Sexy songstress and milkshake minx Kelis is ready to serve up Kelis Was Here, her first album in almost three years. “I feel like I’m one of the originators of this whole thing that we’re doing with women, and where female artists are going,” she says while discussing “Bossy,” her new single. “I’m kind of just reminding people where I come from.” That may be true, but Nas, her famous husband, has his own ideas about what it’s like to be with the boss lady.
INSTINCT: Kelis, you’ve got so many booty-shakin’ anthems — “Got Your Money,” “Milkshake” and now “Bossy.” You do realize this is like flypaper for the gays, right?
KELIS: Honey, you have no idea! You don’t even know! One day I went out with one of my closest friends and we were just having a good time, and he stopped and goes, “Just look at you! You are just a hot mess! Why is it you’re always surrounded by 12 gay guys everywhere we go?” I was like, “I don’t know!” [Laughs] They love me and I love them. That’s generally always how it’s been. Always!
So you are like gay flypaper, then.
But it was so random, because we really just went out that night and were hanging out, and he’s like, “You attract more gay men than I do.” I said, “I don’t know what to tell you. I’m a good magnet for you! Use me!”
What’s the naughtiest thing about you?
You know what’s really crazy? I was sitting around thinking the other day, listening to my album and kind of figuring out what my story is. I was looking at it, and it’s weird because that’s how my mind works. But in my real life, I’m really not naughty.
I mean, I guess I am because my mind works that way, obviously. But I’m really normal and I’m pretty conventional. I like things that girls like. I’m a girl’s girl, you know?
So, getting back to naughty…
I guess the naughty side is just the things that I think are cool, or the things I think are interesting or things that I know will make people’s nose scrunch up. [Laughs] I like making people do that, but it’s not like that’s what I do all day in my life. People automatically assume, like when I did a song called “In Public,” that I have this sexual fetish. But I totally don’t! [Laughs] I just sort of thought up that [song] because I thought it was fun and interesting. But I don’t even know if I’d like sex in public that much. Because it’s in public! It’s not comfortable! And I’m always cold, so that would suck!
Especially sex on a sidewalk.
How is that realistic? Who could do that?
When last we saw, you had a big ol’ head of hair. But in your new video for “Bossy,” you cut it all off. What prompted the change? Child, it was just time to go! You know how you just feel like, Ugh!
The “ugh” stage for hair is the worst!
I was dying for a change! I just had an epiphany one day and I was thinking, I should totally cut it in my video—that would be so much more fly. I really had to wait. The last week was just pure turmoil for me.
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Did you have that split second after you did it where you were ready to cry?
Oh, hell no! Actually, funnily enough, my original plan was to do a cute little bob. And I looked at myself and said, “Yeah, that’s cute, but I need way more drama. People don’t wanna see me come out with this half-assed job with some sort-of haircut.”
You wrote on the blog on your website that people thought you had a weave when your hair was longer.
You know, I think that some people are just stupid and hateful. I know a lot of people knew it was my hair, because it looks like my hair. But then other people were like, “Girl, that can’t be real.” For the record, I cannot tell you how many people used to come to me—like, strangers—and just stuck their hands on my head.
Okay, that’s just creepy.
Yes! Just to stroke my scalp! [Laughs] I’m like, “Don’t do that!” But people used to always touch me. I don’t know why. To this day, my husband is always like, “Why are people always coming up to you and touching your hair?” Even now that it’s short, people touch my hair. But when it was longer, people were drawn to it. [Laughs]
Speaking of your husband, Nas, does he think you’re bossy?
Actually, when I first did the record and I came home, I said, “Hey, honey, I finished my first single.” And he was like, “Yeah, well, the caption next to it should say ‘Bossy’ and then in parentheses, ‘No, really.’” He thinks he’s quite the comedian.
It’s been three years since your last album, Tasty. Tell us about putting Kelis Was Here together.
It’s like an outfit. It just took me a long time to put the outfit together. Some days you get up in the morning and you’re like, “This is what I’m gonna wear.” You put it on and you feel fabulous. And then you’ve got other days when you’re sitting in your closet, like, “I have nothing to wear!” This album has been that for me. [Laughs] This album has been the “I have nothing to wear” outfit day. It just took me a long time to put the outfit together.
What hot recipes can we find in your cookbook coming out later this year?
Look, I don’t wanna be in the kitchen eight hours a day just to make dinner. That’s not my idea of fun! However, I love having people over to my house. All my friends come over and we have wine, we sit down, we eat. A lot of cooking shows and cookbooks are ridiculous. I have to go find these ingredients, and it’s so annoying! [Laughs] Who has time for that? I have a life, and I’m not going searching for some seasoning! So my book is easy, it’s fun and you can still enjoy your party as opposed to being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is toasting Chardonnay. That’s not fun! I wanna toast Chardonnay, too!
Robbie Daw dishes out pop music news and sass daily on his site Chart Rigger.