R&B star Kehlani shut down New York City’s Playstation Theater Wednesday (Feb. 22) on the second stop of her SweetSexySavage tour, but she didn’t bring the heat on her own. The tone for the evening was set by her opening acts Ella Mai and Jahkoy, who brought their own fire and got the crowd going before “Lani Tsunami” hit.
Canadian crooner Jahkoy, adorned in black jeans, camel-colored boots, a jean jacket and a t-shirt promoting his late-2016 EP Foreign Waters, displayed the many facets of his sound for the energetic and supportive crowd during his amended set. The 22-year-old Def Jam signee, who linked up with Kehlani after meeting her at Lollapalooza in 2016, brought the soulful and laid-back vibes of a 2000s R&B star, while also showing glimmers of his diverse musical aesthetic.
The L.A. transplant gave fans a taste of sweeter weather ahead on an unseasonably warm night with his summer-sprinkled track “Still In Love.” The song, which emitted Frank Ocean-feels, was the first track he recorded when he began living in California to pursue his music career.
His stage presence and ability to engage the crowd was apparent throughout his set, as he two-stepped along to the sonically-snappy “Selfish” and the thumping beat of his ScHoolboy Q-assisted banger “California Heaven.” He changed the lyrics in the latter track to reflect the city he was in, showing love to his flock of new listeners (“All these girls are perfect/ In New York, In New York”).
“The engagement with the fans is the time for me to send the message and deliver that excitement of the music,” Jahkoy told VIBE after his set, as groups of new fans waited around to get a picture with him. “I can deliver that fresh new sound and I can be vulnerable.”
His opening song, the Bob Marley-esque “No Regrets” makes a point to “sing about war not love,” and rides the wave of Caribbean-style sounds that Toronto artists have been utilizing. In his 2016 interview with VIBE, Jahkoy said that he hoped to spread positivity and love by way of his music, which is needed in today’s times.
“I just want to bring back love into our daily lives,” he said. “People really look down on love because there are so many other artists promoting being a player and being in the moment.”
The musician assured that the response to his October EP has been warm, and that he’s thankful for the experience to bring his sound to more fans while touring with Kehlani on the duration of her U.S. tour.
“The thing about the project [Foreign Waters] is that I was able to tell my tale,” he grinned. “Being a kid from Toronto and going to California because I felt like there was something out there for me- it was what I needed and it was just waiting for me to get there. With that being said, here we are! It’s really taken off.”
— #SWEETSEXYSAVAGE (@Kehlani) February 22, 2017