"My mission tonight is to put people on to the depth and breadth of the tradition that I'm singing in," Kelela coolly told the Bell Stage audience of her alt-R&B and electronic leanings. "Some people think it's basic, but those are the most basic people."
Little about Kelela's Quebec City debut was basic; her singing skill and exquisite production wowed the crowd for a half hour of stage time that felt all too short. Some well-timed echo effects on her microphone brought sonic depth in spades to "A Message" and "Gomenasai," the latter featuring some remarkably tight head voice ad-libbing to close.
Kelela's groove-rooted production, as booming as it was through a mainstage sound system, never overpowered her own vocals through "The High" and "Can't Rewind." Kelela even worked in a taste of what's to come from her freshly titled forthcoming LP Take Me Apart, harmonizing with a backing track to stunning effect in playing its titular song.
The crowd's support didn't go unnoticed. "This is a lot of love for a first opener, it really means a lot," she said in thanks. "If I weren't brown, I would be blushing."