was born on August the 21st 1979. She is better known mononymously as
Kelis. Kelis is an American singer-songwriter and certified chef. She has won Brit Awards, Q Awards, and NME Awards, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Outside her native United States, she has had nine top ten singles in the United Kingdom alone. Kelis appeared on Moby's Area One Tour, supported U2 on the European leg of their Elevation Tour, Britney Spears' The Onyx Hotel
Tour and headlined her own All Hearts Tour with Robyn.
Kelis was born and raised in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Her first name is a portmanteau of her father's name, Kenneth (1944–2000), and her mother's name, Eveliss. Her father Kenneth was an African American jazz musician and Pentecostal minister, and was formerly a professor at Wesleyan
University. Her mother Eveliss is a Chinese fashion designer who inspired Kelis to pursue her singing career. She has three sisters, Kelis being the third born of the four
As a child, Kelis sang in church choirs and played violin, piano, and saxophone while attending Manhattan Country School, a private school. At the age of 13, Kelis shaved off all of her hair. In an interview with Charlotte Roche, Kelis says she was kicked out of her parents house at the age of sixteen for
bad behavior stating that she would sometimes clash with her
mother, but continued her education at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she formed the R&B trio BLU (Black Ladies United). Kelis was also a bartender and a sales associate at a clothing store before graduating high school saying that she stole certain items from her job to get by from living out of her parents house; afterwards, a friend introduced Kelis to The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo); they formed a strong bond and with their support, landed herself a record deal.
1998–2002: Kaleidoscope and Wanderland
Kelis began recording her debut album, Kaleidoscope, in mid 1998 and was finished within a year. Produced by The Neptunes, the album debuted at number 144 on the Billboard 200 and reached the top fifty on the Top Heatseekers, selling 11,000 copies in its first week of release. As of 2006 the album had sold 249,000 copies, according to Nielsen
SoundScan. Its lead and most notable single, "Caught out There", peaked at number nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and became a minor
MTV/BET video hit. The entire album took off in Europe, where "Caught out There" was a sizable hit. Kelis's colorful style in both clothing and hair received considerable attention.
"Caught out There" entered and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart in the United Kingdom. A second single, "Good Stuff" (featuring Terrar of Clipse), was a modest hit, securing a number nineteen position on the UK Singles Chart, although the third release, "Get Along with You", only reached number fifty-one in the United Kingdom, despite Kelis promoting the track there. The British Phonographic Industry certified Kaleidoscope
gold, selling over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom, where it reached number forty-three on the UK Albums Chart. Furthermore, Kelis won the BRIT Award for International Breakthrough Act and the NME Award for Best R&B/Soul Act in 2001.
Kelis's second album, Wanderland, was released in 2001 exclusively in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, after its lead single, "Young, Fresh n' New", failed to catch on in the U.S. The video for the song barely registered on
American MTV or VH1, but received heavy airplay on MTV2 as well as on Canada's MuchMusic. According to Kelis, her U.S. record company at the time, Virgin, did not understand Wanderland, and this prompted her to leave the label around the time of the album's European
release. Unlike those of her debut, Wanderland's sales were mediocre, with just 80,000 copies sold worldwide, and the sole single released off the album, "Young, Fresh n' New", only reached number thirty-two in the
UK. The album was, however, well received by publications such as
The Guardian and
In 2002, Kelis recorded her song "So Be It" for the Red Hot Organization's Fela Kuti tribute CD, Red Hot and Riot. The CD was released to four star reviews from Rolling Stone, Vibe, Spin, and Allmusic, and all proceeds were donated to AIDS awareness charities.
Kelis found mainstream success in the U.S. in 2003, with her Hot Dance Club Play number-one, Billboard Hot 100 top three single, "Milkshake"; this helped to propel her third album, Tasty, to sell over 400,000 copies in the U.S in only two months. It also earned her a Grammy Award nomination in 2004 for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Although The Neptunes contributed a number of tracks to the album, Kelis began collaborating with other producers, such as Dallas Austin, André 3000, Rockwilder, and Raphael Saadiq, producing an altogether more eclectic, alternative sound. Speaking to Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul she stated: "I felt like I had a lot to prove with this album. People had started messing with me along the lines of 'Is she REALLY any good without The
Neptunes?' – which I knew was ridiculous. And so I was like 'I'll take that
challenge'." According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album has sold 533,000 copies in the United
States and has gained gold status in the U.S., where "Milkshake" also went
gold, selling over 500,000 copies.
