Home is where your story begins. For Kelela, the nation’s capital serves as the initial setting for her narrative and in the latest chapter, she’s returned as a rising R&B singer on the brink of stardom. Although she currently resides on the opposite coast – in L.A. – Kelela admits to being a “D.C. girl” raised in suburban Maryland.
Her entourage is small. She arrives in D.C. for the Broccoli City Festival, with her mom, dad, DJ and publicist at her side. Her gloomy, all-black wardrobe is offset by her bright smile, which she pleasantly greets the coordinators working the event with. This moment is special to her. Last month, she performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people in Austin, TX at the SXSW festival and next month she’ll travel overseas for a string of shows in Portugal, Serbia and the U.K. But right now, she’s home and anxious to perform a medley of tracks off her highly praised mixtape, Cut 4 Me.
She gazes into the crowd as she makes her way onto the stage, searching for familiar faces like an alumni at a school reunion. This is her homecoming. We caught up with Kelela after her performance to talk about returning to D.C., her new fame, her debut album and more. – Christopher Harris
Photo Credit: Tumblr
Vixen: How does it feel to be home in D.C. for the Broccoli City Festival?
Kelela: It’s a pleasure. There are a lot of people that I know and a lot of people that I don’t know who have been connecting with me for whatever reason. Maybe because I’m from here, which is meaningful to me because I’ve had a particular experience here in D.C. There’s just a familiarity or a feeling when you know your folks. D.C. folk is like a particular thing, so that was just pleasant. I’m grateful for Broccoli City to even ask.
Are you an L.A. girl now?
Well, I don’t know what that means… All my shit is there. I can’t really own L.A. like an “L.A. girl” but I can say, if anything, I’m a D.C. girl because this is the most familiar context to me. I would definitely say that L.A. is a really beautiful, comfortable space. It’s a great place for me to create and for me to live right now.