A smooth and sensuous sound of their own influenced by the likes of Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, Atlantic Starr, Sade Jill Scott and Maxwell just to name a few and you have Kenya and Nemor.
If the midnight sun had a voice, it would touch that inner chord that transforms simple tones into something so much greater. That is the vocal caliber of Icelandic-American Kenya Emil, lead singer of the duet Kenya and Nemor, who are gearing up to bring their music to audiences all over the world.
Kenya & Nemor speak…
It is Jay Nemor, a Texan songwriter deeply connected to the very roots of soul music. When they perform, the audience asks itself: “Why don’t they make music like that anymore?” Well, they do and it manifests itself in this duo.
Kenya and Nemor began in mid-August 2006 when they gave their first full band performance at the University of Iceland student bar. From that, they went directly to center stage on Reykjavik Culture Night where they enthralled Icelanders with their magic.
Finding the audience very receptive to their sound and music, they continued to perform at Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik, Crash Mansion, New York City, Sildajazz, Haugesund, Jamfestivalen Norevikane, Sognefjord, Reisefestivalen in Oslo.
They were asked to make an appearance at the Christian Radich suite Grand Hotel Oslo at the 25th Anniversary of the American Coordinating Council of Norway‘s annual 4th of July Weekend Celebration. Today, they are stepping up their act with high caliber musicians from all corners of the world and ready to take their act to the finish line.
You Take Me Places
Singer, songwriter Kenya Emil’s musical journey began at the age of 8 by playing the flute. At the age of 15, she performed in the Icelandic high school singing competition. Her amazing voice wasn’t enough to keep her singing, and after the competition, Kenya stayed silent until her twenties.
At twenty-two, Kenya was encouraged by those close to her to attend try-outs for ‘The Soul of Motown‘. She won over the judges during her try-out, and the experience awoke her desire to sing and perform. In her own words: “Music became my main fuse”.
This Is Real
“I can’t really say that I have much of a musical background because growing up in Iceland, there wasn’t a lot of music played in my home. Then one day my mom bought me a CD by Earth Wind and Fire that I played until it broke.
After that, I got a Bob Marley CD and from that point on, I was totally hooked on music.” Kenya has always been quite the poet. At first, the thought of songwriting seemed a huge task.
But then, she stumbled upon the realization that writing songs and poetry was near synonymous. She strives for her music to have no age, gender or cultural boundaries.
Kenya & Nemor pre- Cafe Kaos practice
When asked what made her choose to pursue a career as a singer, she replies: “I can’t not sing.” Coincidentally, her audience can’t not listen to her. During the 2003 Motown revue, Kenya met Jason Nemor, current singing and songwriting partner.
Approximately one year later, they formed the duet Kenya and Nemor. From that point forward she, has been unstoppable when it comes to creating music.
Kenya continues to develop her singing and songwriting skills, and has had the opportunity and privilege to work with a few of the music industry’s experienced producers:
Aaron Whitby, Thaddeus Smith aka Pismo, Rohan Dyer and Roland Richards. Kenya has taken the knowledge she gained from each experience and merged it with her own unique talents.
Like Your Spirit (Disco Jazz Funk Jam)
At age 11 he decided to play the alto saxophone and played until the age of 14 in various stage- and concert bands as well as solo performances.
His earliest and most impressive event with music as a child was at the age of five when he attended his fist live concert performance to see ‘Earth, Wind & Fire‘. As Jay recalls:
“The thing I remember most is seeing Verdine White suspended sideways in midair playing the bass and I remember saying to my mother: ‘I want to do that’.”
Some of his greatest influences include Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Earth Wind & Fire, Isaac Hayes and Gil Scott Heron.
A career in basketball led Jay to Iceland. Due to the amount of spare time one has during the day as a professional basketball player in Europe, he found the desire to reconnect with the saxophone after a 15-year absence.
In the summer of 1999 he bought a stack of books and took the time to re-teach himself to play the horn. In 2003, a friend invited him to try-out for a Motown-tribute not as a saxophone player but as a vocalist.
Wanna Let U Know
During the revue Jay rediscovered his passion for music. He remembers sitting in a club in downtown Reykjavik, and while listening to old soul and RnB music, one friend and revue colleague asked: “Why don’t they make music like this anymore?”
He borrowed a Casio keyboard from current songwriting partner, Kenya Emil, and began learning chords and how to arrange them into a song.
Eventually, he came up with a few tunes and shortly thereafter, in the fall of 2004, he and Kenya Emil teamed up to form Kenya & Nemor. Jay has worked on various projects as a session musician (vocals, keyboards, saxophone),
Also worked as an producer and / or songwriter with a variety of artists ranging from hip hop, RnB, soul, house, electronic, rock, pop, alternative and world music. Jay currently resides in Oslo, Norway.
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JUST BECUZ ALBUM PROMO