When Grammy award-winning recording artist KEM released his well-received Christmas album last year, What Christmas Means, it raised the bar for the holiday tradition. Millions of fans embraced the music and the season as they celebrated with family and friends. For the 2013 holiday season KEM has assembled a couple of friends; the iconic Ron and Ernie Isley and legendary Patti Labelle will perform with KEM tonight at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.
In the Detroit born singer’s version of The Christmas Story narrated by high-energy comic, Anthony Anderson, and written by KEM’s manager Toya Hankins, Andersen’s Scrooge like persona is implored by the music legends to embrace the spirit of Christmas and show some love during the holiday season and throughout the year.
KEM notes that he has a special fondness for Christmas and the holiday music tradition. During a private preview of the show which is ending its six-city tour in Detroit on Friday, Dec. 20 the singer jokingly admitted that the show’s concept was inspired by another music legend of a very different genre, country music singer Kenny Rogers.
“I grew up going to the Fox every year to see him do his Christmas show, and I wanted to try to emulate that. I think in African American culture, you don’t see that from us. So I wanted to make that offering to my fan base, make it part of their holiday season for years to come,” says Kem.
“I think people will be pleasantly surprised at how sensual and romantic this album is, considering it’s a holiday record. Christmas is a holiday of being warm and cozy with the one you love … I believe it can be even more romantic and intimate than Valentine’s Day. My Christmas album is the best music I have recorded to date, and my hope is that people will be playing it for years to come,” explained Kem
The show is filled with lots of magical moments which will no doubt rekindle the spirit of giving even in the most cynical among us in these pressing times … especially when Ms. LaBelle breaks into a moving rendition of “Going to Walk Around Heaven.”
“My bend on Christmas is that it should be celebrated every day of the year. It should be every day of the year. … I am going to [of course] cook and have a party. I have plans for all of my friends and family to come and visit … because I like people,” she explained with heartfelt sincerity and the genuine warmth that has endeared a legion of loyal fans for more than five decades.
“Christmas just means getting together and celebrating, because I unlike Patti, don’t like my family that much,” adds the irreverent Anderson.
Ernie Isley concluded on a more somber note, “As far as the Isley family and the Isleys are concerned, Christmas is an indelible memory. Our first brother [now deceased] Kelly Isaac Jr., was born on Christmas day.”
KEM’s What Christmas Means is a tradition in the making to be enjoyed for generations to come.