Kelela is everything and nothing all at once. The DC-born, LA-based R&B singer has acted as a sublime ghost of sorts in the alt-R&B movement. Her projects Cut 4 Me (2013) and Hallucinogen (2015) set the tone with a plethora of the digitized, slinky, midnight-essence ’90s-era R&B vocals she’s made her trademark. Her debut studio album Take Me Apart zeroes in on perfecting that notion, dropping singles such as “LMK,” “Frontline,” and the title track as a prelude to a holistic record that coos about love, lust, and hurt as much as it warps between sensual neo-soul and moody R&B.

There’s a sensual appeal to this nuanced approach in contemporary R&B — look to the Weeknd as the modern-day pioneer; FKA Twigs, ABRA, dvsn, and Sonder as drivers — and expect Kelela to direct that same energy and vibe to her visuals, stage performance, and career moving forward.

The Independent
October 29, 2017
7:30pm, $23