Grammy-nominated R&B singer Kem debuts with a frank assessment of his struggles with addiction and the shame and “mask” of silence that fed his dysfunction. The narrative opens with Kem on the hunt for whatever substance might help him “descend into darkness numb out,” and then flashes backward, charting his course from rural Tennessee to Detroit, and from “a painfully shy kid bent on self-destruction to someone who performs original songs in front of appreciative fans.” He recounts the rocky path he took to stardom, including his stint in the short-lived R&B group Wild Pair, a latent belief in his own voice, and a brush with homelessness. Eventually, he writes, AA meetings pushed him toward self-expression and jump-started his recovery and career trajectory. Throughout, Kem is candid about the discrepancy between his lyrics and his troubled romantic relationships, and he dives headfirst into the complexities of his various interracial relationships. The takeaway is triumphant: music heals Kem, and his climb to the top is captivating and inspirational. Fans and non-fans alike will be moved. Agent: David Vigliano, Vigliano Assoc. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A forthright chronicle of hard-won success”—KIRKUS
“The takeaway is triumphant: music heals Kem, and his climb to the top is captivating and inspirational. Fans and non-fans alike will be moved.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Kem is one of the most remarkably gifted singers of his generation: an artist whose voice bathes in soulfulness. a performer who enchants his listeners with haunting melodies.. Share My Life is a breathtaking arrangement of words. composed of compassion drawn from a symphony of love, resounding in the heart and mind of one of our most inspiring vocalists and majestic human beings."—MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, New York Times bestselling author
"Watching Kem perform, I have always been struck by his open testimony of overcoming addiction. By sharing his struggles, he has helped so many others have the confidence to confront and overcome their own. He has shared his love with us, and now he shares the rest of the story. Through his memoir, we go beyond the music and better understand the people and places that helped shape Kem into the man he is today.”—KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS,
attorney and former mavor of Atlanta
"Kem's music is my go-to when I need a balm for the soul or when dancing with abandon when no one is looking. So it was no surprise that this book had the same effect. It is revelatory, moving, and inspirational. Thank you, Kem, for keeping it real and for sharing your brave heart."—LISA CORTÉS, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer and director (The Apollo, Little Richard: I Am Everything)
"From the first time I heard the maiestic melody entitled "Share My Life, I always knew it was bigger than music. For the first time, we see the man behind the music, in a way we never have before. This journey documents the complete miracle from Detroit struggles to chart-topping success. I'm glad Kem has finally decided to share his life."—PASTOR KEION HENDERSON
"Kem has consistently combined his vocal fluidity, distinct phraseology, and musical chops into the unique sound of Kem. His music encompasses all that is great in the African American experience from gospel and blues to jazz and R&B. His message of loves lost, wished for, and ultimately found resonates with us all. Share Mv Life shows us that success is not an accident of fate but is the result of hard work, dedication, and perseverance -that overnight success is decades in the making. Kem's brutally honest and loving memoir demonstrates that no one is beyond redemption and in the end, 'Love Always Wins."—DR. SHARON MALONE, advocate for women's health
Raised in Detroit by distant, troubled parents, artist Kem learned quickly that "hard things are better left unsaid," which left him homeless at 19 as he coped with internalized pain by using drugs. Here he recounts his journey from that hard beginning to renown as an R&B singer/songwriter with multiple Grammy Awards to his credit.
An R&B star looks into his heart.
Making his book debut with a raw memoir, three-time Grammy nominee Kem, assisted by veteran music writer and co-author Ritz, recounts his rocky journey from self-destructive behavior to professional acclaim. Born Kim Owens in 1969, Kem was a shy child who felt unloved by his father and often ignored by his mother, who, for many years, was a functioning alcoholic. By the time he was a teenager, he tried to dull his pain with drugs and alcohol. In high school, he recalls, “smoking weed and drinking beer became an every-day thing. Sometimes before school, sometimes after. My dependency grew gradually but steadily.” He remembers his senior year through an “alcoholic fog.” After his father threw him out, he lived on the streets, stealing, lying, and “sinking into a quicksand of self-loathing.” When he landed in a Salvation Army shelter, he knew he had hit rock bottom. One of the residents knew, too, and urged Kem to attend a Twelve Steps meeting with him. It proved transformative. The program “was the first time in my life when I was consciously aware of searching for something. I was searching to better myself. Searching for a way to stop the hemorrhaging, the bleeding out of my life into this bottomless pit of despair.” Kem made a commitment to sobriety that, he realizes, “depends on daily spiritual maintenance,” including prayer, meditation, and music, which had always been a passion. He found inspiration in New Age churches, where he heard “God’s inspiration in all music.” Marianne Williamson, senior minister at one church, invited him to join her choir, which turned out to be an exhilarating experience for him and led to other public performances. In the 1990s, determined to write an album, he began an arduous process “to unearth the music buried in my heart”—a process that has earned him many accolades.
A forthright chronicle of hard-won success.