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If smooth R&B and romantic heartfelt lyrics are what you seek, one can always count on Kem to deliver. The internationally renowned R&B singer/songwriter has three Gold-selling albums, two GRAMMY nominations; three number one hit singles (“Love Calls,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Why Would You Stay”) and several sold-out national tours under his belt and his lyrics always seem to be right on time. This summer he released his fourth studio album, Promise To Love, and it’s already in heavy rotation with fans.
But, it’s no secret that Kem’s resume speaks for itself. What you may not know is that the sultry crooner is a single guy and a proud father of two daughters, Troi, 19, and Laylah, 4.
Kem opens up about raising young ladies, what the Future Mrs. Kem would be like and how he comes up with such romantic songs.
ESSENCE.com: What’s the inspiration for the title to your latest album, Promise to Love?
KEM: Love is always the motivation. That’s the place where I write from the most and where I feel I write best from. There’s no greater need in our world, our individual lives and our communities today than love.
ESSENCE.com: Do your personal relationships shape your music?
KEM: There are little bits of my personal experiences in some of my songs. Some fact; some fiction. I definitely write from a place of good times and bad times. My songs really express the emotions and feelings behind [what I experience], not necessarily exactly what happened. I write about what I hope for in relationships and what I hope for in love. A lot of my songs are a wish list. A wish list that I’ve held since I was a teenager. I write about what I want love to be and what I think we’re all looking for.
ESSENCE.com: So your songs are like love letters to your fans?
KEM: Absolutely. I’m trying to melt your heart as a singer and a songwriter. I’m trying to break your heart and then put it back together. I want my music to move you. I try to write from a perspective of what I believe women want to hear from their man. Hopefully I’m filling in the gap for the brothers; keeping the light on for them. (Laughs)
ESSENCE.com: So, you’re a single dad?
KEM: Well, no. I’m single, and I’m a dad. I have a 19-year-old and a 4-year-old.
ESSENCE.com: What did you teach your teenage daughter about love?
KEM: I really try to instill in her to be independent and to be able to take care of herself. I think that’s true for men and women. Whatever you’re expecting out of your relationship with someone else, you should be giving it to yourself. You need to be able to take care of yourself emotionally and know how to treat and love yourself first. You need to know how to be whole and not looking for someone to complete you. You’re already complete. Recognize and understand what your worth is.
ESSENCE.com: Do you do the whole intimidating dad routine?
KEM: At this point, no [I don’t). She’s grown. It’s her world. She has to make her own choices at this stage of her life. Earlier, when she would bring guys home, I would meet them…. The biggest part of being a dad of girls is to be present and to keep the lines of communication open. Don’t do or say anything where you shut those lines down and you can no longer get any insight into their relationships. My daughter is levelheaded!
ESSENCE.com: Does she weigh in on who you date too?
KEM: Um, right. It goes both ways, I guess. Yes she has her opinions about who I’m in relationships with as well and who may or may not be good for me and why or why not. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I respect her opinion. There’s value in her perspective because she sees me in a way that others don’t see me in and I don’t even see myself in. I appreciate her input.
ESSENCE.com: What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
KEM: Honesty and stability.
ESSENCE.com: What would the future “Mrs. Kem” be like?
KEM: Yeah, I wanna know too! She’ll definitely have those qualities. If you have honesty, integrity and stability than strength automatically comes with that. The Future Mrs. Kem can help me carry the load. She has to have my back. She would have to be my partner and be able to hold it down if I can’t. She also has to have a good relationship with my kids. You can’t make people get along, but she has to respect my fatherhood. And, she’d also have to be a spiritual person and a person of faith. She has to be someone who’s not just walking by sight.
The Promise to Love Tour: Part One, begins on 11/14 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click here for more tour date and ticket info.