It’s not even Halloween yet, but Christmas albums are already here. First Cee Lo announced his new takes on Christmas classics, now Kem, better known for his sultry ballads, is heading into the crowded Christmas music rush. His CD “What Christmas Means” is in stores October 16. The Detroit-based singer says that the CD of original and classic recordings has been in the making for some time.

“People in my camp have been asking me to make a Christmas album for years,” Kem told The Huffington Post. “It was something that I wanted to do but at the same time I didn’t want to do a Christmas album of covers. And those are wonderful songs, but I really wanted to do a Christmas album of original songs — which, I didn’t do that either. The album is called, “What Christmas Means.” Half of the album is original compositions, and I chose the other half to be some of my favorite cover songs. But I put a different spin on the songs. I did them in ways that I haven’t heard anyone do them before. It’s not a contemporary Christmas album; it’s a classic Christmas album.”

Kem says he’s not sure when his next non-holiday CD will be released , though he’s completed the writing of it. He hopes it will be sometime in 2013. In the meantime, he’s keeping busy as a philanthropist, throwing the Mack and Third event in his native Detroit every year for the last three years to benefit the homeless. Kem himself was once homeless, while waiting for his musical career to come to fruition.

Motown, Kem’s label, has a history of Christmas musical success with artists like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5 all releasing classic Christmas music while with the legendary imprint. Kem is hoping to do the same. Singer Ledisi and Ralph Mitchell of The Floaters appear on the CD.

It's a classic Christmas album, not a contemporary record at all," Kem (ne Owens) told "There are songs on there that are merry, but it's not jolly. It's very thoughtful. It's warm. It's romantic. It's sensuous. It has fun moments. I set my expectations really high for this record, because a Christmas record is released every year, theoretically. It makes a statement you can't take back. So I aimed really high and I'm very proud of it; this Christmas album is probably the best music I've recorded to date."

“What Christmas Means” track listing:

1. Glorify The King

 2. What Christmas Means

 3. A Christmas Song For You

 4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

 5. The Christmas Song

 6. Christmas Time Is Here

 7. Be Mine For Christmas

 8. Merry Christmas Baby

 9. We Three Kings

 10. Doo Wop Christmas (That’s What Christmas Is All About)


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