Tondrae Kemp
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Tondrae Kemp

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States
R&B Reggae




"BlackGrooves: Tondrae Kemp - Sun Money"

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.
Reviewed by Ian Hallagan -

" Tondrae Kemp - Happiness"

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.'

Producer: TK & Jens Resh-Thomason
Album: Sun Money
Label: Kwality Records -

" Tondrae Kemp – “Happiness”"

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. -

" Tondrae Kemp Is Looking All Over For 'Happiness'"

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 the pain, it does take the edge off a bit to commiserate over some good music. The New Orleans native/Brooklyln transplant's album, Sun Money, is available on iTunes. -

"Giant Step: Tondrae Kemp – “Happiness” + To Release ‘Sun Money’"

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.

Tour Dates
Sept 16 – Littlefield – Brooklyn, NY *Special Appearance
Sept 19 – Free Candy: Sun Money Album Release Show – Brooklyn, NY - Giant Step

" R&B / Soul Guide Review: Tondrae Kemp - 'Sun Money'"

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.

Old-school Formula

Sometimes it seems like fate likes to play cruel jokes on music fans and the music industry. After all, how many times over the years has a singer with a razor-thin voice and a plastic personality managed to become a star of the industry, while artists who are 10 times more talented toil away, relatively unknown to the mainstream and underappreciated by the underground? Well, Tondrae Kemp is one of those underappreciated artists. But on Sun Money -- which is actually his third album, after 2009's Cool Landlord: Songs From the Room and 2005's Still Searching -- Tondrae proves the old adage that popularity doesn't equal quality is absolutely correct. The album isn't likely to take the U.S. by storm because it goes against the grain of what it considered hit-worthy or radio-friendly in today's R&B/Soul world. That's because instead of cold, computerized beats, heavily synthesized vocals and trendy producers, Sun Money relies on the old school formula of raw, untouched vocals, live and real instruments and a focus on the artist rather than the person producing the track.

But although the album bucks many contemporary trends, that's not to say that it's stuck in the past or has a dated sound. In fact, the album's stylish sophistication is thoroughly modern, it's just not the type of style urban music fans are used to having shoved down their throats. Example A is perhaps the album's best tune, "Say If You Want Me to Go," a relationship tune that slickly and deftly merges funk and hip-hop.

Strong, Charismatic

Although he does engage in some vibrant commentary from time to time here (particularly on "Gangsta Americano" and the reggae-tinged "Babylons Fall Down"), that's not to say the whole album's politically charged. In fact, two of the better songs on Sun Money, "Baby Girl" and "Happiness (I Put the Blame on You)" are both narratives about personal relationships. "Baby Girl," which is the album's opening track, is a reggae-tinged ode to a lost love: "I've been all around the world, still can't get over Baby Girl, In my heart burns a flame, does her heart burn the same? ... I've been longing to kiss her and have her back in the picture." And on the bluesy "Happiness," Tondrae isn't just mourning a former lover, he's actively seeking her out: "I been looking for your ass, you been absentee, And I ain't the only one trying to find ya, you've been avoiding me," he sings. "Put the word out on the streets, worldwide APB, you're missing in action, I'm missing satisfaction 'til you come and see me."

With all its good points -- strong, charismatic singing, solid instrumentation, good creativity and originality -- Sun Money isn't a perfect album. Some of the latter songs don't really mesh together well, particularly because the vocals don't carry as much swagger or self-assuredness as the early tracks. But overall, this is a release that's right up there with anything you'll hear from most adult contemporary R&B/Soul artists signed to major labels. Tondrae Kemp might not quite be the modern equivalent of a Curtis Mayfield or Donny Hathaway, but he just might be the closest that any modern artist has come.

By Mark Edward Nero - R&B / Soul Guide

"Soultracks: Tondrae Kemp - Sun Money (review)"

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.

Most would probably consider Kemp's brand an ‘acquired taste,’ but his undeniable talents can be heard loud and clear in the melodic, yet meandering “Can We Pretend,” the overtly R&B-flavored “Still Got Fire For You” and the 70s-era “The Little Things,” which sounds like it could’ve been a demo for The Stylistics or Delphonics, as Tondrae pays a humor-edged homage to the loyal lady in his life: “You stayed there when they towed the car, always by my side even when I’ve gone too far. Then once again, when I broke my arm, you were there like a lucky charm… bring me ice when I crack my head, you treat me nice when I should be dissed instead.”

Perfectly-paced music for a cross-country trek, a couple’s stroll on the beach or a laid-back soiree, Mr. Kemp’s oscillating from genre to genre can come across as an extended studio jam. The free-wheeling vibe (and occasional profanity) might be too much for more rigid listeners, but when his organic and innate gifts shine through (the blues-tinged “Happiness,” the swaggering “Gangsta Americano”), those who have the patience won’t regret the efforts it takes to absorb the sounds and ride out the eclectic angles and curves. Mildly Recommended.

By Melody Charles -


Still working on that hot first release.



Transplanted from New Orleans into the metropolis of New York, Tondrae Kemp has been growing exponentially since his departure to the big city. Where he was once known as a soul singer, he is now expounding on that notion by adding the potential for any genre to find its way into the music. From Hip Hop to Reggae, Rock, Electronic and always Soulful, TK could take you anywhere at any moment. Always with a fresh approach and always unhindered. Imagine Zappa influenced by Public Enemy and Stevie Wonder. Something different and sincere. As funny as it is musically fresh. Tondrae would say that he's "Just channeling whatever comes out. A true expression that I haven't attempted to gate or limit by description. An honest flow and expression."