In the music industry, there are artists who leave an indelible mark on the soul. These artists create music that is timeless, raw, honest and simply beautiful. Tonight I had the opportunity to sit down with a duo whose entire catalogue of music embraces and embodies those very tenets and more – Kindred The Family Soul. Kindred’s DC fans were afforded a very special opportunity Thursday evening as Gypsy Soul with The Flow + Madison Davenport presented SOULCIALIZE with Kindred The Family Soul, a free meet and greet held at Ben’s Next Door on U St. Kindred recently released their 4th album “Love has no Recession”, and they are in town for three performances – the Birchmere on Friday, August 19th (sold out) and Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis on Saturday, August 20th (the 8:30 show is sold out, but a 5:30 show has been added) – and tonight was a rare experience. Fans were able to hang out, have CD’s signed, take photos and “Soulcialize” with what has to be one of the hottest “husband and wife” teams currently in the music business; and the press was given a rare opportunity sit one-on- one with Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler – better known to all as Kindred The Family Soul.
Let’s start with your great online reality show “6 is it!” What prompted you all to “live out loud” with a TV program?
Fatin: It was just the question that we get all the time from so many journalists and fans – “How do yall do it, you’re married, you work together, yall sing together, and you have all these kids.” And so we decided to do the show to give the fans an opportunity to see what our life is really like, away from the concerts, music videos and photo shoots. We shied away from doing it with a network, so that like our music, we could have creative control. It’s just us taping ourselves, and it’s great because it’s like a moving photo album and the fans get an opportunity to see “us”.
Aja: We also believed in the fact that we had a unique fan base and they felt a kinship to our story and connecting to us. And the show helps people to understand that their life is beautiful and that our life, even though it may seem like its glamorous, is more like your life, than it is like the things you may see on TV. And that validates it for people and gives people encouragement to think, “my life is fantastic, I don’t have to look at celebrities and think I have to look like that or I gotta have that in order to have a beautiful life.”
Fatin, you started out writing for Bell Biv DeVoe and Pebbles, left the business for a while and returned as a performer. Did you always want to perform as opposed to writing?
I did start out as a songwriter and producer and that pretty much was my introduction into the business, but I always wanted to be an artist as well. Most artists get thrown into the writing and producing thing because it kind of moves faster – I can name a few greats, like Ne-yo who started out writing songs, but he always wanted to be “Ne-yo”. It’s just that the songs went a little faster than “Ne-yo, the artist”. Even Jill Scott who, before she was a known as a singer, wrote a hook for Erykah Badu and from that, ends up singing with the Roots which transforms her career.
But I was always an artist, I played instruments, and played with different groups, and so I’ve been prepped to be a musician all my life. Prepped to be in the position to be a recording artist for a very long time.
Aja, DC is home for you. Is there a different feeling when you perform here and what are some of your “must do’s” when you’re in the city?
It definitely feels good (to be here & perform here), because I was always the kid that was trying to sing and so the vibe was “Thank God she made it because she’s been trying to do that for forever”. But when I perform here it’s such a feeling of gratification because I’ve always wanted to perform and it has always been my dream, since I was 6 years old I’ve wanted to perform. And performing is always such a wonderful feeling. With that said, I’ve also always had such an outpouring of support here. Always. Even when I moved and settled down in Philadelphia, I mean I haven’t lived here in over 13 years, I’m still embraced and celebrated as a DC native.
Whenever I come back here, I have to hit Eastern Market because that’s my neighborhood, my elementary school, the library, and Mr. Henry’s. I love going back to that neighborhood. That’s how I know I’m home.
What are some of your favorite songs off the new project.
Aja: Well, he (Fatin) gave a good answer the other day to this, it does really changes with the tides and your mood. Right now, I’m really loving the more slow songs on the album, like 2 words, SOS, Sticking with you and Magic happens – I’m kind of like into the romance part of the album right now. But a few weeks ago, I was loving the up-tempo songs.
“Honesty, sincerity, truth, love” is a maxim that you live by. Can you speak on that?
Fatin: That’s what I believe that we stand for. When people ask what are they going to get from the music that we make, I believe that that is what you get. That’s what we do our very best to pour into the music and into our art. We believe in karma, that what you throw out into the universe is what will come back to you, and we want to show case the better parts of ourselves and who we are.
Aja: And at the same time being honest and letting people see a wide range and good representation of those things when you listen to the albums. Beyond just our singles, you experience all of those things, not just love – but the arguments, breaking up, etc. We talk about a wide range of issues and emotions that go on between a man and woman. So I think it’s important to be honest, and that’s part of the mantra. Along with sincerity, truth and love – it’s definitely important.
Love has no Recession is the latest album – available on iTunes.
Click directly on the links for more information on Kindred the Family Soul; Kindred on Facebook; Kindred on Twitter, Their TV show – “6 is it!” or event organizers – Gypsy Soul.
Kindred The Family Soul
Birchmere (with Jay Hayden) – Friday, August 19th – SOLD OUT
Rams Head Annapolis (with Noel Gourdin) – Saturday, August 20th (2 shows)