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Tondrae Kemp / Press

“Tondrae Kemp began singing in church at the age of 10 in his native Baton Rouge. Then, inspired by hip-hop pioneers like Rakim and Public Enemy, he embarked on a career as a rapper. However, he soon realised that hip-hop had limitations and with real songs he could express so much more so he joined an acapella group called All 4 Love where he learned to expand upon his vocals – citing his influences as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway and Bob Marley. Simultaneously he began working on his own songs – a craft he polished at the University Of New Orleans and he soon became an in-demand feature of the Crescent City's music scene. Trips to Europe saw him recording with like minded musicians but on his return to the States in 2012 he released his first full solo LP – 'Sun Money', which is being re-promoted on the back of some high profile Big Apple Kemp performances and upbeat, underground critical appraisals.”

“Louisiana rhythm & blues is often exclusively -and thus erroneously- associated with songs from the 1950s to the 1970s. Two impressive new releases demonstrate this genre's constant evolution. On Sun Money (Kwality Records), singer Tondrae Kemp deftly balances suave crooning with gritty urgency on a set of all-original material. A native of Baton Rouge, where he started out singing in church, Kemp launched his career in New Orleans. Sun Money reflects these Louisiana roots, along with subtle rap and hip-hop influences, and time spent in the New York scene's cutting edge. The result is a consistently engaging and well-paced album that calls for repeated listening. From a Louisiana cultural perspective, two songs, "Happiness" and "Say If You Want Me To Leave," capture the raw spirit of old blues records -such as Lightnin' Slim's "Hoodoo Blues"- as strikingly interpreted with a modern sensibility.”

“Listen, ladies: no matter how bad you want us to be, guys are not mind readers. If you want something, just f**king tell us! I know Tondrae Kemp feels the same way. On his latest feature, the Baton Rouge native can sense something’s amiss with his girl, so he makes a simple proposition: Say if You Want Me to Leave. As he explains in his silky-smooth verses, it ain’t no sweat if she wants to end it, but she just won’t pull the trigger. With his breezy vocals, delivered over the buttery, funky boardwork of Daniel Haedicke, you actually believe that he will be fine. I understand why she is having reservations, though; she’ll look like a fool when he’s topping the charts. If Say if You Want Me to Leave has you hungry for more, grab a spoon and dig into Kemp’s Sun Money album, out now.”

“Elmore's mission is saving American music, and Tondrae Kemp should feel right at home in our pages. Calling two great American music cities home (New Orleans and New York), he offers up ten tracks of modern soul that draw sounds and styles from a variety of eclectic sources, including blues and reggae. Kemp can sing like Sam Cooke, but with Sun Money, he is far from simply offering up the old school. "Can We Pretend" recalls mellower tracks from Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, only to be followed up by the smoldering blues of "Happiness." The standout track on the disc is "The Hotter the Fire," which blends electronic beats, jazzy chord changes, intense lead guitar and a great vocal. It's the kind of tune that makes you shake your head with the beat, and you just can't help it. Tondrae Kemp has been turning out good music for over ten years, and Sun Money is the kind of disc that should introduce him to a bigger audience. Well worth a listen.”

“The newest release by Louisiana soul singer Tondrae Kemp is as mixed and varied musically as his hometown of New Orleans. Blending together soul with blues, reggae, electronic and hip-hop, Kemp’s music has been described as “Zappa influenced by Public Enemy and Stevie Wonder.” The comparison is clear on Sun Money. Strong tracks include “Can We Pretend,” “No Time For Reminiscing” and last but not least, the first single “Happiness”. An enjoyable addition to previous Kemp releases, the soul singer is able to effortlessly combine several different musical forms into a fine-flowing album.”

“He’s soulful, with a dash of folk, a little bit reggae and a slight peppering of everything else in-between; yet Tondrae Kemp possesses an engaging, yet unstructured approach to his music that isn’t exactly easy to overlook. As he occupies both the Sun Belt and the East Coast (and has traveled everywhere throughout his young career as a musician), the composer and lyricist conveys a free-wheeling, practically streams-of-consciousness-type way of fleshing out memories and emotions. With vocals that are supple, glib and nearly conversational at times, Kemp's new release, Sun Money, is a CD where the arrangements are sparse (only four instruments are credited and two other vocalists beyond Mr. Kemp), sophisticated, and filled with a raw yearning.”

