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Kindred: "How We Became One"

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The City of Brotherly love has birthed some of the greatest soulsters and Kindred, the husband-and-wife duo, is one of them. After releasing their third album, "The Arrival," Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler have continued to deliver the soul-stirring grooves that endeared them to R&B loyalists worldwide. As loving parents of five, they have learned to balance life in the fickle music biz and still maintain their home, but not without some adversity. ESSENCE.com caught up with the lovely couple who shared their love story in their own words.

The first time I met my husband, Fatin, I heard him before I saw him. I was in another room and heard a sweet voice singing on what sounded like a demo. I hurried to see who was behind the voice, and that was the first time I laid eyes on him. No, it was not love at first sight, but I did love his voice. He was introduced to me as a songwriter who was going to help out on my album. He got right down to business and asked me to sing. It was the beginning of our love story and the answer to the most commonly asked question about our love affair, "What came first, the love or the music?"

We did not have a long courtship, eight months to be exact. He opened up to me and told his mom about me. We talked about religion, marriage, kids, and the future, but most of all we talked about music. How we loved it, how we made it and how it disappointed us. We both spent our teenage years striving for stardom, getting further than others, but not as far as most. We were both young, talented, and wanted more. We struggled with fitting into the industry because we were raised by very spiritually grounded families with high morals and we wore it proudly on our sleeves. Needless to say this didn't quite fit the image of the typical oversexed R&B dude or chick. So many things brought us together yet very little kept us apart. However, there were haters. Ah, yes, the haters.

"You haven't known him for very long."
"Do you really love her?"
"What will you do for money?"
"It's just infatuation."

I mean they weren't all together wrong, but we were very determined. We hit some walls, but we climbed them. "It's just us against the world, baby!"

One thing about this business is it's very easy to believe that your time is up. In fact, you kind of try to prepare yourself the moment you choose music as goal. It seems like we decided our time was up, accepted it and moved on in no time. Before we knew it, we had landed smack dab in the middle of a working-class West Philly neighborhood complete with row house, pregnant belly and a hand-me-down couch. By the looks of things, you wouldn't believe we had ever lived the lives of artists--singing, writing. traveling. We were "THE DANTZLERS." It was nice.

It also came with a job. Yes, ladies and gents, a real-live nine-to-fiver. I know what you're thinking: city bus driver, right? Nah, kiddies...the videos are fiction. My husband sold electronics and appliances and he was good at it. In four short months he went from salesman to assistant manager. Yes, indeed, we were civilians and lovin' it. As to be expected, the desire to perform still burned, just under the surface of course.

What was a simmering ember grew to be a full grown crackling fire once fate (God) intervened. I went to visit my mom so she could cuddle with our newborn son and the phone rang.

"Hello."
"Babe?"
"Hey Babe!"
"I lost my job."
SILENCE

Check back  to read more of Aja and Fatin's love story and how their struggles only strengthened them.

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