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.

He is executive producing her Hallucinogen EP, on which “Rewind” is the third track of six. When he began working on the project, most of the songs were finished. Rechtshaid’s role, Kelela explains, is “supplemental and elevating.” She finished most of the songs on the EP well before he came into the picture. “Naturally I was sort of apprehensive just because there’s a way that certain producers can come in—and they’re known for a sound. But I wasn’t familiar with all of the things that an EP brought to the table, and with him it’s more about quality than it is about a particular kind of music. I really respect that.” Maintaining agency and control over her sound was important to Kelela, and Rechtshaid made that possible, while finding ways to make it more resonant with the casual listener, something he’s done already for Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, HAIM, and Madonna.

“Ariel also comes from the experience of somebody who’s not mainstream as a starting point,” she says, “somebody who somehow crept their way into that world and is now treading that line constantly and is able to make things sound really big.” He will do the same with her debut album, tentatively set for release in spring 2016. The guts of the songs that make up both projects though, the EP and the LP, Kelela wrote with many of the producers who made her debut project one of the best releases of 2013.