Kelela is sitting on the corner of a couch in the basement of Ariel Rechtshaid’s studio in Echo Park. She’s eating a slice of quiche from Forage, an organic, counter-style restaurant 10 minutes down the hill on Sunset Boulevard. She hiked up the steep side street in acid wash jeans and a pair of Clarks to get here. She has just returned from a week-and-a-half long trip to London, where she completed the last song for her second release, an EP called Hallucinogen. “I am fun,” she offers, speaking both of the song and a less visible aspect of her personality. “I wanted to say that.”
Fork in hand, she explains the intention behind her bright, Miami bass song, “Rewind.” The song, which Zane Lowe premiered as a World Record on Beats 1 Radio in September, is notably lighter in tone and texture than her previous releases. “I wanted a song that would give you that feeling of...barbecue, summer, getting ready to go to the club with your girlfriends,” she says, “but still have it feel like Kelela.” The desire to pinpoint that feeling—a change in sound without losing herself—led her to seek out Rechtshaid’s expertise.