Kelis Said This Was a ‘Defining Moment’ in Her Life

For over two decades, Kelis has entertained audiences everywhere with her infectious music and magnetic personality. Most known for her hit 2003 single “Milkshake,” the singer and songwriter has expanded her empire beyond just music in recent years. One of the biggest moments in her life came at a time when she was at a huge career crossroads several years ago.

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Singer Kelis attends Spotify’s inaugural Secret Genius Awards at Vibiana Cathedral on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Kelis is a platinum-selling artist

Kelis first came on to the music scene in 1999 with her debut album Kaleidoscope; the album was brought to life by star production duo The Neptunes, including a young Pharrell Williams. Her sophomore effort, Wanderland, was released two years later.

Kelis’ mainstream breakout came in 2003 with the release of her worldwide hit “Milkshake.” The single peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and both the single and her third album Tasty achieved gold status with more than 500,000 copies sold in the US.

Kelis’ star continued to rise in the mid-2000s. Her 2006 single “Bossy” with Bay Area rapper Too $hort went double platinum with over 2 million records sold. Not long after that, however, she was dropped by her record label after a lack of support for her fourth album Kelis Was Here, despite the LP earning a Grammy Award nomination.

Kelis began examining other ways of expanding her brand beyond music that same year and found her calling in the food world.

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Kelis attends the UOMA Beauty Launch Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on April 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California | Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for UOMA Beauty

Kelis went to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school

Kelis first began training as a saucier around the time of Kelis Was Here‘s release. In 2008, with no record deal and seemingly no path forward in the music industry, Kelis instead turned her attention to the culinary arts. She enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and continued the tradition of her mother’s home cooking.

Kelis reflected on the decision — and everything that it’s brought her since — in a June 2021 interview with Harper’s Bazaar.

“Culinary school was such a defining moment,” the singer said. “I went in there cooking like my mom, and I left there with my own set of skills and tools.”

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Kelis performs during RNB Fridays Live at Qudos Bank Arena on October 12, 2017 in Sydney, Australia | Don Arnold/WireImage

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Kelis has built a food and sustainability brand, Bounty & Full

Since then, Kelis has made a name for herself as a celebrity chef in addition to being a globally recognized artist. She released her first cookbook, My Life On a Plate, in 2015; that same year, she launched her wellness company Bounty & Full, which produces oils, salts, and her own line of signature sauces. 

In spring 2020, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelis and her family moved to a sprawling farm in Southern California. The property is home to more than 30 livestock animals and boasts a citrus grove as well as olive trees from which she presses her own olive oil. And because she knows the impact of freshly grown food, Kelis grows her own kale, broccoli, herbs, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, eggplant, lettuce, arugula, and different kinds of peppers.