Kellee Maize (born January 18, 1980) is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Her first album, Age of Feminine, was released in 2007. Maize has now been involved in the music business for just over a decade and has recorded and released six full albums leading to a handful of singles. 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. According to a news report in 2011, a Google search for “female rapper” displayed her website as the number one search result.
Maize was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and adopted by a family that lived in New Berlin, a small town in Central Pennsylvania. At the age of nine she started her first rap group, Thunder and Lightning. In her teens she moved to Pittsburgh and in 2000 began rapping and singing on stage, but financial need led her to the workforce. Maize graduated from Mifflinburg Area High School. She later studied at the University of Pittsburgh.
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. 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.
Maize was adopted as a baby by Chris and Terry Maize and reconnected with her biological family at the age of 22. Her biological father is actor Jimmy McNichol and her biological aunt is former actress Kristy McNichol. Maize is married and has one son.
In 2006 Maize founded Näkturnal, a Pittsburgh-based guerrilla marketing firm. The company has worked with many big name organizations, including the ONE Campaign, and EcoSMART and is involved in Pittsburgh nightlife. Maize remains the owner and CEO of the company.
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. In 2012, of her meditation practice, Maize said, “I learned Transcendental Meditation many years ago and found it to be life changing.”
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.
Maize released her first 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. Her second album, Aligned Archetype, was released nationally in January 2010. The album features the sounds of dubstep, hip hop, and Baltimore club.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. The album features one of her most popular songs and music videos to date, “Third Eye”.
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. The success of this album helped her become the number-one most downloaded artist on Amazon.com. 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. She performed a 45-minute set list along with long-time collaborator DJ Huggy. 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”.
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.” Maize was featured in a 2012 Global Grind article about white female rappers.
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. The album design features over 1,000 fans that sent pictures of themselves displaying love in whatever way they saw fit.
Her sixth album, The Remixes, was released in 2015 and released nine remixes of Maize’s songs.
She launched her acting career in June 2017, appearing as the character Popp in the Adult Swim show Decker.
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. In 2010, Maize was nominated as “Best Female Artist at the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards”.