Kehlani is undoubtedly having a great Friday morning. When you're the only artist to score a collaboration on Zayn's first solo album after departing One Direction (and one of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year, NBD) it's no secret that your name is suddenly a huge deal. And how Kehlani and Zayn ended up working together might simply be a result of her rapidly rising star: Kehlani has been making waves in the music industry ever since she released her first mixtape in 2014, and it's been a pretty fast rise to the top for the 20-year old-ever since. The R&B cool girl has already been nominated for a Grammy and likened to the late Aaliyah, and her song on Zayn's album, titled "wRoNg," is one that fans have been eagerly awaiting for a long time. But how did these two powerhouses actually come together to make beautiful music?
How and when the two actually connected is unclear, but Zayn had his eye (and ears) on Kehlani in the early stages of his solo work, explaining in an interview with radio host Zane Lowe on Beats 1 that he "reached out to her, played a couple of songs for her in L.A. and she's really cool, she liked the music, so she got in the studio within a couple of days, she gave me a song back that she wanted me to do, and we just got it done straight away."
Just like that — so nonchalantly and casually — he explained that one of the most anticipated songs on his record basically just kind of happened. Zayn showered his collaborator with praise, calling her "so sick," "so cool," and saying, "I love her." He further explained that it was important to him to prove that he can sing and hold his own, and it seems like working with Kehlani, with her own signature sound and style, was the perfect way to do that.
The praise is mutual, apparently. Just as the Zayn's Mind of Mine was dropping, Kehlani shouted out to the former One Direction member on her Instagram, saying, "I'm so damn proud of you. Enjoy the fuck out of your moment, thank you for picking me to the be collaboration on this. You're a goddamn STAR! #MINDOFMINE OUT NOW, WRONG FT KEHLANI #BlessingsWayUp @zayn" Note the phrase, "thank you for picking me." It could simply be that mutual appreciation is what brought these two musical acts together.
Fans are also obviously looking forward to hearing Zayn's contributions to her forthcoming album, which she seems to still be hard at work on, based on her latest Instagram photos. I have a feeling that 2016 is the year of Kehlani, for sure.