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The tropical paradise of Hawaii conjures images of palm trees, blue waters, and a laidback lifestyle. With its vibrant culture and music scene, it’s no wonder some wonder if breakout R&B singer Kehlani hails from the island state. In this comprehensive article, we’ll trace Kehlani’s origins and discuss how Hawaii has influenced her music even if she didn’t grow up there.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Kehlani is not originally from Hawaii, but was born and raised in Oakland, California.

Kehlani’s Early Life and Upbringing in Oakland

Kehlani, the talented singer, songwriter, and dancer, was born and raised in Oakland, California. This vibrant city, known for its diverse culture and rich music scene, played a significant role in shaping Kehlani’s artistic journey.

Born and raised in Oakland, California

Kehlani’s roots in Oakland run deep. Growing up in this dynamic city, she was exposed to a wide range of musical genres and styles, which influenced her unique sound. Oakland’s vibrant music scene provided her with a multitude of opportunities to explore her passion for singing and performing.

Had a difficult childhood and spent time in the foster care system

Despite the musical inspiration surrounding her, Kehlani faced numerous challenges early on in her life. She experienced a difficult childhood and, at a young age, found herself in the foster care system. These hardships undoubtedly shaped her resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

However, Kehlani’s talent and love for music remained steadfast throughout these challenging times. She used her voice as a way to express herself and find solace in the midst of uncertainty.

Used music as an escape during her challenging upbringing

Music became Kehlani’s escape, her sanctuary, and her source of hope. It allowed her to channel her emotions and express her experiences in a way that resonated with others. Through her heartfelt lyrics and soulful melodies, Kehlani was able to connect with listeners on a profound level.

Her early struggles and the power of music as an outlet for healing and self-expression have undoubtedly contributed to Kehlani’s authentic and relatable artistry. Today, she continues to inspire and captivate audiences with her raw talent and compelling storytelling.

For more information about Kehlani’s journey and her impact on the music industry, you can visit Kehlani’s official website.

Kehlani’s Rise to Fame as an R&B Singer

Kehlani is a talented R&B singer who has captivated audiences with her soulful voice and relatable lyrics. Her journey to success has been marked by hard work, determination, and a passion for music.

Got her start as a member of Poplyfe, a teen pop band

Kehlani’s musical career began when she joined the teen pop band, Poplyfe, in 2009. The band gained national attention when they auditioned for the reality TV show, America’s Got Talent. Although they didn’t win the competition, Kehlani’s talent was undeniable and she quickly became a fan favorite.

After her time with Poplyfe, Kehlani decided to pursue a solo career and focus on her own music. She moved to Los Angeles and began working on her debut mixtape.

Released her first mixtape in 2014 and was named a Billboard ‘Artist to Watch’

In 2014, Kehlani released her first mixtape titled “Cloud 19.” The mixtape showcased her unique sound and garnered critical acclaim. It caught the attention of Billboard, who named her an “Artist to Watch.”

Kehlani’s mixtape was praised for its honest and introspective lyrics, as well as its infectious beats. It showcased her ability to effortlessly blend genres, fusing elements of R&B, hip-hop, and pop.

Saw mainstream success with her 2015 single ‘The Way’ featuring Chance the Rapper

Kehlani’s breakthrough moment came in 2015 with the release of her single, “The Way,” featuring Chance the Rapper. The song quickly gained popularity and charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The Way” showcased Kehlani’s vocal range and ability to create catchy hooks. The collaboration with Chance the Rapper added an extra layer of excitement to the track, solidifying Kehlani’s status as a rising star in the music industry.

Since then, Kehlani has continued to release music that resonates with fans all over the world. Her unique style and relatable lyrics have earned her a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim.

If you want to learn more about Kehlani and her music, you can visit her official website here.

The Hawaii Vibes in Kehlani’s Music

Although Kehlani is not originally from Hawaii, she has managed to capture the essence of the island’s culture in her music. Her songs are filled with the tropical vibes and laid-back atmosphere that are synonymous with the Hawaiian lifestyle. Kehlani’s music is a testament to the fact that you don’t have to be from a particular place to be deeply inspired by it.

Though not from Hawaii, Kehlani draws inspiration from its culture

Kehlani has openly expressed her love for Hawaii and the impact it has had on her music. She may not have been born and raised in the Aloha State, but she has immersed herself in its culture and draws inspiration from it. From the beautiful landscapes to the warm-hearted people, Kehlani finds solace and creativity in the unique spirit of Hawaii.

Incorporates Hawaiian language phrases in songs like ‘CRZY’

One of the ways Kehlani pays homage to Hawaii is by incorporating Hawaiian language phrases into her songs. In her hit track “CRZY,” she effortlessly weaves in the phrase “aloha ke akua,” which means “hello to God.” This not only adds a touch of authenticity but also showcases her respect for the Hawaiian language and culture.

