Kehlani at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

SF Concert Review: Kehlani Brings It

in Photos/SF Concert Reviews by

Bay Area darling Kehlani has had some ups and downs lately, mostly stemming from issues dealing with her personal life that was made all too public no thanks to Social Media. When she stopped by the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco last night, all that drama was forgotten as the sexy r&b starlet with the perfect dimples put on an excellent performance full of life, love, dance, and gratitude. It was a homecoming of sorts for an artist that’s worked so hard to get to where she’s at. “This is the biggest stage I’ve ever played on!” she exclaimed. “Thanks for selling out this motherf*****!”

Kehlani at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Kehlani captivates her audience at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Indeed, Kehlani has come a long way from her early days in the semi-popular pop outfit Poplyfe. In 2011, they auditioned for the sixth season of America’s Got Talent, and eventually finished in fourth place. During their final appearance, judge Piers Morgan told Kehlani, “You’ve got real talent, but I don’t think you need the group.”

The premonition proved to be accurate and now Kehlani, the solo artist, has blown up but hasn’t forgotten where she comes from. Her love for the Bay Area could be felt all throughout last night, as Kehlani made multiple references to her pride for the biggity Bay. “Y’all, I’ve been all over the U.S.” she professed at one point of her performance. “And everywhere I go, people always tell me there’s something special about us Bay Area folks.”

There is something special about Kehlani. She keeps it real with who she is and with her music. The message is empowering for young listeners, holding not only a powerful message but also combining it with unique hooks and dope beats to lock in her fans. Last night all were locked and hanging on her every move and sultry melodies. It was a show that the singer needed, a welcome home from a city that’s always been there for her, thick and thin, through the good times and the bad.

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Photos courtesy of Louis Raphael

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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