Kelela Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 15

Kelela Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 15
Photo: Rick Clifford
"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."