Harlem, New York
Claim to Fame
Urban, Contemporary R&B
Confident, Brash, Energetic, Party/Celebratory, Summery, Stylish, Theatrical, Amiable/Good-Natured, Playful, Sexy, Elegant, Intimate, Sexual, Rousing, Freewheeling, Lively, Swaggering, Reflective, Earthy, Laid-Back/Mellow, Calm/Peaceful
Soundtrack, Actor/Actress, Producer
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La Guardia School for the Arts, NY
Full Name at Birth
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Kelis Rogers Mora (; born August 21, 1979) (née Rogers), better known mononymously as Kelis, is an American singer-songwriter and certified chef. Kelis achieved moderate international success with her 1999 debut album, Kaleidoscope, but left her label Virgin Records after its follow-up, Wanderland (2001), received little sales attention and no U.S. release. Her third album, 2003's Tasty, earned the singer commercial prominence and produced the hit single "Milkshake", her most well-known song. Kelis Was Here (2006), her fourth album, was the subject of further label disputes and she took a hiatus from music after its release, during which she trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. She released the album Flesh Tone in 2010 and her sixth, Food, independently in 2014.
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Profile Bio Text
Kelis Rogers (/kəˈliːs/; born August 21, 1979), better known mononymously as 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 and has released six regular studio albums so far. Outside her native United States, she had 10 top ten singles in the United Kingdom alone.
Kelis Rogers was born and raised in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem, 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 Puerto Rican and Chinese fashion designer who inspired Kelis to pursue her singing career. She has three sisters, Kelis being the third born of the four girls.
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 having 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, she landed 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 in 1999. 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. Later she would distance herself from the release, proclaiming 'I was never an R&B artist'.
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 NME.
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 B'Day.
Kelis performing in 2007
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 Gurtenfestival.
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 album.
Kelis was dropped by Jive Records in late 2007. She later described the period as 'After Kelis Was Here I was done, I was like 'I will never put out another record again', I was in this race that I didn't even realise I was in. I woke up and ten years had passed. That was never the plan'. Her manager at the time said 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 her.
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 Nas).
Couple Profile Source
Talent Agency (e.g. Modelling)
Three Ring Projects, Llc., Drive Talent Inc.
Brown - Dark
iamkelis.com/, www.allmusic.com/artist/kelis-mn0000085397, twitter.com/iamkelis, instagram.com/sausageandboots#, www.facebook.com/i.am.kelis
Music Genre (Text)
R&B, neo soul, house, alternative hip hop, electronic dance, dance-pop
Ninja Tune, Virgin, Star Trak, Arista, Interscope, LaFace, Jive, Geffen, will.i.am
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Kelis is in a long-term relationship with Michael Mora.
She was married to Nas from 2005 to 2010.
She also dated Adewale Ogunleye from 2009 to 2011, Pharrell Williams in 2001 and Jamie Theakston from 2000 to 2001.