Mehari

There was a lot of bonding between the crowd and the R&B star as she shared her feelings. “I’m 21 years old, the same age of most of y’all,” she said. “I’m going to let you know that nothing is too big for you to conquer. Everything in the world can go against you, but give it a few years, months and days. Then you’ll say, ‘I was tripping, let me calm down.’”

She also raised the importance of self-love. She took a moment to have the whole crowd say “I love me” out loud. “One more time everyone, say it, ‘I love me.’ I need y’all to do that every single day,” said Kehlani. Before performing the next song, “Undercover,” Kehlani made it clear that this show was a free, loving space welcome for people of all sexual orientations to openly love each other.

Fans get emotional when Kehlani reaches out to the crowd. Photo by Kirubel Mehari

She sang every song from her new album and also performed a few songs off her 2015 mixtape, You Should Be Here. It’s her bona fide persona on stage and authenticity that makes her music resonate in the depths of her fans’ hearts.

Kehlani is from Oakland, Calif., known as the “Bay Area.” She asked the audience if there were any fans who had come all the way from the Bay Area to see her first show. She was delighted to see the hands of a few hardcore fans rise up in the audience. Before closing the show, Kehlani took the time to thank her fans for reasons beyond just listening to her album. “You guys send support and love every single day. It’s much bigger than listening to the album—you guys ask how my mom is doing, how my cats are doing. You guys have reached out to every single one of my team members,” she said. “This is deeper than a fan base. We’ve been through things together, we are growing up together. So, from the bottom of me, my entire team, my family, everyone who loves me, including your hearts, I wanna say thank you and please, praise God every single day for everything that we have.”

She closed the show with her track “CRZY,” and the whole audience sang along. This first show brought a lot of love and appreciation from both the audience and the artists who performed that night.

Kehlani giving it her all on stage. Photo by Kirubel Mehari
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