Kem speaks on teaming up with Toni Braxton for latest album ‘Love Always Wins’

The R&B singer knows a thing or two about finding light in the dark

If the ongoing pandemic has you feeling down on love, R&B icon Kem is back with new music to mend your weary heart.

Back in April, he returned from a six-year hiatus with “Lie To Me,” a mesmerizing single from the three-time Grammy nominee that was co-written with Anthony Hamilton, Salam Remi and James Poyser.

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Since his 2014 project Promise To Love, Kem has gotten married and had two kids, so his life has been anything but slow in his absence. Now, he’s ready to make a triumphant return to the music scene with his latest offering, Love Always Wins.

The album showcases Kem’s signature style, reminding fans what real R&B is all about and he even enlisted the help of Toni Braxton, who lent her voice to an addictive duet, “Live Out Your Love.”

“It is an album for the times. It is an album of hope. It is an album that I hope encourages folks to not give up on the idea of love,” he told theGrio during an exclusive interview.

BET Celebration of Gospel 2014 - Show
Singer/songwriter Kem performs onstage during BET Celebration of Gospel 2014 at Orpheum Theatre on March 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BET)

“I think love is what is holding us all up. You know, right now, at the end of the day, that’s the one thing that we have in common. That somebody loves us and we love somebody. No matter what’s going on in the world, that doesn’t change. I think that idea will help pull people through these times,” he continued.

The album showcases Kem’s signature style, reminding fans what real R&B is all about and he even enlisted the help of Toni Braxton, who lent her voice to an addictive duet, “Live Out Your Love,” during quarantine.

“Toni is a great vocalist. She’s also a great producer and has worked with great producers,” he said. “I trusted her to go in and do what she does. She’s very gracious and very genuine and I’m grateful that she’s on the record.”

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Kem is hoping his latest collection of love songs helps some of the people struggling with maintaining their relationships through the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know that the beginning of kind of lockdown and quarantine and figuring this all out, I think it was particularly hard for people who were in relationships because whether you’ve been in for, like, 30 years or three months, I feel like the stakes went up kind of crazy,” he said.

9th Annual Ford Hoodie Awards Hosted By Steve Harvey - Show
Singer KEM performs onstage during the ninth annual Ford Hoodie Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center August 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Hoodie Awards)

“I’ve heard that it’s been challenging for some. When you’re in the house with somebody all day or your schedule has been interrupted… we’re already under stress. It was crazy before the pandemic, right? It was already crazy, so the pandemic just added an extra dynamic that I’m sure most of us feel that that we didn’t need.”

According to Kem, these tough times can serve as a useful tool to strengthen bonds between lovers.

“This is where the growth is–here in these times. This is where you you get to strengthen the roots of your foundations, of whatever your foundations may be in love and in your relationships. Some relationships will be stronger and better for this and some may not withstand it, that’s the reality of it,” he continues.

“I think at the end of the day when we come to the other side of this, I believe that we will all be different and we have an opportunity to be better than we were before we entered into into these times. That is what I’m holding on to and in a sense, that’s the focus of the album.” 

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