Oakland singer and songwriter Kehlani has become a trailblazer in the music scene since her acclaimed "Cloud 19" mixtape. The young artist sat down with ComplexMag to talk about her time on America's Got Talent, her bisexuality, her tattoos and the journey she took to find herself.
Complex: You used to be in a band called PopLyfe that was on America’s Got Talent. Was it tough being the only girl in the group?
Kehlani: My whole life I’ve always been in with the guys. I just now have all close female friends. I think it’s because we’re all on the same wave; we’re all tomboys. The band was my second family.
Complex: When did you begin to fully realize your own identity?
Kehlani: By the time I was 17, I was out the house. I discovered who I was. That’s why I’m so tatted—I know myself enough to recognize that I’ve [actually] been the same person my whole life. These ideas and thoughts and beliefs are gonna be there forever. I can still look in the mirror like, “I still think like this.”
Complex: Is that why you’re so open about being bisexual?
Kehlani: Regardless of whether or not you accept it, I am not afraid to tell you how it is. I think it’s important that there is a voice for that right now. I wouldn’t even necessarily say I’m bisexual—I like who I like. I’ve dated both men and women. Sex is biological, but gender is mental. I’ve been with people who aren’t what they’re born into. You fall in love with a person’s mind, you fall in love with a person’s soul, not with whatever’s down there.
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