The single and album immediately found success in Europe. According to the BPI, Tasty went platinum in the United
Kingdom, selling over 300,000 copies, and the hit single "Milkshake" went
silver, selling over 200,000 units—it was the UK's fourteenth best-selling single in 2004. The album's second single, the Dallas Austin-produced "Trick Me", also proved successful on radio and music video channels in Europe, and went to the top ten in many European countries during mid-2004. However, the song did not garner success in the U.S. in the absence of promotion from Jive Records, the label Kelis had been transferred to after Arista Records folded at the time of Tasty''s
release. "Trick Me" was important because The Neptunes were, for once, not involved in its production. Kelis's success grew in Australia, where Tasty went gold with over 35,000 copies sold, and where "Milkshake" and "Trick Me" went platinum (selling over 70,000 copies each).
"Not in Love", Kelis's collaboration with Enrique Iglesias from his 2003 seventh studio album, 7, was released as a single the following year, reaching number five in the UK. Although the single failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, it topped the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart. Kelis followed the success of the third Tasty single, "Millionaire" (featuring André 3000), with the Rockwilder-produced, sexually suggestive track "In Public" (featuring Nas). The single reached number seventeen on the UK chart with no video shot.
During this time, she collaborated with Björk on a remix of the first single from Medúlla, "Oceania", which appeared as a B-side to the Björk album's second single, "Who Is It". With the success of Tasty, Kelis went on tour as the opening act for fellow Jive artist Britney Spears's The Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004.
2006–08: Kelis Was Here and The Hits
Kelis's fourth studio album, Kelis Was Here, was released in August 2006, and debuted and peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200. Despite its top ten debut, the album has sold only 157,000 copies in the United States as of October 2007, according to Nielsen
SoundScan. Its lead single, "Bossy" (featuring Too Short), achieved frequent airplay on urban
radio and was a moderate hit in the U.S., peaking at number sixteen. The single "Bossy" also went multi platinum in December 2006 according to the
RIAA. The album includes production credits by Scott Storch, Cee-Lo Green (from the Gnarls Barkley fame), Raphael Saadiq, will.i.am, Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Knobody, Polow da Don, Damon Elliott, Cool and Dre, Sean Garrett, and Bangladesh. Unlike on Kelis's previous efforts, the production duo The Neptunes are not featured at all; Kelis was quoted as saying that it was "very important to me", but also that it was purely a creative decision and that she has no ill will toward Williams or Hugo. Kelis Was Here was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 2007 Grammy Awards, but lost out to Beyoncé's
The second single from the album, which was pushed by her American label (Jive), was the collaboration with Nas, "Blindfold Me". The song missed the Billboard Hot 100, and reached only number ninety-one on the R&B chart. Afterwards, her European label
(Virgin) decided not to release the single and to go instead with the Cee-Lo-featuring "Lil Star", which was another hit for Kelis in the United Kingdom, peaking at number three. In the UK, Kelis Was Here has shipped 60,000 copies and earned a silver certification from the
BPI. It charted at number forty-one only, but concurrent to the popularity of "Lil Star", it re-entered the albums chart in February 2007. According to the ARIA, Kelis Was Here went gold, selling 35,000 despite the fact the album had a debut of only ninety-six on the Australian Albums Chart. The popularity of the album's track "I Don't Think So" increased after its use in promotion for the 2008 season of the reality series Big Brother
Australia. The song peaked at number twenty-seven on the ARIA chart and became a top ten urban hit. During the summer of 2007, Kelis toured in Europe, appearing in numerous festivals across the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, such as Wireless, Rise and
Kelis collaborated with Busta Rhymes and will.i.am on the track "I Love My Bitch", the second single from Rhymes's 2006 seventh studio album, The Big Bang. This was the second time Kelis has teamed up with Rhymes, the first being his 2001 song "What It Is". Kelis is also featured on the soundtrack to the 2005 film Just Like Heaven with a cover version of The Pretenders' 1979 classic "Brass in Pocket", as well as on the soundtrack to the 2006 dance film Step Up with a song called "80's Joint". Ford chose Kelis to help advertise the 2007 Ford Edge, and she recorded a theme song for the commercial, entitled "Push It to the Edge", with help from producer Scott Storch. Kelis was set to be working with Annie Lennox on a duet for the Eurythmics' new album, due to release in late November. Artists such as Pink, Mary J. Blige, and Madonna were also to appear on the
In October 2007, Kelis's manager told Entertainment Weekly that the singer was working with Cee-Lo Green on an alternative dance album and would be shopping a pop album produced by songwriter Guy Chambers, who co-wrote hits such as Robbie Williams's
"Angels". Scottish electronica producer Calvin Harris was also said to be collaborating with
