The Californian R&B artist sat down with NME for this week’s Big Read cover interview in which she talked about their third album ‘Blue Water Road’ (out today, April 29), becoming at peace with their sexual identity, and recalled appearing on American Idol back in 2011.
Kehlani was 16 years old when their band PopLyfe auditioned for the aforementioned singing competition. The group came in at fourth place on that season, a feat that bolstered the star’s solo career thanks to the connections she made along the way.
Explaining that she didn’t face much snobbery over those reality TV beginnings, Kehlani then spoke about Noel Gallagher recently dismissing Harry Styles as not a “real” musician owing to his X Factor and One Direction past.
“That person – whoever that is – can kiss my ass,” Kehlani told NME. “They might as well call me inauthentic and I’m about as authentic as it gets.”
She continued: “[Styles] worked his ass off to make people fall in love with him on national TV and be lumped in with a group of boys and still had to stand out from an entire group of people. That’s as authentic as it gets!
“I’m a Harry Styles fan, clearly, but watching the transformation that he’s taken to find his own songs and his own voice, own persona, own fluidity and image – I think he’s been brave and epic. He’s fucking tight.”
During an appearance on Absolute Radio’s Through The Decades podcast, Gallagher said: “The X Factor is a TV show, it’s got nothing to do with music, it’s got nothing to do with music whatsoever, and anything that has come from that, that’s got nothing to do with music.”
Singling out Styles, Gallagher claimed that the ‘Harry’s House’ artist would more likely to be found “surrounded by a lot of girls” rather than writing his own material. “I can assure you he’s not got an acoustic guitar out trying to write a middle eight for something,” he added.
The High Flying Birds musician’s comments came after Damon Albarn similarly hit out at Taylor Swift by incorrectly stating that the ‘Evermore’ star doesn’t write her own songs. Swift responded by labelling Albarn’s take “completely false and SO damaging”.
Elsewhere in the latest NME Big Read cover feature, Kehlani said they were feeling “lighter, more mature [and] happy” after taking part in a year-long ritual cleanse. She embraced sobriety, only went out for work-related reasons, covered their hair and more as part of the “ceremony process”.
In a four-star review of ‘Blue Water Road’, NME said that the album largely “finds Kehlani in spectacular form – softer, stronger and better than ever”.