Kelis Rogers better known mononymously as Kelis, is an American singer-songwriter and certified chef.
Kelis Rogers was born and raised in the Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City. Her first name is a portmanteau of her father’s name, Kenneth 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-Puerto Rican 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 bad behaviour, 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. 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 with Virgin Records.
Kelis achieved moderate international success with her 1999 debut album, Kaleidoscope, but left her label Virgin Records after its follow-up, Wanderland, 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, 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.
Between 2006 and 2010, Kelis trained part-time as a saucier, eventually graduating from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. During 2006, Kelis wrote a cookbook with Lauren Pesavento and designed her own line of fashion accessories, called Cake. In 2007, she was in talks to host a Project Runway-esque show for VH1 and auditioned for various film and TV roles.
In 2013, Kelis debuted her sauce line, “Feast”, at the Beverly Hills Food & Wine Festival.The line went on general sale in 2015 under the new name of “Bounty & Full”.Kelis has described sauce as “what accessories are to a woman’s outfit. Sauce defines where the dish is from and who’s making it, I think everything is better smothered, poured, or dipped.”
Nasir Jones (Nas) 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.
Nas and Kelis were married for five years before splitting in May 2010. The hip-hop star Nas has since been open about the split and famously appeared on the cover of his latest album, ‘Life Is Good’, holding his estranged wife’s wedding dress.
His relationship with Kelis, which began in 2002 after the pair met at an MTV Video Music Awards party, sparked a longstanding row with rival rapper Jay-Z, who had previously been romantically linked to Kelis.
Nas has confessed to sending his former wife Kelis texts urging her to “make love to me one last time”.
On July 22, 2009, Kelis gave birth to a son named Knight. The birth was announced by Nas via an online video. The same month, 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 in May 2010. Kelis gave birth to a son, Shepherd, in November 2015. She has not revealed his father’s identity.
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. In September 2008, Kelis was acquitted on charges of resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct stemming back to the 2007 arrest. A spokesman for Kelis further commented that the artist would still be moving forward with a lawsuit against the Miami Beach Police, claiming unlawful arrest and the violation of her civil rights.
Kelis is a feminist, with a net worth of $4 million dollars.