After Kelis left the Zomba label, the label released a fourteen-track greatest hits album entitled The Hits (previously due to be titled Good Stuff – The Best of Kelis) in March 2008 in the United Kingdom. The album does not contain any previously unreleased songs, although Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money", N.E.R.D's "Truth or Dare", and Richard X's "Finest Dreams" appear on the album, which is unusual for a hits collection album as she was a featured, not headlining artist on these tracks. The Hits includes every charted Kelis single to that date with the exception of "Blindfold Me" (featuring
2009–present: Flesh Tone and sixth studio album
In 2009, Kelis announced that she was finishing her fifth studio album, to be released in 2010 under Interscope Records via the will.i.am Music Group. Kelis worked with various producers and contributors on the album, titled Flesh Tone, including Ammo, Jean Baptiste, Benny Benassi, Burns, Diplo, Boys Noize, Free School, DJ Switch, will.i.am and David Guetta. The album marked Kelis' transition into dance and pop music, away from her previous R&B-based
material. She stated that she wanted the album to include elements of dance, pop, and tribal culture (visible in the promotional imagery accompanying Flesh Tone). Coinciding with her change in musical direction, Kelis appeared on Basement Jaxx's 2009 album Scars on the title track, on Benassi's 2010 single "Spaceship" with apl.de.ap and Jean Baptiste, and on the Crookers single "No Security" from their debut album Tons of
The first single from Flesh Tone, "Acapella" (produced by David Guetta), debuted in the top five on the UK Singles Chart and reached number one on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Songs and the UK Dance Chart. Flesh Tone was released in May 2010 in
Europe and Asia, and in July in the U.S., where it debuted at number forty-eight on the Billboard 200 and number five on the Dance/Electronic Albums. The second single, "4th of July
(Fireworks)", was accompanied by a video co-directed by Kelis herself (with John "Rankin" Waddell and Nicole Ehrlich), and became a club hit in America and Britain. Subsequent singles "Scream" and "Brave" made less chart impact.
During mid 2010, Kelis embarked on her first U.S. tour, titled All Hearts with
Robyn, amid a selection of club, festival and solo dates that continued through 2011–these included
Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Good Vibrations and Lovebox. Kelis appears on the Mark Ronson-produced track "The Man Who Stole a Leopard" from the 2010 Duran Duran release All You Need Is Now, and co-wrote the song "Waiting" for British pop singer Cheryl Cole's Messy Little Raindrops. Kelis collaborated with British producer Calvin Harris on the song "Bounce", the lead single from Harris' upcoming third studio
album. The song was released in June 2011 in the United Kingdom and debuted at number two on the UK Singles
In a September 2011 interview, Kelis said that her sixth studio album would be finished "in the next few weeks" and that it would be released in
2012. According to Kelis's management firm, Three Six Zero Group, the album is due for a late 2012 release and will feature production from Skream, BURNS, Tom Neville, Dan Black and
Caspa. Kelis has said of the album, "I've been on a real 1990s vibe with this record, it's kind of trip-hoppish [...] it's more electro, it's a little deeper and
darker". The Skream-produced single "Distance" received its UK radio premiere in June
Kelis is writing a cookbook with Robert Teamer and designing her own line of fashion accessories, called
Cake.] Kelis is in talks to host a Project Runway-esque show for VH1, and is auditioning for various film and TV
roles. Between 2006 and 2010, Kelis trained part-time as a chef, eventually graduating from Le Cordon Bleu culinary
Marriage to Nas
Nasir Jones and Kelis met at an MTV Video Music Awards party in 2002; they dated for one year before becoming engaged in 2004, and marrying in January 2005. In April 2009 she filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences". She was seven months pregnant at the
time. On July 22, 2009, Kelis gave birth to a baby boy named Knight. The birth was announced by Nas via an online
video. On July 23, a judge in New York City ordered Nas to pay Kelis $55,000 per month in child and spousal
support. The couple's divorce was finalized May 29, 2010 .
In March 2007, Kelis was detained by police in Miami Beach, Florida, and charged with disorderly conduct. The arrest report said the officers were posing as prostitutes along a main avenue in the South Beach nightclub district when Kelis started screaming racial profanities at them. She was sent to Miami-Dade County Jail, and was later released on a $1,500
bond. On September 12, 2008, Kelis was acquitted on charges of resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct stemming back to the 2007 arrest. "I'm thrilled that justice prevailed in the end", Kelis said in a statement. A spokesperson for Kelis further commented that the artist will still be moving forward with a lawsuit against the Miami Beach Police, claiming unlawful arrest and the violation of her
civil rights. Kelis was cleared of all charges.
Kelis Was Here (2006)
Flesh Tone (2010)
Live - Youtube
heartwarming adventure: Pirate
whalers V Conservationists,
release as an e-book in 2013 with hopes for a film in