Kellee Maize

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kellee Maize
Kellee Maize.jpg
Born (1980-01-18) January 18, 1980 (age 43)
Years active2007–present
Musical career
OriginPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
LabelsIndependent Artist

Kellee Maize (born January 18, 1980) is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter.[1] Her first album, Age of Feminine, was released in 2007. Maize has recorded and released six full albums and several singles.[2] As of 2011, her YouTube videos had combined for over four million views, and she had over 180,000 Twitter and Facebook fans. Her albums had been downloaded over 400,000 times, and she has been mentioned in various media outlets over 200 times.[3] According to a news report in 2011, a Google search for “female rapper” displayed her website as the number one search result.[4]

Early life[edit]

Maize was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and adopted by Christine and Terry Maize, who lived in New Berlin, a small town in Central Pennsylvania.[5][6] At the age of nine she started her first rap group, Thunder and Lightning. She recorded her own song on a cassette tape with her best friend and glued a picture of them to the cover.[7] Maize graduated from Mifflinburg Area High School.[8] In her teens she moved to Pittsburgh and in 2000 began rapping and singing on stage, but financial need led her to the workforce. At age 18, Maize began studying at the University of Pittsburgh as a drama major, and later switched her major to communications.[7][9][10][11]

Maize worked at the Pittsburgh City Paper and began promoting events around the city. During her time there, she helped launch multiple programs supporting and promoting local musicians and spoken word artists, as well as a local fashion show.[12] She was soon promoted to the position of events and promotions director. After experiencing her mother going through a near death bout with cancer and the sudden passing of her father, Maize again turned to music as a way to cope.[9][7]


Early career[edit]

In 2006 Maize founded Näkturnal, a Pittsburgh-based guerrilla marketing firm.[13] The company has worked with many big name organizations, including the ONE Campaign, and EcoSMART and is involved in Pittsburgh nightlife.[1][14] Maize remains the owner and CEO of the company, and uses the company to promote her own music.[8][7]

Maize released her first rap album, Age of Feminine, independently in June 2007. The album features traditional hip hop beats. The 11-song album received positive reviews with over two million listens and over one hundred thousand downloads.[3][2] Her second album, Aligned Archetype, was released nationally in January 2010. The album features the sounds of dubstep, hip hop, and Baltimore club.[1] The album received critical success online and became the featured album for FrostWire, where she became the Most Downloaded Artist on FrostWire Ever, with over 135,000 full album downloads in one month.[10]

Integration to present[edit]

Maize's third album, Integration, was released on November 11, 2011. The album received immediate attention as it was downloaded over one hundred thousand times within its first month of being released on FrostWire alone.[13] The success of this album helped her become the number-one most downloaded artist on In June 2011, Maize joined Eminem, Lil Wayne, OutKast, J. Cole, and others as one of the seven hip hop acts to perform at Bonnaroo in Tennessee.[15][16] She performed a 45-minute set list along with long-time collaborator DJ Huggy.[17] Maize then began work on her fourth studio album and released the single "Google Female Rapper", a freestyle over Twista’s popular song, "Overnight Celebrity".[18]

During an interview in 2012 with XXL, Maize said she would like to change hip hop by "rapping and singing about things that aren’t found in mainstream hip hop like yoga, environmentalism, oneness, spirituality, beings from other dimensions, and indigenous wisdom."[19] Maize was featured in a 2012 Global Grind article about white female rappers.[20]

Maize's fourth album, Owl Time, was released December 12, 2012.

Her fifth album, The 5th Element, was officially released on Valentine's Day 2014. The album had been available exclusively to the Jamendo community 10 days prior. By the 15th of February, The 5th Element had gathered over 90,000 plays and over 6,000 downloads on Jamendo alone. The main theme of The 5th Element has been cited as love.[21] The album design features over 1,000 fans that sent pictures of themselves displaying love in whatever way they saw fit.[22]

Her sixth album, The Remixes, was released in 2015 and released nine remixes of Maize's songs.[23]

She launched her acting career in June 2017, appearing as the character Popp in the Adult Swim show Decker.

