Rolling out obtained an exclusive interview with Grammy-nominated, Motown recording artist Kem, and we went behind the scenes at his video shoot for “Promise to Love,” which was shot in an undisclosed location in Detroit, Michigan earlier this month.
The setting was a perfectly polished blank canvas, with hues of black, white and steel grey. The space was completely empty with the exception of a glossy black baby-grand piano positioned in the center of the room. The venue looked as if it was once a warehouse that had been converted into an open-air, concrete-floored, window-walled space.
Kem is scheduled to stop in Detroit on Friday, Nov. 27 at the Fox Theater on his actual Promise To Love Tour. Originally, the tour headlined Kem with Tamar Braxton; however, Braxton fell sick and had to cancel her tour rounds as well as her “Dancing with the Stars” stint. Braxton has been replaced with various acts in the remaining cities, such as Jazmine Sullivan, Marsha Ambrosius and Avant, who will be joining him on stage in Detroit.
During our exclusive, we got a chance to talk to Kem about his video shoot, Promise to Love Tour and what unconditional love means to him. We also got into some of Kem’s personal life in terms of his workout regime and what he likes to listen to when he’s not singing or recording.
RO: Tell our readers about your video shoot today.
Kem: The album itself is Promise to Love, so we shot the video “Promise to Love” today. Real simple. Just a piano, beautiful space, overlooking the beautiful city of Detroit. We’ll use some of the footage today in conjunction with what we taped with Uncle Charlie [Wilson] and so, it should be pretty cool.
You’re also going on tour with Tamar Braxton, tell our readers about that. The first tour date is starting out with our first stop in Los Angeles this Friday (Nov. 6). I’m excited about that. I love Tamar, she’s always so gracious, and very talented. She’s got a lot going on right now with “Dancing with the Stars,” the TV show “The Real.” She’s good people, and I think we complement each other, musically.
We think so, too. You also tour a lot with “Uncle Charlie” Wilson. Everybody loves Uncle Charlie, and everybody loves you too. So tell our readers about that experience as well.
Uncle Charlie and I have done a lot of shows together over the years. Probably about two years ago, he started asking me about going out on the road with him to a bonafide tour with the two of us. This year was the first time that our schedules, and our albums, and our projects [aligned] and I was like you know everything and the stars aligned for us to go out this year. We started in February, and you know it’s really kind of unprecedented for artists of our stature, R&B artists, to be playing arenas. We were playing arenas, to sold out crowds. And it was a great experience. And you know, honestly, I was skeptical at first because what we were setting out to do was ambitious. But you know, as with life, the greater the risk, the greater the reward.
Now, you sing about love all the time. Tell our readers what you think about unconditional love.
Unconditional love is like the love we have for our children. I have two girls, and unconditional love means there’s nothing that can separate my love for you. There’s nothing you can do that will separate or that can come between us. It doesn’t mean that everything is always the way that we want it to be. But the foundation of our relationship will always be in tact, no matter what happens. That’s what unconditional love means to me. And it’s also the love that God has for us. There’s nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Nothing! So, that’s definitely something to strive for in all of our relationships.
Now, let’s get into Kem personally. What’s your personal life like? You’re pretty fit. You workout a lot?
You think so?
I definitely think so! You’re so modest.
So tell us about your workout routine. What does your daily routine look like?
I start the day with cardio at home, then I go to the gym. Strength training, you know just maintaining, weight training, core training for about an hour a day. And I do it for a few reasons: Primarily, first and foremost because I like to eat! I eat everything! So, I’m a foodie man. I’m always chasing down who’s got the best ribs, the best cheeseburgers. So, I have to be in the gym! And I also do it because our health is first and foremost and without that, there is nothing else. And it really is a mind check too and it keeps me cool. And (lastly), I like to look good in my clothes. You know, I’m vain.
So, you being a foodie and all, you could probably tell us about some good, delectable places to eat around the country.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Detroit?
Well, my favorite here in Detroit is Vicki’s BBQ and Shrimp – west side. Warren & W. Grand Blvd. It’s in the hood, but I love it over there. Closer to downtown, there’s this restaurant on 2nd and Selden I also love called Selden Standard. It’s the bomb. It’s the bomb.
So, everyone knows that you’re a musical genius. What type of music do you like? What’s in your playlist? What are you listening to currently?
My playlist is, you know, really kind of schizophrenic. People get in my car and be like dude, what!?? Because you can hear anything. You can hear Jill Scott, Herbie Handcock, you can hear me, um Stevie Wonder. I’ll hear stuff in a commercial or a movie and I’ll Shazam it and I’ll buy it. So, it’s a lot of stuff, like Earth Wind & Fire is in there, classics like the Isley Brother’s Footsteps in the Dark, Between the Sheets, David Bowie, you know what I mean? All kind of stuff in there!
What do you want our readers to know about Kem? Something special, something that they may not know about already about Kem?
That my best is yet to come. Don’t sleep on it. Look, the best is yet to come.