"I've known Guetta for a long time just as a DJ in France, just partying in Paris and just being out there," Kelis recalled. "I didn't even know he was doing a record until a friend of mine sent me some beats, and he was like, 'Guetta would love for you to write something for his album.' I just started writing to a bunch of them, and I just heard this beat, and there was no melody to it. It was just a beat. I just had this melody that came to me right away, so I just laid this melody down really quick and just forgot about it and kept moving and doing stuff."
Kelis said she listened to it every day in the studio and tried to write something to it. She said "Acapella" eventually came to her. She never expected much would come of it — especially not a #1 record.
"I knew that I loved it, and I felt really good about it," she said. "It's exciting to see that people feel what you feel. That's always encouraging. But I had no idea that that would happen that quickly like that. I just knew that the song felt really real for me."
"Acapella" is the lead single from Kelis' newest album, Flesh Tone. The album, which she expects to be released in June, is her first under Will.I.Am's Will.I.Am Music Group. Kelis worked with the Black Eyes Peas head honcho on her previous record and was impressed with his musical IQ.
"There's not a song you can mention or an era you can mention in music that he doesn't know about or understand what made it that," she marveled. "I think it's key in trying to do something fresh. It just felt comfortable and felt right, and I haven't been a part of a group since my first, second record [with the Neptunes]."
She is also looking forward to performing the track at the Winter Music Conference in Miami later this week.
"It's great, because I think 'Acapella' is a really great song to perform, and for some reason my first singles are always a nightmare to perform live," she laughed. "And this is actually really fun."
Stick with MTV News for more coverage of the WMC 2010, which kicks off Tuesday in Miami.