I’d like to introduce you to an up & coming female rapper from right here in Pittsburgh! Her name’s Kellee Maize, and without being signed, she’s managed to captivate a following with over 400,000 album downloads and a #1 spot on Amazon.com.
Check out this video and learn a bit about Kellee by reading her own words below:
My mom always said, I “was dancing and singing before she could walk and talk.” I began to rap and perform at a young age to entertain myself and escape reality. My childhood best friend helped me form my first rap group called Thunder and Lightning at age 9. We mostly just argued about who was Thunder and who was Lightning, but we did record a few cassettes and give them to our parents with our pictures on them.
Despite incredibly loving parents who I would die for, I always had a bit of an “alien” mentality as I was only one of two people I knew until age 18 that was adopted. To this day, I know very little about my biological family. This has always had a very deep effect on who I am and how I deal with life. However, I feel like it was part of the plan and feel blessed to be a Maize.
I moved to Pittsburgh in my teens with the dream of making an impact on the world. I just felt drawn to the city, like there was something waiting for me here. I learned more about the negative sides of our society through study at the University of Pittsburgh. At that time, Hip Hop was solidified as my passion and outlet for activism. I also experienced watching my mom go through a vicious near death bout with cancer and used writing as a means to cope. I began singing and rapping on stage in 2000 and have not stopped since.
However, a sense of not being able to make any real change, a lack of confidence, and a lack of financial stability pushed me into the workforce full-time and on a spiritual journey. This period of my life proved to be a unique opportunity to grow, become inspired and learn the industry. I worked at the Pittsburgh City Paper right after college where I helped a lot of local artists, planned events and learned all about being a promoter. I eventually became the Events and Promotions Director, but then the sudden death of my father during this time changed everything. After my dad passed and my birth mom was not responding to my attempts to connect with her, I again turned to music as a way to cope. I also turned to work and my interest in bringing women together as a way to deal with my father’s death.
I founded a female owned and operated, socially conscious company, Nakturnal. I founded Nakturnal in hopes of helping woman work together in pursuit of their dreams and because I learned through spiritual study that when women gather, the world will heal. It is a prophetic message almost every indigenous culture stands behind as well as many major religions. I also felt like it was time to secure a better income to be able to help my mom in the future. She is employed at a factory in my home town and it is my dream to be able to get her involved in some aspect of my business so she doesn’t have to work so hard.
For over two years now, Nakturnal has been considered a leading marketing and events organization in the the area. We work daily to inspire women, help independent artists and raise awareness for worthy causes. We have been expanding nationally. In the meantime, I found more time to record and perform, and released my first album, Age of Feminine with the help of DJ Huggy. I released my second album, Aligned Archetype, nationally on January 29th, 2010. This album highlights my mystical side and brings together my other musical passions including dubstep, house, reggae, Bmore club, R&B and of course Hip Hop. It is a concept album that is was inspired by a tarot card reading. I consider myself a spiritual person and now see activism on an energetic level that starts within so I work on my SELF daily. I study the power of intention, meditation, yoga, quantum physics,astrology, tarot and other forms of mysticism. I feel my outer purpose in life is to make music that sends out good energy that speaks to the soul of the listener. I believe massive global change is coming and that it starts with the individual. I feels Pittsburgh, my home, is a focal point in this planetary change and that women and female energy in men and women will help us enter a new stage.
I feel that our inner world is a mirror of our outer reality. We have the power to help positively affect the world by “being the change we wish to see,” as Ghandi puts it. While this can be incredibly challenging given our human tendencies and emotions, I believe we are entering a new stage of evolution in human consciousness and hope that in the same way I am affected daily by artists and musicians that my music inspires change and awareness in the listener. I feel all people have special gift that will be a piece in the puzzle and that we are all made of the same energy and therefore are really all one. I know deep down that music and art will usher in the peaceful revolution we need from our current fear stricken society. I feel we can enjoy this time/space reality while opening hearts and minds and creating lasting change.
Click here to listen/download: Kellee Maize’s “Hasta Abajo”
- Kellee Maize puts the “hippy” in hip hop (current.com)