Detroit's Kem Explores Intimacy For 'Album III'
Anthony Mandler

Still basking in the Grammy Award-nominated success of last year's "Intimacy: Album III" -- which debuted at No. 2 on the Top 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts -- Detroit singer Kem promises he won't make fans wait another five years for his next album.

"I'm already cultivating songs for the next record," Kem (nee Owens), who's currently on tour, tells Billboard.com. "I've got three or four ideas, and I think when we come back to do the Detroit shows (Mar. 25 and Apr. 10) I'll be getting some cats in the studio and cut some things while we're there. So we're thinking about the fourth album right now."

That said, no direction has revealed itself yet. "The songs write themselves," Kem explains. "I get enough songs together and the songs will dictate what's going on and what the album will be. I think for me it works best that way."

Kem is hardly done with "Album III: Intimacy," however. He recently recorded a new version of the track "If It's Love" to be the third single, substituting Chrisette Michele for the duet part originally sung by Maurissa Rose.

"I just wanted to add another dimension to the record," Kem explains. "That record...throws you back to the days of Anita Baker or Gladys Knight or Patti Labelle, but I wanted something on the record that would be a little bit unexpected. Chrisette is a great vocalist and she's a radio darling, so I wanted to open it up a little bit and invite some listeners who may not automatically venture to a Kem record."

Kem may not be done recording new versions of "Intimacy" tracks, either. "I've got this idea kicking around in my head about re-doing one of the other songs," he reveals, "but I don't want to speak on it yet. It's gonna require me bringing in some other vocalist, if I have my wish. It looks good on paper, but I'm not gonna say anything 'til it's happening."

Kem's other major project at the moment is a women's fragrance, tentatively called Secure, which he hopes to have out for limited release by Mother's Day. "It's a warm scent," he reports. "I love it. My mom loves it, so we're very excited about it. Initially I'll be selling it at my shows, just like my first CD, and online, and we'll let it build from there. I'm very excited about branching out and flexing my entrepreneurial chops in a different arena."