|Birth name||Jonathan Kemp|
August 2, 1959|
|Died||April 16, 2015
Montego Bay, Jamaica
|Associated acts||Keith Sweat, Teddy Riley|
Kemp began singing in nightclubs in the Bahamas at 13. He moved to New York in 1979 with the band Kinky Fox. His self-titled debut album came out in 1986, and he scored a minor hit with "Just Another Lover". True success came the following year, however, with the release of his Secrets of Flying album, which contained a pair of Top 5 hits on the US Billboard R&B chart, "Dancin' with Myself" and "Just Got Paid", the latter hitting #1.
"Just Got Paid" hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988, and sold over a million singles in the United States. It went to top the Hot Dance Music/Club Play, and provided his only UK Singles Chart entry, peaking at #68 in August 1988. His only other Hot 100 entry was "Birthday Suit", a tune from the soundtrack to the movie, Sing which climbed to #36 in 1989.
Kemp appeared on the 2007 DVD release by Keith Sweat entitled Sweat Hotel Live. The DVD featured live performances by Sweat in a sort of reunion with other R&B/new jack swing era pioneers of the late 1980s, including Teddy Riley. Kemp appeared on the final track, an "all-star finale" rendition of "Just Got Paid", originally recorded at a February 2006 concert in Atlanta, Georgia. Incidentally, Sweat had initially passed on the instrumental track that would eventually become "Just Got Paid", when it was first offered to him in the mid-1980s. Kemp listened to it, added his own lyrics to the melody, and "Just Got Paid" was born.
Kemp was the featured performer (singing "Just Got Paid") at the NJS4E event in New York on September 8, 2007. As the name implied, the show celebrated and commemorated 20 years of new jack swing, and took place at Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar.
Kemp was married and the father of two sons.
Kemp died on April 16, 2015. His body was found floating in the water of Montego Bay, Jamaica, according to Jamaican police. He was 55 years old. Police believe he was walking on some rocks, lost his balance, fell, hit his head and drowned; he had been seen earlier that day in the area.
- List of Billboard number-one dance hits
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. dance chart
- "No foul play in Johnny Kemp's death". JamaicaObserver.com. April 22, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
- Huey, Steve. "Biography: Johnny Kemp". AMG. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 298. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Johnny Kemp - "Just Got Paid" song review, allmusic.com; retrieved August 19, 2011.
- Slattery, Denis (April 17, 2015). "R&B singer Johnny Kemp, best known for the 1989 hit song 'Just Got Paid' found dead near beach in Jamaica". Daily News. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- Young, Danielle (April 17, 2015). "Sad News: Johnny Kemp Of ‘Just Got Paid’ Fame Has Died At 55". Chicago Defender. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
- "R&B Singer Johnny Kemp Dead At 55", NewsOne, April 17, 2015.
- Johnny Kemp at AllMusic
- Johnny Kemp discography at Discogs
- Interview from the NJS4E Event (YouTube)
- NJS4E Interview- Part II (YouTube)