Alumni News / Exclusives / Featured / News

Exclusive: POPLYFE Splits Up, Kehlani Starts New Group


Kehlani Parrish, Dillon Ingram and Denzel Merritt have formed a new group called CONTRABAND

Oh, no!  One of our all-time favorite acts from AMERICA’S GOT TALENT is going through a major shakeup.

POPLYFE, the funky teen band from Northern California that finished in 4th place last season, has parted ways with three of its six members — including lead singer Kehlani Parrish!

Kehlani — who, let’s face it, was the real star of the band  – had a chance to ditch her “brothers” last summer when judge Piers Morgan essentially offered to pass her through as a solo act.

She declined.

Now, as the soon-to-be high school senior tells us: “Everybody has been sayin’  ‘I guess her brothers left her now…’”

But there is good news:  Kehlani has since re-teamed with exiled Poplyfers Dillon Ingram and Denzel Merritt to form CONTRABAND –which will perform its first major concert July 21 in San Jose.

We caught up with Kehlani earlier today to find out more:

Q: How are you holding up?
It has been a little bumpy, but I am trying to bring myself back up.

Q:  So what happened to POPLYFE?
KP: As kids, we were starting to grow older and just noticing problems within the way the band was working.  It was becoming less and less like a family and more and more like a company.  People’s heads were in it for the wrong reasons.  Personally I haven’t had everything I wanted or haven’t had a silver spoon my whole life, so I know how it is to struggle.  I wasn’t in this for the money.  I am in this because it is what I love to do.  I want to be a musician.  Other people’s heads weren’t in the same place.

Q:  Did they kick you out or did you leave?
KP: When I see a problem, I am not going to just let it happen.  I am going to voice my opinion.  I was pointing out these things.  Me and the other two boys that I am currently together (with) were just noticing all these problems and it was like… it seemed to be the people who weren’t directly related weren’t working out.  So we had a meeting and they decided that it wasn’t going to work for all of us to stay.  And we were happy to go anyway.  Because it wasn’t working out anymore.  It was really sad.

(Note:  The remaining members of POPLYFE are Dylan Wiggins, Jaden Wiggins and Ali-Khan Lochin.  Dylan and Jaden are the sons of D’Wayne Wiggins, the band’s producer/manager and a former member of the 1990s R&B group Tony Toni Tone )

Q:  So you and Dillon Ingram and Denzel Merritt formed a group of your own?
KP: Yeah.  Everybody has been telling me to go solo.  But there is something about being on stage with the people that I love that made it easier.  So why not?  I am gonna get a band if I ever go solo.  I already love these boys.  I wouldn’t want to leave them.

Q:  What is crazy is that Piers Morgan told you last year to ditch the guys.  But you wouldn’t.
KP: Yeah, everybody has been sayin’ “I guess her brothers left her now…”

Poplyfe in 2011

Q:  How is the new band going to be similar or different from POPLYFE?
KP: Well with POPLYFE, there is kind of a hierarchy within the band because of, like, who is related to the manager and who’s son is who.  All this kind of stuff.  So we decided that we are all equally participating.  We are all going to let each other have whatever creative freedom that we wanted to.  One of the problems with POPLYFE was teh kids weren’t getting to make any decisions.  Whether it was wardrobe or music or anything.  So this time we said it is gonna be ran by the kids instead of ran by adults.  We are just going to have fun and see how far this takes us.

Q:  You are learning one of the oldest lessons of the music business.
KP: With me, if I fall, I am gonna brush my shoulders off.  Right now I am brushing my shoulders off.

Q:  Do you have any gigs lined up?
KP: We are doing a really, really big gig on July 21.  It is a really big “Gone But Not Forgotten” Concert.  TLC is going to be opening up for the whole show.  We are gonna do some Amy Winehouse and some Donnie Hathaway.

Q:  Are you watching AMERICA’S GOT TALENT this year?
KP: I haven’t because I haven’t gotten over my AGT withdrawls yet.  I watched the auditions and I just cried because I missed it all. It just brought back so many emotions because I did it with POPLYFE.

Check out CONTRABAND on Facebook 



Tags: ,