A Journey of Love, Faith, and Redemption
Written By: Michelle Emmick
Four-time Grammy®-nominated R&B legend KEM is a natural-born storyteller, so it’s no surprise that his new memoir, Share My Life, would be a beautifully guided and heart-centered timeline of his journey to self-discovery. Like the music he sings, his stories are filled with emotion.
Share My Life is KEM’s journey of love, faith, and redemption. “I’ve always shared my story from the stage and from different platforms that I’ve been privileged to be on, but the book was the perfect vehicle for me to expound on some of the themes of my life, some of the influences in my life, and my spiritual journey overcoming addiction and homelessness. It’s not a self-help book proper, but my hope is that by having experienced great healing and great transformation, I can positively impact someone else.”
KEM’s authenticity and vulnerability, shown throughout his work, are built on a foundation of faith. “It’s the foundation upon which I’m allowed to sit and have this conversation with you; it’s infused and ingrained in my music. I look at what I do as a ministry. I am a secular artist, not a gospel artist, but I believe I’m speaking the language of someone who’s seeking to have better outcomes in their lives.”
KEM’s spiritual walk began when he got sober in 1990 at age 23, after finding himself in and out of soup kitchens and shelters—stories he shares in his book. Far from a rags-to-riches story, KEM grew up with college-educated parents, a house, and a two-car garage in the suburbs. Compellingly, KEM shares that he didn’t know how to live, but through his journey, he found a place of surrender for his life. “I became teachable. I realized I don’t have the answers. And sometimes, when you don’t have the answers, that’s the best place to be because now you can be taught.”
In addition to his strong faith, a big part of his redemption came from therapy. “Therapy was everything—allowing ourselves to look over our lives and peel back layers.” KEM had been sober for over a decade before he started therapy during a pivotal time of crossroads in his life. “I had just signed to the Motown label and had been chasing a record deal since I was a teenager. That was the dream, and now here it sat in my lap. I always thought that landing the deal or having success in the business was going to be the thing that made everything okay, but that was not the case. It doesn’t make everything okay. As fantastic and rewarding and validating as it is and as big of a blessing as it has been in my life, it didn’t resolve and solve everything. There was so much left in my life that had not yet been dealt with.”
KEM’s memoir details exactly what ensued during those years and how he took steps in faith to understand and gain the tools necessary to heal. “Your mind is everything, and there is no shame in taking care of yourself. For me, therapy was transformative.”
Having personally experienced some of life’s most difficult circumstances, KEM now uses his platform to give back. In 2012, KEM launched a nonprofit to support a cause very near and dear to his heart. Mack & Third is an organization built on the premise that no basic human need should go unmet due to a lack of resources. “I’m a staunch believer in supporting any cause, just like the people who helped me when I was in the darkest period of my life. No matter where we sit, we can be effective in helping another human being.”
KEM’s journey is an amazing story of perseverance. From his earliest days making music and selling records out of his car, to his self-released first album, KEMISTRY (which went on to sell over 500,000 copies), to becoming an internationally renowned R&B singer/songwriter with a Platinum-selling album, two Gold-selling albums, five Grammy® nominations, eight #1 hit singles, and sold-out tours and shows, KEM is an example of what love, faith, and redemption can bring. At 55, KEM is better with age and just getting started.
When it comes to getting better with age, KEM says aging is mandatory, but getting old is optional.
KEM’s incredible memoir Share My Life is available in print and audio at Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Bookshop, Indie Bound and wherever books are sold.
Check out KEM’s music at https://www.musicbykem.com, and follow him on IG @musicbykem.
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