In the 12 years since Kelis' first album Kaleidoscope was released the musical and fashion landscape has shifted significantly. The lines between R&B and rock have blurred as have the expectations for the 'look' the artist in each area needs to portray. In short, there would be no Rihanna if there hadn't first been Kelis.
MyDaily was lucky enough to catch up with the trendsetting artist before she took to the stage for AOL Sessions. We left our face-to-face feeling even more impressed and inspired by her style - not in the least because she managed to sit with incredible poise in a plastic chair while wearing jeans covered in massive metal spikes.
Read our favourite quotes from the interview here and then check out the video of our full conversation below.
Which city do you think is the most stylish?
You think of Paris, or you think of London, or you think of Milan as fashion capitals of the world. I love them all, but honestly I feel New York is the Mecca. I think it is the most honest. I think that it's more of a lifestyle than even fashion. You become it there. I think New York is really just the Mecca for all ideas because there's so much culture, it is the ultimate melting pot. You've got all these different influences and different things that happen and that you see in art and fashion and music and stuff.
How does being a New Yorker inform your personal sense of style?
For me growing up there I brought up with the understanding that its okay. I think more than anything that's important.
How important is personal style to being an artist and musician?
Honestly I would have to say that it is a good 40% of the whole point. If you can make great music and make music that people believe in and then you can actually back it up with who you are and give them a visual, I think that's what makes the greats. I think personal style is what people connect with, some of the best artists are to me not the best singers, they're not the most beautiful and they're probably not the most fashionable, but they are who they are and we respect them and we love them and then I can find something about me in them and for me that's the most important thing.
Which designers do you really like or connect with?
I like them all. I have been wearing a lot of young designers and newer things because I like that it's uncharted. I think everything's gotten very accessible and its hard to appreciate the art when it is so accessible but you know. Sometimes I go to the St Martin's website or I call and say who's your best student? Do they have something interesting? Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't! But that's still art and it's still fresh and exciting, it's about creating a piece and something special
What do you love about clothing and fashion?
I love clothes because they portray a mood, I can show you who I am without speaking and I love that. I love the fact that I can walk into a room and even if it is a false assumption you make an assumption about me, its powerful and its art when it's done right. So as far as who I like? I like them all, it just depends on my mood. It's like there are things that I wore 2 weeks ago that it's now like "I am not wearing that!" You know what I mean? That's how I felt then and I don't feel like that now.
Do you have a favourite piece in your wardrobe, the thing you would grab if your house was on fire?
Oh man! Curse the day that my house is on fire. That is an awful, evil question! I don't even, I'm like, oh I don't know...! I am not one of those shoppers that buys crap. I shop a lot so everyone assumes that I just buy stuff that I won't remember. But I make my assistant crazy because I'm like "there's a purple t-shirt with..." and she's like "it's a t-shirt!" No, it's a particular t-shirt. I can't pick one thing.
Is there a definitive purchase you can remember. The first big treat you bought for yourself?
I remember the first pair of really good expensive shoes that I bought and just how literally thrilled I was, like my feet felt better. It was a new world. They were these hot pink, over the knee Giuseppe Zanotti boots and they were the most money I had ever spent on anything and I just remember being like this is life. This is good.
Do you still have them?
I do, I do.
How has your style changed over the years?
The funny things is I was making a joke with one of my best friends and I was like I think my style has become more refined and he was like "hmm, no!" And I was like "it totally has!" It's crazy because I was digging in my closet a few weeks ago and pulled out this bin way at the back and it had all these tops I wore on my very first tour and they're awesome and I actually wore one the other day. I was like "they're back". My taste has not changed at all actually!
Who is your style icon?
There are a few people I know that dress themselves where I think you can tell that's them and that's who they are and I love that. The first person that comes to mind is my mom. I learned the importance of dressing for your body not just liking something. I think as a woman knowing what works for you is so important. I think Chloë Sevigny has great personal taste you can tell that's just who she is, which I like a lot. Who else? Grace Jones has amazing style. Those are the two good ones.
To see the full video of Kelis' blow out performace check out AOL Sessions.