Singer and musician extraordinaire Kem is coming to Detroit soon to sing his old (and new) love ballads in a concert, The Circle Tour, this month featuring Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, hosted by comedienne powerhouse Sherri Shepherd.
The “Share My Life” singer will be featured at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at the FOX Theatre in a long-awaited and highly anticipated concert that is part of The Circle Tour alongside Edmonds.
The joint concerts extend into mid-May as the duo will make tour stops across the nation in places like Chicago, St. Louis, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The Full Circle Tour is named after his upcoming EP, “Full Circle,” described as a self-reflection of KEM coming full circle in his life.
The Michigan Chronicle interviewed KEM, who shared intimate details of his life and lessons he has learned along the way that keeps him moving to the beat of his own drum while inspiring others.
“We just want people to be touched,” KEM told the Michigan Chronicle. “I want people to be moved, not just entertained, but be moved. I want them to walk away and I want to add value to their lives, to their journey. In the same way that they have their support of my music – it has added value to my life and my journey.”
KEM described his illustrious, 20-year career as “surreal.”
“If I stop to think about it, you know, but we’ve had a really good run and I’m really, really grateful (to) still be doing it,” he said.
The Full Circle Tour closely follows Kem’s successful single, “Stuck On You.” Kem will soon deliver his newest EP, aptly titled, Full Circle. The next single, “Right On Time,” collaborates with Kem, Babyface, and Hip Hop’s Boss, Rick Ross. The EP’s title single also includes hip-hop rapper Ty Dolla $ign.
The Full Circle Tour is KEM’s first tour since 2016 (Promise To Love Tour), and it is also the first time he is getting back on the road since the pandemic and since getting married in 2019.
KEM said that balancing marriage and family life is a work of art – one that he is perfecting each day.
“This season of my life is the most challenging and most rewarding thing that I have ever done, that we take it a day at a time,” KEM said of his wife, professional DJ Erica Owens. “You know, we make room for each other. The pandemic taught us a lot. You know, helped us grow as individuals and as family so. … I take my family and the strength … that I get from my family out into the world with me.”
While growing up, the Nashville, Tennessee native (who was raised in Pontiac) faced challenging personal issues that led him to turn to alcohol and drugs, resulting in him being kicked out of his mother’s home. KEM had trouble finding his footing from drug rehab centers to homeless shelters until, on the night of July 22, 1990, after breaking shelter rules, he was kicked out and was forced to sleep outside. While sitting on the banks of the Detroit River then, KEM was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Instead of trying to control his own life, he gave his plans to God, according to his biography.
During his sobriety journey, KEM still maintained his love for music. On February 28, 2002, KEM independently released his first CD, KEMISTRY. While the CD was not immediately a hit, it led him to connect with Motown Records, who signed him to a five record deal in November 2001 and re-released KEMISTRY on the Motown label in 2002. His first hit, “Love Calls,” went to #1 on Urban Adult Contemporary charts and continues to be played on R&B radio stations as a classic.
KEM said that music has always been there, even during the dark periods of life.
“I’ve also always followed and looked to the light of music as my refuge, as my safe place,” KEM said, adding that it was his passion before it was attached to monetary gain and success. “Music has been my way of navigating my life ever since I was a small child.”
KEM said that he encourages people in similar holding patterns he had in the past to be true to themselves about any problems they face, especially as a creative, and learn to grow from there.
“We pride ourselves on being true to our art and being true to our craft. That same truth is (one) you apply to all the other corners of (your) lives, including the dark areas. And we don’t make any progress until we’re able to shine the light on truth on those places,” KEM said.
The first single from the Full Circle EP is called ‘Stuck On You,’ which is currently in rotation on the radio. According to the press release, the EP’s second single, coming soon, is called ‘Right On Time’ and features Babyface & Rick Ross.
In total, KEM’s five albums have sold over 2.9 million units. KEM was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015 for Best Traditional R&B Performance (“Nobody”) and many other awards and forms of recognition in recognition of his vocal abilities and songwriting talents.
KEM said that returning to Detroit while on tour is part of his legacy in the music game, which he is about to redefine.
“It’s a new beginning for me — 20 years in the game,” KEM said. “Having to reimagine what being an artist on the Motown label with the legacy of Motown, the legacy and the musicality of the great city of Detroit, you know trying to reinterpret, reinvent. Rebrand. That is the moment that we’re in right now with this tour. With new musicians, with a new production, with new music. Now we’ve created a culture within the culture of what I do that that is really out here to serve the people in these unprecedented times. So we live in it, you know, to add some artistic value or reprieve or respite from all of the chaos that’s going on in the world right now.”
He added that he and Babyface will be singing “hit after hit.”
“Really looking forward to having a good time and being home,” KEM said.