Welcome back! I hope you have been following and enjoying the last 4 ‘series’ where we have been paying homage to fantastic soul and RnB singers who for some reason are either missing in action or gone to do other things.
Some are still recording great music but due to the ‘Politricks’ of the music business they just can’t shine, not even in the Adult Contemporary genre that is allegedly designed for aging singers.
In this chapter:
- We will look at an unbelievable singer who struggled with addiction and recorded his first album maxing out his American Express credit card at the same time waiting tables.
- A fantastic singer songwriter who was the ladies’ crush in the late 80s/early 90s. Hip Hop mogul P. Diddy adopted his son.
- A great singer songwriter, multi instrumentalist who graduated from Harvard, Yes you heard it correctly, Harvard at age 19. Again, you heard it correctly age 19!
I must admit the first time I heard Love Calls on radio was circa 2004, I was taken aback by his velvety smooth and soothing sound, It was the remix version with British duo Floetry. So I dug deeper to first put a face to the name Kem because I thought this man’s name sounded Nigerian (Kem maybe abbreviation for Kemi?) and his voice ‘un-American’
Alas, it was Kem Owen (born Kim Owen 1969) from Detroit who suffered from drug addiction problems, overcame the debacle of his life choice and recorded his first album maxing out his credit card while moonlighting as a live wedding singer and a table waiter .
The rest as they say is history when Motown came knocking. He re-released his debut KEMistry and went Gold. Love Calls was and still is an instant classic.
Al B Sure
If you are under 30 years old you will not understand the impact Albert Brown (AKA Al B Sure) had on the ladies especially back in the late 80s/early 90s.
Based on the picture you can tell which one doesn’t really fit the puzzle right? That’s his son, the famous Boohoo model and actor Quincy Combs (born Quincy Brown), P. Diddy adopted Quincy at a very tender age when he fell for Quincy’s mom, model Kim Porter because Al B Sure was allegedly a dead beat dad.
Besides his personal life, Al B Sure is a prolific singer and songwriter who has not only made hits for himself but for other artistes including Tevin Campbell and Quincy Jones, His 2009 comeback album (after 17years away ) ‘Honey, I’m Home’ was okay, mediocre at best. Al is still touring and making music.
When we talk all round raw, unbridled and authentic talent NO ONE compares to Anthony Ryan Leslie, not even R. Kelly or Quincy Jones and here is why:
- Perfect 1600 SAT in high school, grades does not get higher than 1600. In Britain it is called ‘the highest score a student can get in their GCSC’.
- He graduated from Ivy League Havard college (university) with a Magna Cum Laude at age 19.
- He was the Valedictorian in his final year.
- He plays every instrument.
- He wrote, produced, arranged and played every instrument on Cassie’s 2006 debut monster hit album which includes Me & U
- He turned down a $20m deal with Universal that could have seen him way more popular just because the corporate giant (Universal) allegedly wanted him to alter his sound a little.
Shall I continue?
He is dubbed the modern day Prince, the black Mozart and ever since he turned down that deal with Universal his musical career took a nose dive that saw him almost wiped out from the music scene.
I hear he is into technology and still touring, mainly Europe.
Please leave a comment and will see you in part 6
Exciting blog, great mixed music content!