Kelis Rogers known mononymously as Kelis, is an American singer.
Kelis Rogers was born and raised in the Frederick Douglass Houses on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her first name is a portmanteau of her father’s name, Kenneth (1944–2000) and her mother’s name, Eveliss.
Read Also: KOKOnista Of The Day: Sydney Carter Is The Basketball Coach Inspiring Black Women To Unapologetically Slay In Power PositionsHer 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 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. 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.
At age 14, she was admitted to New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she learned to play the saxophone and won a spot in the Girls Choir of Harlem. After she graduated from high school in 1997, Kelis took on a variety of jobs before landing a backup vocal slot on an album track called “Fairytalez”, released by the American hip hop group Gravediggaz. She then began working with music producers, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, known as The Neptunes, which ultimately resulted in her being signed to Virgin Records in 1998.
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