Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliott (born July 1, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. Her first major success came as a songwriter with childhood friend and producer Timbaland on projects for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. As a record producer and songwriter, she has worked with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé as well as contemporary artists Keyshia Cole, Tamia, Monica and Ciara.
In the late 1990s, Elliott expanded her career as a solo artist and rapper, eventually winning five Grammy Awards and selling over 30 million records in the United States. Elliott is the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one double platinum for her 2002 album Under Construction. Elliott is also known for a series of hits and diverse music videos, including “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”, “Hot Boyz”, “Get Ur Freak On”, “Work It”, and the Grammy award-winning video for “Lose Control.”
Melissa Arnette Elliott was born on July 1, 1971, in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is the only child of mother Patricia, a power-company dispatcher, and father Ronnie, a U.S. Marine. At the age of four in 1975, she wanted to be a performer, although she knew no one took her seriously, because she was always the class clown. While her father was a Marine, the family lived in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in a mobile home. Elliott enjoyed school for the friendships she formed and had little interest in school work. An intelligence test classified her well above average, and she jumped two years ahead of her class. This made her feel increasingly isolated, and she purposely failed all her classes, eventually returning to her previous class. When her father returned from the Marines, they moved back to Virginia, where they lived in extreme poverty.
Elliott’s childhood was strongly affected by domestic abuse committed by her father. As a child, she refused to stay over at any of her friends’ homes for the fear that she would return and find her mother dead. Her father once beat her mother so severely that her shoulders were dislocated. On another occasion, Elliott’s father threatened her with a gun. When Elliott was fourteen, she and her mother fled her father by sneaking out under the guise of a normal bus ride; the pair in reality went to a family member’s home where their possessions were loaded into a U-Haul truck. Elliott lived with the fear that her father would kill them both for leaving. Elliott and her father occasionally talk, but the singer says she hasn’t forgiven him. She later stated, “When we left, my mother realized how strong she was on her own, and it made me strong. It took her leaving to realize.”
Elliott graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1990.
Elliott has said that she wants to start a family, but she is afraid of giving birth. She states, “I don’t know if I can take that kind of pain of labor. Maybe in the year 2020 you could just pop a baby out and it’d be fine. But right now I’d rather just adopt.”
In June 2011, Elliott told People magazine that her absence from the music industry was due to a hyperthyroid disorder known as Graves’ disease. She was diagnosed after she nearly crashed a car from having severe leg spasms. She experienced severe symptoms from the condition, and she could not even hold a pen up to write songs. After treatment, her symptoms stabilized, and she has announced that she would like to get back to her career.