Vixen Chat: Kelela Talks Her D.C. Homecoming, New Music and Adjusting to Fame


Kelela chats with Vixen about being in D.C. and music.

Tons of people have tried to describe your sound. How would you describe it?

It depends on who I’m talking to. If I’m talking to a peer or someone that I think is familiar with the context, then I will say it’s definitely… my vocal is coming from the R&B tradition. I’m definitely an R&B vocalist but the production is more club oriented. It’s actually club music, it’s meant to be played loud in a small basement space and it’s abrasive, at times. It’s sort of juxtaposed to softer textures in vocal. But if I’m talking to someone older, I’d be like it’s R&B, but club R&B. It’s electronic but party sounds.

How does it feel to be receiving all this new attention? 

It’s definitely more far along right now, then I thought it would be when I made the first move. I think the first thing that happened was probably when Solange requested that I open. So, that’s the first thing. And from that moment, I felt like some momentum was about to be created or was being created. But if you asked me then would I be in this position or at this level in my career, I wouldn’t have thought so right now in April of 2014.

I know your debut album is on the way. Can you tell us anything about it? Do you have a title?

Well, I don’t have a title. I usually do all of the things around the actual music after I make the music. So I will come up with the cover after the title of the whole project and just like anything around it. What I can say is that I am working on the songwriting aspect of it. I’m trying to make sure that all the songs are sort of full-on songs. And they feel good, I just want to go deeper. I think the messages and the approach will be similar but only modified in terms of songwriting. I’m trying to be a better songwriter.