Ten years after tearing into an unfaithful boyfriend on her hit debut track “Caught Out There,” and seven years after topping the charts with “Milkshake,” Kelis is back to prove herself as an electro-pop, R&B princess who doesn’t need a main man in her life.
But the album almost never came out.
Thanks to a rocky five-year marriage to rapper Nas — they divorced last May, months after the birth of their baby, Knight — Kelis wasn’t quite in the mood for music.
“I didn’t feel like singing anymore so I took cooking lessons at Le Cordon Bleu school,” she says. “I always enjoyed big tables and having my friends for dinner. I took my time, and when I got my diploma, singing came back as naturally as it flew away,”
With no contract, Kelis found a new home at will.i.am’s label, and the woman who was once Pharrell Williams’ muse chose the Black Eyed Pea as her mentor. “Will is crazy with music,” she says. “He spends his free time listening and reading about music. And he has this gift of understanding ahead of the game what will be the next sound.”
With DJs like David Guetta, Diplo and Benny Benassi, “Flesh Tone” is radically different from the star’s previous albums. “It’s been a while since I got interested in dance music,” she says. “I didn’t try to stand out from anyone, I just wanted to pay a tribute to the music I like.”