Kelis reveals she didn’t receive any sales royalties from her first two albums in a new interview with The Guardian.
It’s 20 years since the release of Kelis‘ debut album Kaleidoscope. The record was an international success, led by the single ‘Caught Out There’. The album was made in partnership with Kelis’ then good friends Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, aka The Neptunes. Williams and Hugo wrote and produced the entire album and its follow-up Wanderland.
Watch: Kelis – Caught Out There
The Neptunes were fast becoming in demand hit-makers at the time, having already worked with the likes of Clipse, Blackstreet and MC Lyte. Kelis told The Guardian they’d agreed to split everything three ways. However, the agreement was never put in writing and Williams and Hugo’s management got in the way.
Kelis signed the publishing contract based on her trust for Pharrell, who she’d met through a mutual friend. She later discovered she’d been “blatantly lied to and tricked.”
“Their argument is: ‘Well, you signed it.’ I’m like: ‘Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.’”
By the time of her third album, Tasty, Kelis was eager to work with different writers and producers. But she “could tell [The Neptunes] were really offended.” Williams and Hugo wound up writing and producing five of the album’s 14 tracks. Included among these was the worldwide smash hit ‘Milkshake’.
Watch: Kelis – Milkshake
But despite the song’s commercial success, Kelis says she’d never work with Pharrell again. “Ummm, at that point there’s having faith and there is also just stupidity,” she said.
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She also had harsh words for the city of Los Angeles in the interview. “There’s nowhere to go after 10 at night, so suddenly you’re getting up early in the mornings and you’re juicing and you’re hiking and figuring out how much wheatgrass can you actually intake. I hate it,” she said.