Here’s Everything To Know About Kelis

Do you remember the 2003 song “Milkshake” from back in the day? It’s probably been a while, but if you were old enough to hear it back then or in movies like Mean Girls, then you’re already well aware that the chorus, “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,” is impossible to forget.

As for the song’s music video, it had singer Kelis looking like a tasty snack, which may have been why Queensbridge rapper Nas decided to shoot his shot with her back in the early 2000s. After that, though, things seemed to go downhill for Kelis, who faded into relative obscurity. Whatever happened to her?

Who is Kelis?

Born in 1979 in Harlem, New York, Kelis Rogers developed an interest in music at an early age. Her parents, Kenneth G (not to be mistaken with the artist Kenny G) and Eveliss Rogers both worked in the fashion and arts industries, Kenneth as a jazz saxophonist and Eveliss as a fashion designer. At age four, Kelis performed with her father in various jazz nightclubs, which later prompted her to pick up the saxophone as a teenager. With encouragement from both parents, Kelis enrolled in LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she studied drama and theatre at the age of 14.

According to Musician Guide, after leaving her parents’ home at 16, Kelis continued to attend high school and later graduated in 1997. During her time in school, she formed an R&B trio called BLU (Black Ladies United), which caught the attention of hip-hop producer Goldfinghas, who later introduced Kelis to RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. This eventually led Kelis to sing back-up on the song “Fairytalz” for the RZA side project, Gravediggaz. She returned to the world of Wu-Tang again to sing alongside Ol’ Dirty Bastard on the record “I Got Your Money.” 

The beginning of a colorful career

Kelis’ feature appearances jumpstarted her solo career as her colorful looks and unique fashion style began to attract attention from a number of fellow artists. Already signed to Virgin Records in 1999, Kelis became friends with Pharrell Williams, one half of the Grammy Award-winning production duo The Neptunes. After working together a few times, the two started to work on Kelis’ first solo project, which eventually led to Pharrell co-writing and producing Kelis’s debut album, Kaleidoscope. The album was released in December of 1999 and shot Kelis into the artist’s spotlight with the single “Caught Out There.”

Kelis’s unique sound and feminist style content made her an instant hit with mainstream culture. She went on to release her second album Wanderland in 2001, but it wasn’t until her third album, Tasty, was released in 2003 that she started to prove that she had the potential to be a major player.

Her Neptunes-produced “Milkshake” earned her a top ten slot on Billboard and became widely known for its infectious chorus. That same year, Pharrell introduced Kelis to Nas and the two began dating briefly before getting engaged in 2003.The two later got married in 2005.

In 2006, Kelis followed up with her fourth album, Kelis Was Here, but the project didn’t earn the traction that she hoped it would. Once again, she disappeared from the music scene and it seems that instead she attempted to focus on family life with husband Nas. The end result of their union, however, was bittersweet. The couple welcomed their first son together, Knight, in 2009 amid a mess of domestic allegations from both parties and the couple ended up separating while Kelis was seven months pregnant. 

Kelis then returned again with her fifth album, Flesh Tone, as a tribute to her son in 2010, with the singles “Acapella” and “Fourth of July” both peaking high in the top ten of the U.S. Dance Club charts. Using her new momentum, she continued to work with artists like Calvin Harris on various collaborative projects like 2011’s “Bounce,” which peaked at #2 on the UK Charts.

From cooking up hits to cooking food

For four years, Kelis left music again to focus on other endeavors before returning to release her sixth album, FOOD, in 2014. According to Red Light Management, the album garnered great reviews and even prompted Kelis to go on tour with a live band to help promote it. The album was considered Kelis’ most underrated project of her career, which showed in the lack of traction the album was able to generate.

After FOOD, Kelis began focusing her efforts on building a career in the culinary world. After attending Cordon Bleu from 2006 to 2010, Kelis began pursuing a part-time career as a saucier, and after 2014, made it a full-time passion. Since then, she has debuted her sauce line, Feast, and earned herself a cooking show, Saucy and Sweet, on the Cooking Channel in 2014. A year later, she released her first cookbook, My Life On A Plate, in 2015. 

Currently, she appears as a co-host on the Netflix cooking competition series Cooked With Cannabis, which began airing in 2020. It seems that she’s also returned to music as well, having recently released a new single (still somehow in the food category) called “Midnight Snacks” just a few weeks ago.

Kelis’ relationship status

After her divorce with Nas, Kelis was able to find love again with her current husband, Mike Mora, who is a realtor and a photographer. According to Distractify, the couple welcomed their first son, Sheperd, in 2015 and recently just welcomed their daughter, Galilee, in Sept. of 2020. 

So far, the couple has shown to have a strong bond during their seven years of marriage, but things may not be the same over the next year or so. Currently, Mike has been battling stage 4 stomach cancer (also known as gastric adenocarcinoma) since 2020 and was given only 18 months to live. 12 months have already passed since that diagnosis.

Kelis’s small fortune

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kelis is worth $4 million, which is actually not surprising since she only makes anywhere from $22-$208K on any given job, be it music or cooking. In addition, Kelis has her own fashion line, Cake, which she’s owned since 2010. It’s probably safe to say that only her music and occupation as a chef make up the bulk of her income, otherwise her net worth would be much higher.

Now 42 years old, the 5′ 9″ Kelis has had an adventurous career befitting of her rebellious personality. Her personal life may not have gone as smoothly as she would have liked, but the singer has never let that stop her from achieving her goals. She even managed to bounce back from her relationship with Nas and found love again, even if bad luck has reared its ugly head for her and her new family.

Hopefully things will turn around and her husband will make a miraculous recovery. Until then, our prayers are with Kelis and her family.