Interview with Grammy nominated Kem!

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    KemIt may be a worn-out cliché, but the saying ‘the third time's the charm' definitely fits Kem these days---not only is the singer, songwriter and soul musician basking in the success of a well-received third studio CD,Intimacy: Album III, he's enjoying his first-ever Grammy nominations, one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song and  both thanks to his searing ballad, "Why Would You Stay." Days away from kicking off a US tour with Ledisi and fello
    KemIt may be a worn-out cliché, but the saying ‘the third time's the charm' definitely fits Kem these days---not only is the singer, songwriter and soul musician basking in the success of a well-received third studio CD,Intimacy: Album III, he's enjoying his first-ever Grammy nominations, one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song and  both thanks to his searing ballad, "Why Would You Stay." Days away from kicking off a US tour with Ledisi and fellow Grammy nominee, El DeBarge, Kem got the news from his CD's co-producer, Rex Rideout, and is taking his mother along to the telecast on Sunday.

     "I'm excited about being nominated for the best R&B song category, it speaks to the core of what I do," he says from his home base of Detroit. "As for all of my brothers also nominated in there with me, lots of good luck to them. If I win, it would definitely be the highlight of my career, but either way, it doesn't end there. I take it all in stride and I'm just looking forward to being there and looking good as possible," he laughs.

    It also speaks to the strength of his talents that Intimacy: Album III was as well-received by the critics as it was by his loyal fans. "Intimacy is holding its own, the sales are steady, "Why Would You Stay" hit number one and "Share My Life" was recently in the Top 10. We've got another single,  "If It's Love," is on the horizon, and I'm glad that the fans are talking about this CD the way they talked about Kemistry when it came out. I did a lot of sharing on this CD (with co-writer Jill Scott and a duet with Melanie Rutherford), so Intimacy was one of the most challenging records to make."

    Is he still getting comparisons to Al Jarreau, as he did early on in his career? And given that sultry Anita Baker tribute performance with Rachelle Ferrell during last year's Soul Train Awards, will fans get another taste of that anytime soon? "I think that it's great to be compared to Al Jarreau, he's a very bad man--- every time I see him, there's nothing but love between us and I wish him well. We always talk about doing something together, we've performed on stage together in NY with Marcus Miller and Rachelle Ferrell, so if that's who you hear when you listen to me, then God bless the both of us," he chuckles. "As for recording with Rachelle, she has long been on my list of artists to work with and I think that she is the baddest singer on earth at this point, so it could happen."

    With a growing professional resume and an upcoming overseas tour on the horizon ("We'll be going overseas to Europe: after the tour is over, I'll be thinking of ideas and getting back to writing songs for the next record"), Kem is remains as humble as ever, counting it all joy and proud to be a part of those considered to embody the resurgence of soul: "I think that that there's a divine order for everything that takes place in our lives, and I have nothing but respect for the artists I'm nominated with. There's a lot of positive feedback from people and I love the fact that my music is the soundtrack for people's lives. My hope is always that we're always encouraging and inspiring to do better, be better and live better, that's what it's all about."

    By Melody Charles

     
    Choice Cut - Jennifer Hartswick - "For You"