kelela will join the xx on tour next month
Talk about a dream team!
Earlier this month, The xx emerged from its extended absence to release I See You, the very eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2012's Coexist. The band announced some US and European tour dates by mailing a few lucky fans shimmery silver tickets and 7" singles — how lovely! What these letters didn't mention is that Kelela will join the trio at a handful of its upcoming dates in France, Switzerland, Germany, and more.
"Been hibernating, but I'm comin out da cave," Kelela wrote on Instagram earlier this morning, posting the eight shows she'll be joining The xx for in February. Kelela's many fans (hi) have been awaiting new tunes since late 2015, when the L.A.-based, D.C.-bred soprano released her sophomore EP Hallucinogen, the positively excellent follow-up to her breakout offering Cut 4 Me.
Kelela has long partnered her soaring, elastic vocals chiefly with electronic compositions. Hallucinogen saw her link back up with Fade to Mind beatsmiths Kingdom and Asma Maroof of Nguzunguzu, as well as get to work with Drake go-to DJ Dahi and Arca (you can watch the trippy, transformative video for their collaboration, "A Message," via i-D). Yet Hallucinogen also incorporated elements of dance, soul, and R&B — creating a profoundly emotional, vulnerable, and strong sound all her own.
It makes sense, then, that she's linking up with The xx, a trio whose dreamy chill-wave is a blend of deep and sparse bass grooves, evocative echo-y guitar parts, and genre-spanning production flourishes from architect Jamie xx (a man who has worked with everyone from Gil Scott-Heron to Young Thug). The xx, too, have demonstrated an appreciation for R&B, paying homage to one of its most enduring artists, Aaliyah, on its first album with a minimal cover of "Hot Like Fire."
Fans on Twitter are already stoked on the news of this union, encouraging Kelela to join The xx during its US show dates, and to link up in the studio for her forthcoming record. Only time will tell what the future holds for these powerhouses, but for now, try to snag yourself a ticket to one of the sold out shows.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Alasdair McLellan
Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois
[i-D, The 35th Birthday Issue, No. 337, Summer 2015]