Personal life[edit]

Maize, who was adopted as a baby, reconnected with her biological family at the age of 22.[6] Her biological father is actor Jimmy McNichol, who fathered her at age 18, and her biological aunt is former actress Kristy McNichol.[24][5] Maize and McNichol unsuccessfully pitched a television special, which they hoped could tell their story of reconnecting.[7] Through McNichol, Maize has two siblings. Her brother interned at her marketing company, Nakturnal.[7] Maize is married to Joey Rahimi and has one son, Mateo.[6][7]

As of 2016, Maize lives in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[7]

Activism and spirituality[edit]

Maize is an activist on women's rights, environmentalism, and issues relating to poverty and racism. Her spiritual side is reflected in her music. She studies world and environmental issues, the power of intention, meditation, quantum physics, astrology, Tarot and indigenous wisdom. Maize feels her purpose in life is to make music that sends out good energy and that makes people think.[9] In 2012, of her meditation practice, Maize said, "I learned Transcendental Meditation many years ago and found it to be life changing."[25]

In 2013 Maize performed at Zeitgeist Media festivals in Los Angeles and New York City supporting The Zeitgeist Movement, the world's largest peaceful social movement that advocates the replacement of the current global system with a highly technical sustainable society called a resource-based economy. Maize also appeared in TZM founder Peter Joseph's short documentary Culture in Decline 6: Take of Two Worlds.[26] In 2020 she appeared in Peter Joseph's movie InterReflections singing "Welcome to the Freak Show" song.

Maize has said that she "has issues with politics" but supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election. She released a single, "#MakeLoveNotTrump" online on October 19, 2016 in opposition to candidate Donald Trump.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In polls taken by the Pittsburgh City Paper, Maize was voted in the "Top 3 Best Hip Hop Performers" three years in a row (2008–2010). In 2010 she secured the number two spot behind Wiz Khalifa.[28] In 2010, Maize was nominated as "Best Female Artist at the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards". [29]

Maize's single, "City of Champions", which was on her album, Aligned Archetype, competed against Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ favorite "Road to the Super Bowl" song.[30]

In 2011, Maize was nominated as one of Pittsburgh Magazine's and PUMP's 40 Under 40. The award recognizes individuals that are committed to shaping Western Pennsylvania.[8]




Year Title Role Ref.
2017 Decker Popp
2020 InterReflections Freak Show Human Resources


  1. ^ a b c Staff, Tribune Review. "Personality Test: Kellee Maize". TribLive. Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b Kademlia (29 January 2010). "Kellee Maize:Aligned Archetype". FrostClick. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b SonicBids Bio
  4. ^ Jentzen, Aaron. "Google <3s Kellee Maize". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b Maize, Kellee (11 Oct 2014). "Creating Reality on Oprah: Finding My Famous Birth Dad and Aunt and Sharing the First Piece of Our Story". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 October 2014. My birth dad Jimmy McNichol and my aunt Kristy McNichol, both were huge stars in the 70s.
  6. ^ a b c Gifford, Michelle. "Kellee Maize: Rapper, Singer, Activist, Entrepreneur, and Adoptee". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Rouvalis, Cristina (June 22, 2016). "Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show". Pittsburgh Magazine. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c McKinney, Tara D. "Kellee Maize 24". The Daily Item. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b c "Kellee Maize". Jamendo. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  10. ^ a b Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (30 March 2012)
  11. ^ Mervis, Scott. "Hip-Hop to Britpop: New releases from Kellee Maize, Mace Ballard, Summer-Winter and Black Crash". Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  12. ^ Pittsburgh City Paper
  13. ^ a b IronCitySound (November 2011) Archived 2015-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Nakturnal Portfolio
  15. ^ Cy-Magazine (11 June 2011)
  16. ^ The NQM (11 May 2011)
  17. ^ Blogs sites Post-Gazette (13 June 2011)
  18. ^ Leroy. "Video: Kellee Maize - Google Female Rapper". SpotlightTV. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  19. ^ XXL Staff. "The Break Presents: Kellee Maize". XXL. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  20. ^ Lewis, Brittany (11 July 2012). "Vanilla Vixens! 10 White Female Rappers". Global Grind. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  21. ^ Mervis, Scott. "Kellee Maize spreads the love on 'The 5th Element'". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  22. ^ The 5th Element by Kellee Maize
  23. ^ Kademlia. "Kellee Maize: The Remixes". Free Music Archive. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  24. ^ Okura, Lynn (December 10, 2017). "Meet Kellee Maize, The Daughter '70s Heartthrob Jimmy McNichol Never Knew He Had (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Kellee Maize". 29 April 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved 22 September 2014. I learned Transcendental Meditation many years ago and found it to be life changing.
  26. ^ "Culture in Decline | Episode #6 "Tale of Two Worlds" by Peter Joseph". YouTube.
  27. ^ a b Mervis, Scott. "Rapper Kellee Maize, Peachie Wimbush team up to target Trump". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  28. ^ "Culture + Nightlife Readers' Poll Results". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  29. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (28 March 2012)
  30. ^ Spagnolo, Don (26 January 2011). "Best of the Web: The Top 20 Links of the Week". CBS Pittsburgh. CBS. Retrieved 26 January 2011.

External links[edit]