Kemp is a singer, songwriter and actor, originally from Edenton, North Carolina. He's shared the stage with Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal, Gil Scott-Heron and collaborated with the Holmes Brothers on his last record, Edenton.
Kemp has written and performed original compositions in the US and Europe for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and a residency at Boston's Wang Theater.
Kemp's original songwriting and performances are a tapestry of American roots, blues, jazz and folk music.
Kemp is an educator. He has taught in the Newton (Ma.) Public Schools system for 40 years and is a much in demand speaker/educator, including a songwriting residency at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts. Recently he was invited to give a series of talks and master classes with Chad Stokes the founder of the band Dispatch at the Berklee College of Music on the subject of "Artists as Activists." Along with his musical talents comes a skill for spoken word appearances and creative writing. Kemp is an artist and an activist, a man that brings his best self to all aspects of his artistic interests.
Kemp's been around a long time. His songs reflect a mature artist willing to fuse diverse elements in the search for a more modern and timely blues, with lyrics that are socially aware and intensely soulful.
Here's what the press is saying...
Kemp Harris is a thief, a tease and a heartbreaker. He knows too much. And its all right there when he sings. Beautifully there. He'll take your breath away.
- Tom Ashbrook, Host of NPR's On Point
Earthy, insightful, haunting...sacred and profane. Harris is in perfect communion with the Holmes Brothers and his earthy band.
- Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat
Harris has his finger on the pulse of the modern world with an intensity born of awareness, and he writes with an understanding of what our lives lack. He delivers this wisdom with a timeless voice.
- Art Tipaldi, Blues Revue