kehlani

Kehlani’s music isn’t as poptastic as most of the artists I’ve chosen for this list, but she’s here because she has more star quality than most new artists, from any genre, could dream of. So many up-and-coming female singers are compared to Rihanna, but with Kehlani I think it’s justified. She has the same combination of edgy coolness and mainstream star potential. She can pull off any look, and each video and photoshoot shows a different side to her personality and style. And when she’s ready for her crossover moment, with the right writers and producers involved, it could be a game-changer.

Kehlani had a troubled, and troubling, 2016 as she publicly dealt with serious mental health issues, but she says herself that she refuses to be a victim. We should therefore refuse to treat her like one. She deserves the full opportunity to make a grab for superstardom. After releasing two mixtapes, and collaborating with artists including Zayn (she was the only featured artist on his album) and Justin Bieber, she’s now gearing up to finally release her debut album, SweetSexySavage, on 27th January. The promotional campaign is in full swing, with new tracks and videos popping up throughout the past few weeks, including the long-awaited video for sassy single Distraction.

She also just premiered a new video featuring effortlessly cool British rapper Little Simz, filmed during her recent London visit, and a sweet ballad which I hope is a sign of poppier sounds on the album. Sometimes we have to look in unexpected places for future pop stars, and Kehlani is definitely one to look out for.

Click here to find out more about This Must Be Pop’s Stars of 2017 and come back on 19th Dec to vote for the artists you think, and hope, will be the biggest pop breakthrough of 2017. The results will be announced in the Future Pop mailer on 2nd Jan.