For anyone that’s ever met Grammy-nominated R&B/soul musician Kem Owens, better known simply as Kem, it may not come as much of a surprise that he’s much more than just a gifted singer and songwriter. He’s someone who celebrates both his musical talent, and the spirituality that helped him overcome the darker times in his life, with his fans, and within his own heart. Thoughtful and introspective, he’s someone who understands that the only thing that is truly capable of maximizing, or limiting, greatness…is self.
Born in Nashville but raised in Detroit, Kem dealt with homelessness, addiction, and isolation from his family shortly after finishing high school, but overcame these issues through spirituality and music.
“My addiction brought me to my knees. So it was like, ‘Look, either you’re going to do this or you’re going to die out here in the streets,’” Kem recalled. “I could no longer continue living the way I was living, and I didn’t know how to stop. And it was at that point when we [as addicts] give up on our own plan and our own ideas on how to solve our dilemmas — as far as recovery is concerned — we have to get out of the way.”
“The principles of my recovery are principles that permeate through every area of my life,” he continued. “You hear it in the music, they run my business. So I’m not just clean and sober from drugs and alcohol, my recovery is the foundation for everything in my life right now.”
In addition to attributing God as his biggest inspiration to remaining sober, Kem said that surrounding himself with spiritually-minded people and helping others overcome their personal obstacles with addiction are some of the ways he maintains sobriety.
Since his sobriety, Kem’s life has been like a soaring star. He wrote, produced, and financed his self-released debut album, Kemistry, and was later signed by Motown Records in November 2001, who re-released the album on February 25, 2003, selling more than 500,000 copies nationwide and going gold-plus. Kem followed his debut release with a second album, Album II, which includes the song “You Might Win” featuring Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and a third album, Intimacy: Album III, which features Maurissa Rose and Jill Scott, and debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
BlackDoctor.org recently sat down with Kem on the heels of his Intimacy Tour to talk about the key to being healthy and life lessons he’s learned…