Kenya & Nemor
Official Biography (courtesy of Kenya & Nemor)
With a unique sound and style, the Kenya & Nemor sound is best described as classic soul and R&B with a modern twist. Kenya Emil grew up in Iceland, and fell in love with music as a child, through the recordings of groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Bob Marley & The Wailers. From there she was hooked. Although she had written poems in her youth, she viewed songwriting as a difficult task. Born and raised in Houston Texas, Jay Nemor fell in love with music at the age of five, after attending his first concert featuring non other than Earth, Wind and Fire.
Divided by the Atlantic Ocean and totally different cultures, Kenya and Jay met by chance in Iceland in August of 2003 while participating in a tribute performance: ‘The Soul of Motown‘. Approximately one year after the Motown tribute began; the two formed Kenya Nemor in the fall of 2004. The duo wrote and recorded their first demo in October of that year, ‘Touch Me Taste Me‘, and the thrill of that accomplishment was enough encouragement to proceed and follow a dream. Over the next few years they continued to develop their song writing abilities.
Eventually they longed to form a band of live musicians to assist them in interpreting their musical ideas. By mid-August 2006, they did just that. Their first full band performance was at the University of Iceland at the campus bar. That performance was followed by a modest, but exciting, increase in activity as they performed for Reykjavik Culture Night on August 23 that same year.
Later that same night, the duo minus the full band embarked on their first steady gig, performing for a small audience at Thorvaldsen Bar in Reykjavik. The bi-monthly gig turned into a weekly gig after several shows, as per the request of club management. Countless performances and eight months later in the spring of 2007, the duo decided to take time off to start the proper studio recording of their first album. In the interim Kenya Nemor performed at the renowned Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in October of 2006, and received favorable reviews for their first appearance on a big scene.
During the spring of 2007 the duo Kenya Nemor changed its name to Kenya. They remained intact, but Nemor was dropped from their title and Kenya became both the name and face that would represent the sound. Fresh-faced with an adamant determination to succeed, Kenya embarked on a career that would lead to performances during Iceland’s Independence Day Celebration on June 17th 2007 and an ‘Unplugged‘ gig at Reykjavik’s Gaukur á Stong the following weekend. In October they were back for the second time at the annual Iceland Airwaves.
The following spring in April of 2008, Kenya made another leap and established a bi-monthly concert series at Cafe Oliver, in conjunction with a weekly radio spot on Flass FM104.1, called ‘Salarvik‘. The concert series would run a successful eight months with Kenya as the steady house-band for the event, and several cameo appearances by local Icelandic artists. After ‘Salarvik‘, the duo decided to take another hiatus from live performances in order to finish the recording of the long awaited first album.
On the international scene Kenya has performed at Crash Mansion in New York City (2007), Sildajazz in Haugesund, Norway (2008), Jamfestivalen Norevikane in Sognefjord, Norway (2009) and Reisefestivalen in Oslo, Norway (2009). In the summer of 2010 they were asked to make an appearance at the Christian Radich suite Grand Hotel Oslo at the 25th Anniversary of the American Coordinating Council of Norway's annual 4th of July Weekend Celebration.
After careful consideration of their marketing strategy, the two have decided to return much closer to the root of their original concept under the name Kenya & Nemor; two faces, two voices, one soul. Kenya & Nemor are the total package, encompassing talent, charm and passion about the craft, bringing everything to every performance. The long awaited debut album ‘Just Becuz‘ is just around the corner so stay tuned.