Music saw singer/songwriter/producer, KEM, through the darkest moments in his life as a child, which is where his love of music began.
After high school, his life took a downward turn, and he eventually found himself in and out of drug rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters. Music was his solace during those times, and he played the shelter’s piano every night. He hit rock bottom when after breaking shelter rules, he was relegated to sleeping outside. It was there that he became determined to change his life.
He began waiting tables, and booked weddings and other gigs that would allow him to perform his original music. He continued to write, and eventually, record his music. In February of 2001, KEM independently released his first CD, KEMISTRY, and sold nearly 15,000 CD’s, piquing the interest of Universal Motown. The label signed KEM to a five-record deal in November 2001 and re-released KEMISTRY.
KEM previewed music from his second release, KEM ALBUM II, for audiences on a 20-city underground tour, after which the CD was released. ALBUM II was certified gold after just two weeks of its release in May 2005.
KEM’s popularity continued as his third project, INTIMACY, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The first single, “Why Would You Stay,” spent several weeks at #1 on the Urban AC Radio charts, and the album’s second and third singles, “Share My Life” and “If It’s Love” both climbed into the chart’s top five.
INTIMACY was officially certified Gold in March 2012. After the release of INTIMACY, KEM headlined his sold-out national ‘Intimacy Tour’ with Special Guests Musiq Soulchild & Ledisi.
KEM’s acting debut came with the release of the movie, “SPARKLE” in August 2012, starring Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston, in which he plays the role of club owner, Buddy.
In 2012, KEM founded Mack & Third, Inc., a Michigan domestic non-profit corporation that assists organizations that support the homeless community, including shelters and organizations which supported KEM throughout his journey from homelessness & addiction to sobriety & success. KEM’s annual ‘Mack & Third’ event is an all-day free concert to benefit and recognize Detroit’s homeless citizens. KEM presented his third ‘Mack & Third’ event in Detroit on August 26, 2012, which was headlined by Maze feat. Frankie Beverly. The event was attended by 55,000 fans and collected in excess of 130,000 canned goods. KEM’s fourth ‘Mack & Third’ event will be held on August 25, 2013.
KEM’s Christmas album, WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS, was released on October 16, 2012. After the holiday season, the album had sold 76,000 copies, which made it the #3 highest-selling Urban Christmas record in one season (third to Whitney Houston’s “One Wish: The Holiday Album” with 230,000; and Cee-Lo Green’s “Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment” with169,000 copies sold).
The album is comprised of five original Christmas compositions and five covers of traditional Christmas classics. WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS is highlighted by a duet with Verve recording artist, Ledisi, on “Be Mine For Christmas,” co-written by KEM and new collaborator Melanie Rutherford. The album also includes orchestra arrangements by Motown legend, Paul Reiser.
Following the release of WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS, KEM launched an eight (8)-city “Holiday Moments with KEM” promotional & media tour that included conversations with KEM and acoustic performances to support the album. “A Christmas Song For You” and “Be Mine For Christmas” were added as singles on UAC Radio during the holiday season, and “Glorify The King” was added to Gospel radio airplay.
Combined, KEM’s four albums have sold in excess of 2.4 million units.
In recognition of his talent, KEM was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards in 2006 for Outstanding Male Artist and Outstanding Song (“I Can’t Stop Loving You”); for a Soul Train Award for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist in 2010; two Grammy Awards in 2010 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song (“Why Would You Stay”) and the BET Centric Award.
KEM was nominated four (4) times for the 2013 44th NAACP Image Awards for his songs: “Glorify The King,” “Be Mine For Christmas,” “You’re On My Mind” and for his “You’re On My Mind” video. “Glorify The King,” “Be Mine For Christmas” and “You’re On My Mind” were nominated in the ‘Outstanding Song’ category and the “You’re On My Mind” video was nominated in the ‘Outstanding Music Video’ category.
In January 2013, KEM made his first trip to Japan to perform at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Japan is one of KEM’s strongest international markets.
KEM wrote and recorded a duet with Ronald Isley entitled “My Favorite Thing,” which was released as the second single from Ron Isley’s 2013 CD, ”This Song Is For You.” The two R&B singers also starred in the music video for the single.
On October 29, 2013, KEM will release the Deluxe Edition of his WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS album, which includes four new bonus tracks, including the single, “Jesus,” featuring Patti LaBelle and Ronald Isley.