“Though we may not all want the exact same things out of life, there's one common goal that we are all in search of: happiness. Since the beginning of time, the pursuit of happiness has made folk do some downright foolish stuff. Let the good Reverend Al Green tell it, happiness is one of those things that'll make you do wrong (love being the other one, of course). Regardless of the price one may sometimes pay for obtaining happiness, it does little to stop us from searching for it. Singer Tondrae Kemp brings his search to the forefront in his latest, the aptly-titled "Happiness." The first single from his new album, Sun Money, the song encapsulates all of the frustrations that can arise when on the hunt for the ever-elusive state of being. Bluesy and gritty, Kemp morphs from the pursuer to the accuser as he takes happiness to task for remaining out of reach. And while we all know that complaining about something does little to ease pain, it does take the edge off a bit to commiserate.”

“Bluesy Louisiana singer Tondrae Kemp already has us smitten with sexy soulful crooning. Watch his recent video for "Happiness" with a down home jazzy feel and a warmth that just wants to make you wanna run up and hug somebody. Kind of got a churchy John Legend vibe going, too. The song is off Tondrae's upcoming album, Sun Money, out September 19. Don't miss the opportunity to see this boo live in Brooklyn this weekend and next week! More dates being added soon.”

“Don't feel bad if the name Tondrae Kemp isn't already familiar to you. Because despite being a very talented artist with numerous solo albums to his credit, he's one of those artists who flies under the mainstream radar. But on his latest album, Sun Money, Tondrae doesn't spend time complaining about how he's underrated or hopping on music trends in order to churn out a mainstream hit or two. No, instead this New Orleans native who now lives in New York he does what he's been doing his whole professional career: make fresh and modern bluesy Soul songs that you not only hear with your ears, but absorb with your mind and feel with your heart. Sun Money, which was released in the U.S. Sept. 19, 2012 by Kwality Records, is one of the true underrated gems of 2012.”

“Right from the opening couplet "I been looking fo' yo ass / You been absenteee..." and the spooky organ intro, you know this new Tondrae Kemp song "Happiness" is gon' be a keeper. Consider this exhibit C (no electronico) in the case I been making that the blues is so back. Just to make it even iller, this neo-blues is really a meta-blues–call it the self-reflexive, existentialist, inherent-impossibility-of- desire blues. Watch the video below and look for more info on an album soon; "Happiness" is apparently the first release from a new project called Sun Money but meanwhile cop the single on iTunes.”

“Faith and money are often mentioned as tools of "Happiness," though neither ever seem to arrive at the same time. Join Tondrae Kemp on an empty search for the objectless motivation that pushes people to rise from their bed in the morning. TK & Jens Resh-Thomason blues inspired production morphs into a sound of hopelessness. Kemp's melodic agony seems like it has no end in sight even with an APB for "Happiness." The crooner will drop "Happiness" on his upcoming album 'Sun Money.'”

“In a need for some real soulful, mood shifting, passionate music? Then this is exactly the one for you! Tondrae Kemp throws down these amazing vocals alongside a beautiful bluesy production from TK & Jens Resch-Thomason, to create the audio and video for ‘Happiness‘. This joint really takes you back to the golden era, and is perfect for so many generations to listen to and enjoy. Check out more from Louisiana’s artist, Tondrae, here, and watch for Kemps album ‘Sun Money‘ which drops this fall. Read more to catch the download link and upcoming album artwork!”

“Soulful songster Tondrae Kemp may be new to The DJBooth, but with releases dating back to his 2005 album Still Searching, the Louisiana crooner has certainly put in work. Fast-forward quite a few years later and Kemp is still putting out his soulful tunes for the world to hear with his record Happiness, serving as the musicians latest single. Happiness is the type of heavily bluesy record that would normally seem impossible for someone who didn’t grow up in the golden era of blues to duplicate, but Kemp succeeds at doing just that on his record. The singer’s rich vocals get a bit of visual assistance thanks to the accompanying music video for the record, which features Kemp and his mysterious leading lady. Producers TK and Jens Resch-Thomason keep the blues heavy on the production end as they lace the record with a nice helping of strings and drums. Lookout for Happiness on the crooner’s Sun Money album, which will be out this fall on iTunes.”

“Soon it was on to catch a set by rising local soul singer, Tondrae Kemp, and his amazing band, just before heading ...”