From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kelela performing in 2018
Kelela performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameKelela Mizanekristos
Born (1983-06-03) June 3, 1983 (age 38)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2011–present
Associated actsGorillaz

Kelela Mizanekristos (born June 3, 1983) is an American singer and songwriter. She made her debut in the music industry with the release of her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me. In 2015, she released Hallucinogen, an EP which deals with the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship in reverse chronological order. Her debut studio album, Take Me Apart, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim.

Early life and education[edit]

A second-generation Ethiopian American and an only child, Mizanekristos was born in Washington, D.C. on June 6, 1983.[6] Growing up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, she learned to play the violin in fourth grade and sang in her school's choir.[7] In 2001, she graduated from Magruder High School.[7][8] After transferring from Montgomery College to the American University, Mizanekristos began singing jazz standards at cafés.[7] In 2008, she joined an indie band called Dizzy Spells and sang progressive metal after meeting Tosin Abasi, whom she later dated. In 2010, she moved to Los Angeles,[7] where she currently lives, in addition to London.[9]


2012–2015: Cut 4 Me and Hallucinogen[edit]

In November 2012, Mizanekristos began work on her debut mixtape with already two recorded songs. She later quit her job as a telemarketer to fully pursue her career as a musician.[10] Having moved to Los Angeles, Mizanekristos connected with Teengirl Fantasy and contributed to the group's 2013 album Tracer on the song "EFX", which led her to meet Prince William from the label Fade to Mind.[6] He introduced her to the sound of the record label and its sister imprint from London, Night Slugs. In May 2013, she appeared on Kingdom's "Bank Head", and five months later released her mixtape Cut 4 Me for free.[11] Harriet Gisbone of The Guardian described the mixtape as "an experiment for the production team, the first time the production crew had used vocals on their club tracks."[1] Her track "Go All Night" was included on Saint Heron, a multi-artist compilation album released by Solange Knowles. The mixtape was heavily influenced by grime music, a popular electronic genre based in the UK, and helped revive the subgenre known as Rhythm & Grime.[12][13]

On December 11, 2013, DJ Kitty Cash released her Love the Free mixtape, which featured her song, "The High". Mizanekristos later released the track herself on February 4, 2014, on her SoundCloud.[14] She also featured on Bok Bok's song "Melba's Call", which was released on March 5.[15] On March 3, 2015, Mizanekristos announced the release of her first EP, Hallucinogen, alongside the release of the lead single "A Message" and its accompanying music video.[16] The second single, "Rewind", was released on September 2. The EP covers the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship in reverse chronological order.[17] It includes the previously shared "The High".

2016–present: Take Me Apart[edit]

In 2016, Mizanekristos was featured on "A Breath Away" from Clams Casino's 32 Levels, "From the Ground" from Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition, and "Scales" from Solange's A Seat at the Table. In February 2017, she took part in Red Bull Sound Select's 3 Days in Miami.[18] Later that year, she featured on the track "Submission" alongside rapper Danny Brown and provided additional vocals on the track "Busted and Blue" from Gorillaz's album Humanz.

On July 14, 2017, Mizanekristos announced her debut studio album, Take Me Apart.[19] It was made available for pre-order on August 1 alongside the release of the lead single, "LMK".[20] Three more singles preceded the album, "Frontline",[21] "Waitin"[22] and "Blue Light",[23] before it was released on October 6, 2017.[24] The album received widespread acclaim from music critics and featured on various year-end lists.[25][26] It was also included in the 2018 edition of the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

On June 13, 2018, Mizanekristos was featured on the Girl Unit remix of the song "WYWD", which served as the lead single from his upcoming album, Song Feel. The two have previously worked together on Cut 4 Me's "Floor Show" and Hallucinogen's "Rewind".[27]

On September 12, 2018, Mizanekristos announced Take Me a_Part, the Remixes, a remix album consisting of remixes from her debut album, and shared a remix for "LMK" featuring Princess Nokia, Junglepussy, Cupcakke and Ms. Boogie. The album features contributions from Kaytranada, Rare Essence, Serpentwithfeet and more.[28] On September 26, Mizanekristos shared Kaytranada's "Waitin" remix as the second single from the album.[29] The album was released on October 5, 2018, making it a year since the release of Take Me Apart.

Personal life[edit]

Kelela openly identifies as queer.[30][31]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected details and chart positions.
Title Album details Peak chart positions





UK Indie

Take Me Apart 128 18 4 11 104 3 80 51 7 3

Remix albums[edit]

List of remix albums, with selected details.
Title Album details
Hallucinogen Remixes
  • Released: December 25, 2015
  • Label: Warp
  • Format: Digital download
Take Me a_Part, the Remixes
  • Released: October 5, 2018
  • Label: Warp
  • Format: Digital download


List of mixtapes, with selected details.
Title Album details
Cut 4 Me
  • Released: October 1, 2013
  • Label: Fade to Mind
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected details and chart positions
Title Extended play details Peak chart positions



  • Released: October 9, 2015
  • Label: Warp
  • Formats: LP, digital download
4 4 40


