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Kelela @ Broccoli City Festival.jpg
Kelela performing in April 2014
Background information
Birth name Kelela Mizanekristos
Born (1983-06-06) June 6, 1983 (age 34)
Washington, D.C., United States
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010–present
  • Warp
  • Cherry Coffee
  • Fade to Mind
Associated acts

Kelela Mizanekristos (English pronunciation: /kə'lɛlə/, born 6 June 1983), known mononymously as Kelela, is an Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter. Her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, earned praise from music critics and contemporaries such as Solange Knowles and Björk, and was listed in various publications' year-end lists. Seeking to make the mixtape sound like a remix album,[2] Kelela added her own vocals over instrumental tracks by DJs from the Fade to Mind and Night Slugs labels. In October 2015, she released an EP, Hallucinogen, and is continuing work on a full-length album.[3][4]

Life and career[edit]

A first-generation Ethiopian American, Kelela was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland and graduated from Magruder High School in 2001.[5] She has been based in Los Angeles since 2010.[1] After transferring from Montgomery College to American University, Kelela began singing jazz standards at cafés.[5] In 2008, she joined an indie band called Dizzy Spells and tried to sing progressive metal after meeting Tosin Abasi, whom she later dated.[5]

Having moved to Los Angeles, Kelela 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.[2] He introduced her to the sound of the record label and its sister imprint from London, Night Slugs, which Spin has described as "one of the most distinctive sounds in U.K. dance music, a mutable hybrid of grime, house, electro, R&B, techno, hip hop, and dubstep."[6] In May 2013, she appeared on Kingdom's "Bank Head", and five months later released her mixtape Cut 4 Me for free.[7] Harriet Gisbone of The Guardian described the album 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 compilation album released by Solange Knowles. In February 4, 2014, Kelela released "The High". In March 2014, Kelela was featured in Bok Bok's song "Melba's Call".[8]

Kelela announced the forthcoming release of her Hallucinogen EP on March 3, 2015 along with the release of the music video of its lead single "A Message", produced by Arca.[9] The second single, "Rewind" was released in September 2. Hallucinogen was released in October 9.[10] The EP covers the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship in reverse chronological order.[11]

In February 2017, Kelela took part in "Red Bull Sound Selects" reputable 3 Days Miami among artists GoldLink, Angel Olsen, Brika, and many others. [12]

Kelela, along with rapper Danny Brown, appeared on the track "Submission" from virtual band Gorillaz' album Humanz. She also provided uncredited guest vocals on the track "Busted and Blue" from the same album.


Extended plays[edit]

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


Hallucinogen 4 4


List of mixtapes, with selected details
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Cut 4 Me
  • Released: October 1, 2013
  • Label: Fade to Mind
  • Format: digital download


List of singles as lead artist
Title Year Album
(with P. Morris and Le1f)
2014 non-album single
"The High" Hallucinogen
"A Message" 2015

Guest appearances[edit]

List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"EFX" 2012 Teengirl Fantasy Tracer
"Bank Head" 2013 Kingdom Saint Heron
"Go All Night" N/A
"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


  1. ^ a b c Gibsone, Harriet (12 December 2013). "The best albums of 2013: No 7 – Cut 4 Me by Kelela". Music Blog. The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Kelela: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Caramanica, Jon (2015-11-25). "Kelela Continues the Swagger of ’90s R&B on ‘Hallucinogen’". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  4. ^ Ester, Dean. "D.C.-bred R&B singer Kelela returns home to U Street Music Hall". 
  5. ^ a b c Richards, Chris (14 April 2014). "Kelela: An R&B star-to-be". Style. The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Sherburne, Philip (February 13, 2013). "Night Slugs' Bok Bok on Grime, Texture, and Moving Beyond 'Bass Music'". Spin. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Cut 4 Me - Kelela". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Frank, Alex (5 March 2014). "Video: Bok Bok feat. Kelela, "Melba’s Call"". The Fader. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Camp, Zoe (3 March 2015). "Kelela Announces Hallucinogen EP, Shares Arca Collab "A Message"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Twitter, Kiana Fitzgerald. "Songs We Love: Kelela, 'Rewind'". Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  11. ^ "Album Of The Week: Kelela Hallucinogen". Stereogum. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  12. ^ Duran, Jose D. (2017-01-31). "Red Bull Sound Select's 3 Days in Miami Returns With Angel Olsen, Goldlink, and Kelela". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  13. ^ "Kelela – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. 
  14. ^ "Kelela – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard.