Detroit's Kem Explores Intimacy For 'Album III'

R&B singer Kem continues to make progress on his third album -- but won't predict when we'll finally hear it. "No," he says with a laugh, "that would be a mistake."

Nevertheless, the Detroit-based artist tells Billboard.com that he's "probably got about 15, 20 songs" written for "Album III: Intimacy," that he hopes to whittle down to a final count of 10. "We have a lot of orchestration on the new record," he reports, "a lot of acoustic piano, too. It's taking longer than anyone would like. I'd love to just flesh it out and put it in the hands of the people immediately, but I just want to make sure that what I'm doing is right. We're trying to make a record that people will not soon forget."

Kem, whose first two albums -- 2002's "Kemistry" and 2005's "Album II" -- were both certified gold -- is still talking to Jill Scott about a possible collaboration for the new album. He also recorded one track, "Why Would You Stay," with the late Motown arranger David Van De Pitte, whose credits include Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" among many others. "He just passed away on the ninth of August," Kem says. "I was hoping to try to do other things with him. I'm just glad we had the opportunity to work with him on this record. It was really an honor to have him shine his light on this project."

Kem says the "Intimacy" subtitle is indicative of the album's lyrical theme, but he promises that it's not just about sexual and romantic intimacy. "Intimacy is allowing yourself to really be yourself in front of another individual and allowing them to do the same without any judgment," he explains. "We're talking about relationships between lovers, between friends...spiritual intimacy between ourselves and our creator. There's a song called 'Mother's Love' which is talking about maternal intimacy. We go a little bit deeper into those things on this record."