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
BEL (FL) Tip
(with P. Morris and Le1f)
2014 Non-album single
"A Message" 2015 Hallucinogen
"Rewind" 33
"LMK" 2017 Take Me Apart
"Blue Light"
"LMK (What's Really Good)"
(featuring Princess Nokia, Junglepussy, Cupcakke and Ms. Boogie)
2018 Take Me a_Part, the Remixes
"Waitin" (Kaytranada remix)[29]

Guest appearances[edit]

List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"In Tatters" 2011 Daedelus Bespoke
"EFX" 2012 Teengirl Fantasy Tracer
"Bank Head" 2013 Kingdom Saint Heron
"Go All Night" None
"Bank Head" Kingdom Vertical XL
"Melba's Call" 2014 Bok Bok Your Charizmatic Self
"With You" Kindness Otherness
"World Restart" Kindness, Ade
"Geneva" Kindness
"For the Young"
"Autumn (Lude I)" Boots Winter Spring Summer Fall
"Want It" Tink, DJ Dahi Songs from Scratch
"Dangerzone" 2015 Future Brown, Ian Isiah Future Brown
"Soulful Beat" Mocky Key Change
"Weather Any Storm"
"Living in the Snow"
"Airy" Obey City Merlot Sounds
"A Breath Away" 2016 Clams Casino 32 Levels
"From the Ground" Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition
"Scales" Solange A Seat at the Table
"Submission" 2017 Gorillaz, Danny Brown Humanz
"WYWD" (remix) 2018 Girl Unit Song Feel


  1. ^ a b Gibsone, Harriet (12 December 2013). "The best albums of 2013: No 7 – Cut 4 Me by Kelela". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  2. ^ Offner, Daniel (October 11, 2015). "Just Can't Get Enough Of Kelela". Salute Magazine. Archived from the original on May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Vain, Madison (October 17, 2017). "Kelela wants her 'empowering' music to help people find 'solace'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "R&G: A Brief History of Grime's Softer Side". 18 January 2017. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  5. ^ "10 R&G Songs You Should Revisit". Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  6. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Kelela: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Richards, Chris (14 April 2014). "Kelela: An R&B star-to-be". Style. The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Kelela's Philosophy of Love". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Starling, Lakin (October 3, 2018). "Kelela Is Ready For You Now". The Fader.
  10. ^ Greeley, Shakeil (March 29, 2018). "Kelela Is Thriving in an Unkind World". GQ Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Cut 4 Me - Kelela". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Sweet Boy Pose: the 25 greatest r'n'g tracks". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2014-05-09. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  13. ^ "R&G: A Brief History of Grime's Softer Side". 18 January 2017. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  14. ^ "Kelela - "The High"". Stereogum. February 5, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  15. ^ Frank, Alex (5 March 2014). "Video: Bok Bok feat. Kelela, "Melba's Call"". The Fader. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  16. ^ Camp, Zoe (March 3, 2015). "Kelela Announces Hallucinogen EP, Shares Arca Collab "A Message"". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "Album Of The Week: Kelela Hallucinogen". Stereogum. 6 October 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Duran, Jose D. (January 31, 2017). "Red Bull Sound Select's 3 Days in Miami Returns With Angel Olsen, Goldlink, and Kelela". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  19. ^ Dandridge-Lemco, Ben (July 14, 2017). "Kelela's Debut Album Is Titled Take Me Apart". The Fader. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  20. ^ Moran, Justin (August 1, 2017). "Kelela Debuts 'Take Me Apart' Album Art & Lead Single". Out. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  21. ^ Lozano, Kevin. ""Frontline" by Kelela Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  22. ^ Starling, Lakin (October 3, 2017). "Kelela comes face to face with the past on "Waitin"". The Fader. Retrieved September 26, 2018. It's the third single from her forthcoming debut album Take Me Apart.
  23. ^ McInerney, Anastasia (October 5, 2017). "kelela shares moody new track 'Blue Light'". i-D. Retrieved September 26, 2018. the artist took to Instagram to announce a fourth single from the record titled Blue Light
  24. ^ "Take Me Apart by Kelela on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  25. ^ "Reviews and Tracks for Take Me Apart by Kelela". Metacritic. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "Best Of 2017: Music Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. November 27, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  27. ^ Dunn, Frank (June 13, 2018). "wow! girl unit and kelela just created your 2018 summer jam". i-D. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  28. ^ Yoo, Noah (September 12, 2018). "Kelela Shares New "LMK" Remix With CupcakKe, Princess Nokia, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  29. ^ a b "KAYTRANADA_WAITIN_115 BPM - Single by Kelela & KAYTRANADA on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  30. ^ Brinkhurst-Cuff, Charlie (October 14, 2017). "Kelela on the joy and pain of being a black, queer musician". Dazed. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "KELELA – Explores The Intersections Of Being A Queer Woman Of Colour In Music (OysterMag)". The LGBT Update. May 16, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  32. ^ "Kelela Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  33. ^ "Kelela – Chart history: Top R&B Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Kelela – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  35. ^ a b "Kelela – Chart history: Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Discografie Kelela". (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  37. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums". Official New Zealand Music Chart. October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  38. ^ "Discographie Kelela". Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  39. ^ "Kelela | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  40. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart". Official Charts Company. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  41. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40: 13 October 2017 – 19 October 2017". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  42. ^ "Kelela – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard.