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Kehlani Talks T-Pain, Home Decor, and the One Baby Product Worth the Splurge

What’s Kehlani been up to this summer? Besides releasing a hit song with T-Pain and a buzzy new partnership with American Express, the singer is pretty much chilling. “I’m just having fun,” she told ELLE before taking the stage at American Express X Saks Star Island Summer in the Hamptons. “I think I passed the dark, eerie portion of life for now. It’s very light up here [in my head], so it’ll be very light musically.”

It’s been a little over a year since Kehlani released their second studio album It Was Good Until It Wasn’t during quarantine. Fresh off a lockdown hiatus, the singer is more than ready to perform in front of fans again. “It’s exciting because I’ve been performing in front of people virtually for a little while now, so it feels like I’m getting some sense of normalcy in my career,” she adds.

Kehlani performing at the American Express Platinum x Saks Star Island Summer at Gurney’s Star Island Resort in Montauk, NY.

Sansho Scott/BFA.com

That isn’t to say they haven’t kept busy. The multi-hyphenate is also a director, producer, songwriter, and most importantly, a mother to her two-year-old daughter Adeya. With so many projects ongoing, I asked how they’re treating themself with their AmEx Platinum card, which has been newly relaunched with benefits like Camp Platinum at Equinox, shopping perks at Saks Fifth Avenue, and dining experiences with Resy.

“I’m a sucker for good home decor,” they said. “I like little, tiny dumb stuff you put in your house that nobody’s going to notice but you. It’s just stuff that catches my eye, and I’m like, ‘I need this.’ I can’t make it make sense.”

Ahead, the singer talks releasing an album during a pandemic, shopping with her daughter, and putting her own spin on the T-Pain classic, “Buy U a Drank.”

You released your album It Was Good Until It Wasn’t during the pandemic. What was that like?

It was a trip, because we finished it right before quarantine really started. We had to figure out how to maneuver and still release an album through it, which was a really cool thing to do because we had to get creative.

You wear so many hats. How is it juggling different projects along with motherhood during quarantine?

It’s really fun. I think each hat that I wear inspires the other hat to go harder. I’m glad I’m in a place where I get to learn a lot, because I kind of miss that aspect of school, so it was cool to have that in another area of life.

What is your favorite AmEx member perk?

Being able to find a place on the go for travel, all the access to nice traveling stuff is really cool.

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Do you go shopping with your daughter Adeya?

We do. She’s a toy person for sure. Anywhere that has a toy aisle, she gets excited about. She’ll just want to go crazy.

Is there one kid’s product that’s worth the splurge?

You want your kids to have quality stuff because they break things so easily and they ruin stuff. You want to make sure that it’s washable; you want to make sure that it’s fixable; and dropping it once doesn’t make it explode into a million pieces. Oh, a good diaper bag. I know that’s for both of us, but it has to have a lot of compartments and be able to hold a lot of stuff. That’s a good one.

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How has the past year affected your music?

It’s allowed me to spend a lot of time on myself. Things get a lot more introspective in general when you spend time with yourself.

My song of the summer is “I Like Dat.” How was it working with T-Pain?

Shout out T-Pain. It was so cool. He’s really humble, almost to a fault, to where you have to constantly remind him that he’s T-Pain. The whole time, I’m just like, “I’m on a flip of “Buy U a Drank” with T-Pain,” and I vividly remember being in middle school and being at my eighth grade dinner dance, and “Buy U a Drank” coming on, and the whole everybody losing their minds.

He sent [the song] and he was like, “Yo, listen to this. I want to know if you’re down.” I heard it, and I was like, “You’re kidding.” I sent him the verse super fast because I was so excited about it.

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You can learn more about the revamped American Express platinum card and its member perks here.


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