Kelis is the epitome of a multi-hyphenate —- she sings, she cooks, and she owns several businesses all while being a mom. Most recently, the Grammy-nominated entertainer added farmer to her ever-impressive resume. Despite living in cities for nearly all her life, Kelis’s deep desire to control exactly what her family eats and how they spent their time each day prompted her to pick up and move to an expansive 25-acre farm in Southern California.

These days, her days are spent clipping her horses’ nails and helping her sheep give birth instead of performing across the globe. Planting deep roots, literally and figuratively, for her children is something that drives Kelis. Keep reading to learn about the lessons that nature teaches her each day and why having the right gear is incredibly important to this outdoor enthusiast and change maker.

HOKA: Who is Kelis?

Kelis: I am an artist, I’m a creator. I am constantly being educated, and I think as a result of that, I’ve become an educator, and I’d like to say I’m a pioneer.

HOKA: Where did you grow up?

Kelis: I grew up in Harlem, New York.

HOKA: How did you get into the entertainment business, and what was that journey like?

Kelis: Well, I’ve been in music pretty much my whole life. I started playing the violin when I was tiny and played the saxophone. My dad was a jazz musician, and he was a professor at Wesleyan University for music. And so just growing up in New York, I think you’re so inundated with culture.

HOKA: When was the moment you knew you wanted to turn your passion for food from a hobby into your career?

Kelis: Well, after culinary school I became a saucier and I started making sauces. So, I had this neighbor, in LA actually, who I would always just leave stuff on her doorstep with a little note, and she was like, “This stuff is amazing.” She’s like, “Do you sell this?” And I was like, “No.” She’s like, “You should sell it.” I hadn’t even really thought about it, and it was really my neighbor who found my manufacturer and everything —- and it’s all history from there.

HOKA: Since starting your farm, what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Kelis: I mean, the lessons were endless, honestly. Everything from how to keep a manicure, which is probably not the most important one, but it’s definitely up there, to just the whole process of creating your own ecosystem. What I’m learning is endless; every day it’s something new.

HOKA: Why was having your own land, something that was important to you?

Kelis: Well, I think having land was really important to me for a lot of reasons. I think the first one was really wanting to be in control of what my family and I eat, what we’re growing. And then also I think just space and having your own space. I want to leave something tangible for my kids, show them where we come from, and what our ancestors and family members used to value, and really who we are as people, connecting us back to the land.

HOKA: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about owning and working on your own land?

Kelis: This past year, we went through such a crazy year and having our own space was amazing. Just the timing, we moved here and being able to grow our own food, and be outside, and not have to worry about everything else. When my kids are walking through the garden and they’re like, “I can just eat this?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And they’re excited because they planted it, so they’re seeing this from beginning to end. I love that and it’s what I wanted for them!

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HOKA: Why is it so vital for you to surround yourself in nature?

Kelis: I mean, because it’s incredible. It’s just a really beautifully, intricate puzzle. And I love the fact that I can play a part in that is really wonderful, that’s always been my draw.

HOKA: How does HOKA support you in your day-to-day adventures? How and when did you first discover the brand?

Kelis: It’s so funny, because I’ve been wearing HOKA for years, and the first thing that drew me was obviously the aesthetics. And I fell in love with them, and they became my cooking shoes. Now, being here on the farm, it’s great, because we’re just in and out so much. And we’ve got a lot of rocks here, so it’s great that while walking up rocks, or in the garden, they’re really functional, and I can just wet them down and wipe them off. So that’s always good.

HOKA: What advice do you have for folks who want to get outside, and want to explore, but they don’t know where to start?

Kelis: I would say just start. When we live in the city, you forget that there’s so much around you. There’s all kinds of hiking and trail apps you can get on, just start like that, start with just day stuff —- you just got to do it.

HOKA: What is the greatest lesson that nature has taught you?

Kelis: The greatest lesson that nature has taught me is that nature is always going to do it better than we are. Always. Whatever’s naturally happening is going to do it better than anything that I could possibly put my hands to. Nature sort of taught me that it’s always best left as untarnished as possible.

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Kelis is featured wearing the Anacapa hiking boot.

This blog was authored by Siraad Dirshe.