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Interview:
KEM at Chene Park, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It's been 15 years since Kim Owens -- that would be KEM to you -- released his debut album, "Kemistry," launching a career that's certainly combusted at a high level.

To date KEM has released five albums, including "What Christmas Means" and 2014's "Promise To Love." His sophomore set, "Album II," went platinum, and he's had seven Top 40 R&B hits along with a pair of Grammy Award nominations.

KEM is also the proud father of a 20-year-old son, Christopher, who joined three girls KEM has between him and his fiancÚ. After plowing through homelessness and addictions as a younger man, life is rich for the singer, writer and producer -- who makes it clear he doesn't take any of what he has for granted...

* Contemplating his 15 years of recording, KEM says that "it's definitely been a whirlwind, but I've been very fortunate. There's only been five records, but we're still doing it. It really is something that you kind of wrap your mind around, that in this day and age of streaming and the music being so easily accessible and so easily consumed and disposed of, to have a devoted fan base and still be able to go out and do shows has really been a blessing for me, man. It doesn't seem like 15 years to me."

* KEM still considers "Kemistry" to be "an honest record, still genuine." But it's also a bit of a time capsule of the artist he was compared to what he's doing now. "I think the music stands the test of time, but the guy is different. I'm not the same cat. The sentiments that were expressed in that record, and every record, still hold true. But I've grown as a person, changed as a person. I was really naive about the (music) business on the first album, but at the same time there was a purity there that I work to get back to when I'm working now."

* KEM is happy to be parenting girls, but he's admittedly over the moon about his first-born son. "I love all my kids, and I'm at the stage where I'm able to really be at home, be around all the time, so it's really a rewarding experience. My son is the joy of my life; I don't even know where to begin. Just every day is something new and we wake up in the morning ready to go and filled with joy. It's really impacted me in ways that I'm still discovering every day, man."

* KEM is working on his next album, currently titled "Devotion" -- which also underscores the theme he's pursuing on the songs. "It's about 'What am I, what are we devoted to?' There's a spiritual connotation to that. There's also a relational connotation to that, and to the world. With all that's going on in the world right now, what am I showing up for and where am I showing up for it and how much of myself am I giving to these things that I say are important to me? These are serious times that require serious thought. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I think this album will definitely be a definitive album in my career."

* Performing at Detroit's Chene Park Amphitheatre has become an annual summer ritual for KEM -- and, he says, one of the things he looks forward to on his calendar. "It's always a special performance. It's the most challenging and the most rewarding performance we can do because it's the home town and because you look out into the audience and I see the people who are in my life every day -- and I have to see them after the show! So you always want to represent and make it special."



KEM performs at 8 p.m Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3-4, at the Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 E. Atwater, Detroit. Tamar Braxton opens on Friday, India.Arie on Saturday. Tickets are $41-$76. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit cheneparkdetroit.com.





Web Site: www.cheneparkdetroit.com

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