Backbeat: Backstage Kem-istry at the Gibson

Newcomer Joe Ryan (left) and Rideout team up with W&W Public Relations' Karen Lee (Gail Mitchell)

Billboard caught up with Motown artist Kem following his Aug. 25 opening stint for the Isley Brothers and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly at Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheatre. The singer/songwriter/musician is gearing up to record his fourth album for release next year. "Intimacy: Album III," released in 2010, has sold 602,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. In the meantime, Kem’s 2012 Kemistry/Motown holiday album, "What Christmas Means," will be reissued this year.

Kem (left) and Motown's Rex Rideout flank Kem's manager Toya Hankins, CEO of Project Producers, LLC. (Gail Mitchell)

Motown VP of A&R Rex Rideout also noted during the backstage chat that he is in the studio working with Ledisi for her next album due next year. Right now, Motown is celebrating the success of “Hurt,” the first single from the Dec. 3 duets album by Toni Braxton and Babyface, which opened at No. 17 on the Adult R&B airplay chart. Its bow is the year’s second-best on Adult R&B. Rideout also introduced unsigned singer/rapper/songwriter Joe Ryan, introduced to him by rapper MC Lyte. Ryan is slated to release a mixtape next month and a single next year.
By the way: The clock is ticking as the Gibson counts down its final days. The longtime concert venue is closing in September (, April 24) to make room for a new Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios.