Kehlani: Serial Lover - Tattoo Ideas, Artists and Models

Mom sexuality has taken a 180-degree turn in the past several decades, catapulted by “American Pie,” where the word MILF was born. Today, moms are hotter than ever and the phrase “mom bod” is a total compliment. Newly admitted to the club, Kehlani embraced being a young, hot mama and allowed motherhood to empower her as an artist, entertainer and woman. “Being a new mom, I’ve never felt sexier in my life,” Kehlani says. “I’ve never been more in tune or more emotionally accountable. Once you become a mom, you have to be really accountable for your emotions and your emotional turmoil.”

Kehlani grew up in North Oakland with her aunt, as neither of her biological parents were in the picture. Her aunt got her involved with art classes, fostering a passion for dance and singing. As a teen, she attended art school and midway through, she made it to the grand finals of an internationally televised talent show. However, following the end of the show, Kehlani fell on hard times and became homeless while still in high school—which led her astray from music for several years. “It was hard, but I always said it could have been worse,” Kehlani says. “It taught me that you never give up and with every no, you stick it out until there’s a yes. If you feel like you can’t go on, realize there’s someone else who had it worse than you and made it better than you, and you’ll be fine. It’s all about the mind state and never giving up.”

photos by bri alysse

photos by bri alysse

Kehlani didn’t give up on her dreams and she wound up releasing her first solo single, “ANTISUMMERLUV,” on SoundCloud in 2013. That track caught the attention of Nick Cannon, who happened to be the host of “America’s Got Talent” when Kehlani appeared on the program. Cannon saw something in Kehlani, so he bought her an apartment in Los Angeles and helped her get time in the studio. With that song, Kehlani’s entire life changed and with a newfound sense of optimism, she released her first mixtape. “With ‘Cloud 19,’ I was 19 years old and I wanted to create a window into what my universe was at the time,” Kehlani says. “A lot of joy, a relationship that was exciting, fresh and beautiful for me. What it felt like as a young woman experiencing that at 19.”

“Cloud 19” put Kehlani on the map as a solo artist, but she would continue to evolve. While her first project shared her experience in a happy relationship, that love came to an end at 20, giving her an entirely new perspective while she was writing the follow-up. “‘You Should Be Here’ came out when I was 20 and that was the aftermath of ‘Cloud 19,’” Kehlani says. “Dealing with getting out of that relationship, my first heartbreak and the repercussions of being in the industry. It got nominated for a Grammy, which catapulted my career into a new space. This allowed my next projects to either make or break it.”

photos by bri alysse

photos by bri alysse

Public scrutiny, in part from her breakup, put Kehlani in a dark headspace, pushing her to attempt to take her own life. She’d hit rock bottom, despite her success in music, and needed to find a way to build herself back up, from the inside out. “It’s been about honest healing in a real adult way,” Kehlani says. “Deciding to take actual conscious steps in real life, outside of my career, to heal myself.” Kehlani went about her healing in many different ways, from therapy to group ceremonies. After months spent getting to know herself, she found answers by looking to the stars. “Trying to understand more of myself got me into astrology,” Kehlani says. “I think it really helped me to dissect how so many different aspects of myself coexist. What I really love about my chart is that it says I’m really tough, but also can be fluid. Then my sex, love and aggression planets are all turned up and fiery—it just makes sense. I’m fiery where I need to be, emotional where I need to be and I’m strong-willed where I need to be.”From learning about her astrological chart, Kehlani gained a better understanding of the duality going on within and recognized that she had the power to find inner balance. Her chart also reveals why she’s got a knack for writing about love. “They allow me to have different perspectives,” Kehlani says. “I tend to write about love, relationships and heartbreak, so that’s where my Aries Venus and my Leo Mars come into play. If you read up about Aries Venus, they’re just nuts. So I will always have something to write about.”

In addition to finding healing through astrology, Kehlani uses tattoos to mark milestones in her life, find closure and show off her achievements. As she was healing, she chose to commemorate her struggles with a tattoo, deciding on the phrase “Perdida y Encontrada,” which translates to “Lost and Found” in Spanish. “I wanted it to symbolize this part of my life because I’ll always teeter-totter between lost and found,” Kehlani says. “Not ‘lost’ and ‘found,’ but ‘lost and found’ all at once, because it’s a duality I think a lot of people with mental health struggles face.”

photos by bri alysse

photos by bri alysse

Kehlani bounced back with her debut studio album, “SweetSexySavage,” in 2017 and came into her own as an R&B powerhouse. Over the next few years, Kehlani spent her time on the road and in the studio, touring alongside Demi Lovato and Halsey, as well as appearing on singles with Eminem and Cardi B and, on top of that, working on her second album. Yet, in the midst of all this music-making, Kehlani created a very special collaborative project—her daughter Adeya Nomi Parrish YoungWhite. “The first year of motherhood has been incredible,” Kehlani says. “It’s been ups and downs of me and my daughter getting to know each other and developing patterns. Now I know what every different cry means and if she looks at me a certain way, I know what’s coming.”

Being a mom gave Kehlani’s life a new sense of purpose, helping her not only with the challenges of mental health, but pushing her to put out “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t,” which encapsulated her growth as both an artist and a woman. “I think it’s my best work yet because it’s the most emotionally mature sonically,” Kehlani says. “I’m touching on topics that I haven’t talked about before. Sex, love, toxicity, makeups, breakups, wanting alone time to process a heartbreak—there’s a lot of topics, but it all has to do with the unraveling of this one relationship.”

Throughout her life, which is only just getting started, Kehlani faced hardships and overcame them through healing—whether that’s through getting to know herself or making music. Every moment, joyful or somber, has significance to her, as it helped her to become the woman she is today. Over the years, she’s been able to visualize that journey through her tattoo collection. Kehlani began collecting body art as a teenager, when a close friend of hers gave her a stick-and-poke tattoo in the middle of a public park. Now, her collection is a mixed bag of work, and instead of regretting her earlier tattoos, she uses them to reflect on how far she’s come. “I have a bunch of shitty high school tattoos and even in that there’s a beauty,” Kehlani says. “It’s a beautiful process to fix them up and let them grow as I get older.” Instead of covering up or attempting to remove her mistakes, Kehlani instead embraces her past. She’s healing the blown-out lines and faded color of her tattoos, in turn allowing her art to evolve with her. Once she’s done collecting tattoos, if that day ever comes, she’ll be able to look back on it and see her story spelled out on her skin. But for now, we’re certain that this is only the beginning of Kehlani’s odyssey.

photos by bri alysse

photos by bri alysse