I believe there is a thread of continuity that connects the then, the now, and the next, the past to the present to the prospect. There is a bridge that is built from our reality to what we recall, our future from what we find familiar, a connection between the classic and the current. The classical elements include Earth, Air, Fire, and Water – whether you see them as a sensory experience or a state of matter – and are earthly elements, classical and corruptible, able to be changed. The current combination of aether was added, a celestial substance, enlightened and invariable. This 5th element is where we find Kellee Maize.
Like aether, Kellee is on an elevated level. Forming her first rap group at the age of 9 called Thunder and Lightning, she recalls that they “mostly just argued about who was Thunder and who was Lightning,” but out of those cassettes made as kids came Kellee the artistic adult. She started on stage in 2000, but feeling like she wasn’t channeling any change and a lack of currency curtailed her confidence and propelled her into the professional workforce, sending her on a spiritual journey. Working at the Pittsburgh City Paper, Kellee learned a lot about the industry while promoting other local artists and went on to become the Events and Promotions Director. That professional period provided her with insight and experience, time to grasp and grow, educate herself and evolve.
Kellee released her first album, Age of Feminine, in 2007, and hasn’t stopped since. She has been compared to Nikki Minaj for her sound and Lauryn Hill for the social commentary that comes from her lyrics, but Kellee is unclassified. It’s clear that she is more than a voice, but a visionary, more than an artist, but an activist, using hip hop as her outlet to educate and express. Her second contribution, Aligned Archetype, came out in 2010, followed by the third and fourth – Integration and Owl Time – in 2011 and 2012.
Kellee uses music not just as a means to cope, but to contribute. Her Song City of Champions was voted the # 1 Steelers fan song by WTAE TV. She has topped Amazon’s free albums chart and held the honor of most downloaded musician on FrostWire. She rallied so many fans for the Road to Roo voting competition last year that she won, and was one of 2 Sonicbirds artists that was selected to play Bonnaroo, and she solidified her status as Google’s most searched female rapper with a video.
However, she doesn’t just contribute creatively, but communally as well. She founded a female owned and operated socially conscious company called Nakturnal. A marketing and events organization, Nakturnal works to help women, support independent artists, and raise awareness. Instead of forming a fan club that has a hierarchy, separates the famed one from the fans, Kellee created The Owl Tribe so that everyone was equal. A movement of men and women, a community of creativity, and ecosystem of expression, The Owl Tribe is built around a belief system and backed by all kinds of collaborators.
In all of Kellee’s archetypes is something similar, from past to present and beyond. Her music is a mirror, a projection of positive energy. She is not selfish with self-promotion, but shares her success with the creative community, her fellowship of fans, and all aspiring artists. “I will insinuate, communicate, and elevate until everyone has freedom they can celebrate,” she says in L’Outro. Her fifth release, The 5th Element, comes out on Valentines Day, February 14th. Being that Kellee made it available for her fans to download for free (today is the last day to download it for free, go do it), she already has me swooning over her songs, in love with her lyrics. Kellee is a combination of classic and current, artist and activist, the physical and the spiritual, and all the elements in between.