Cites reggae and jazz from Hawaii as influences on her style

Kehlani’s musical style is a unique blend of various genres, and she credits reggae and jazz from Hawaii as major influences. The rhythmic beats and soulful melodies of reggae and jazz have left a lasting impact on her music. By incorporating elements of these genres into her own sound, Kehlani adds a distinct flavor that sets her apart from other artists.

By embracing the Hawaii vibes in her music, Kehlani transports listeners to a tropical paradise, even if just for a few minutes. Her ability to capture the essence of a place she isn’t from speaks volumes about her talent and dedication as an artist. So, the next time you find yourself swaying to the rhythm of Kehlani’s music, remember that you’re experiencing a little piece of Hawaii, no matter where you are.

Kehlani’s Ongoing Connection to the Hawaiian Islands

Despite not being from Hawaii originally, Kehlani has developed a strong connection to the beautiful Pacific islands. Over the years, she has performed multiple shows in Hawaii, captivating audiences with her soulful voice and energetic performances. Her music resonates with the Hawaiian culture, and she has gained a loyal fanbase in the islands.

Has performed multiple shows in Hawaii over the years

Kehlani’s love for Hawaii is evident in her frequent performances on the islands. She has graced stages in Honolulu, Maui, and other popular Hawaiian destinations, bringing her unique blend of R&B, hip-hop, and soul to enthusiastic crowds. The vibrant energy of the Hawaiian people and the stunning natural surroundings have undoubtedly influenced Kehlani’s music and performances.

Visited Oahu in 2017 and shared photos by the beach on social media

In 2017, Kehlani took some time off from her busy schedule to visit the beautiful island of Oahu. She couldn’t help but share her excitement with her fans on social media, posting breathtaking photos of herself enjoying the sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Kehlani’s love for Hawaii is not just limited to her professional life; it is a personal connection that she cherishes.

Collaborated with Hawaiian reggae band The Green in 2019

Kehlani’s connection to Hawaii extended beyond her performances and personal visits. In 2019, she collaborated with the popular Hawaiian reggae band, The Green, on their single “I Wanna Be.” The song beautifully blends Kehlani’s soulful vocals with The Green’s reggae sound, showcasing the harmonious fusion of their talents. The collaboration was well-received by fans and further cemented Kehlani’s ongoing connection to the Hawaiian islands.

Kehlani’s Impact on Young R&B Artists

Praised for her raw emotional lyricism and vulnerability

Kehlani, the talented singer-songwriter, has made a significant impact on the world of R&B music, particularly among young artists. One of the reasons for her immense popularity is her raw emotional lyricism and vulnerability. Through her music, she delves into her personal experiences, relationships, and struggles, creating a deep connection with her listeners. Kehlani’s ability to express her emotions so honestly and authentically has resonated with many aspiring artists who admire her openness and courage to share her innermost feelings.

Inspired a new generation of R&B singers to embrace their authentic selves

Kehlani’s influence extends beyond her music. She has inspired a new generation of R&B singers to embrace their authentic selves and not be afraid to be vulnerable. In a genre that often focuses on image and perfection, Kehlani has shown that being true to oneself is what truly connects with audiences. Her success has empowered young artists to embrace their uniqueness, express their emotions, and tell their own stories through their music. By breaking the mold and challenging traditional R&B norms, Kehlani has opened the doors for a more diverse and inclusive representation of artists in the industry.

Frequently collaborates with rising artists, embracing the ‘aloha spirit’

Kehlani’s collaborative spirit is another reason why she has had such a profound impact on young R&B artists. She frequently collaborates with rising artists, providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and gain exposure. This generous approach not only helps these artists gain recognition but also fosters a sense of community and support within the R&B industry. Kehlani embodies the ‘aloha spirit’, a Hawaiian concept of unity, love, and mutual respect. Through her collaborations, she encourages young artists to uplift and empower each other, creating a positive and thriving environment for growth and creativity.

Kehlani’s impact on young R&B artists cannot be overstated. Her raw emotional lyricism, her embrace of authenticity, and her collaborative nature have all contributed to her influential status in the industry. If you are a fan of R&B music or aspiring to be an artist yourself, Kehlani’s journey is one worth following. Her music and her ethos serve as an inspiration to all those who seek to express their truth and make a meaningful impact in the world of music.


While Oakland-born R&B songstress Kehlani did not grow up in Hawaii, the spirit of the islands has clearly influenced her musical style and personal journey. Through her soulful vocals, confessional lyrics, and laidback vibe, Kehlani channels a tropical warmth that resonates with fans worldwide. She may rep Northern California to the fullest, but Kehlani’s music will continue spreading aloha for years to come.

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