R.I.P. “Just Got Paid” singer Johnny Kemp

(April 17, 2015) We are very sad to inform SoulTrackers that “Just Got Paid” singer Johnny Kemp has died at age 55 in Jamaica. Causes are as yet unknown, though several unconfirmed reports indicate that Kemp died while on the Tom Joyner cruise, where he was slated to perform this weekend.

Born in the Bahamas, Kemp moved to New York soon after high school and performed in the band Kinky Fox before going solo in the mid-80s. He teamed with popular hitmaker Kashif and delivered the very nice dance tune “Just Another Lover” in 1986. It became the first of a string of influential 80s hits. He moved from one popular producer to another the following year, teaming with Teddy Riley and taking his career to the next level with his second album, Secrets of Flying, and the across-the-board smash, “Just Got Paid,” which became his signature song. He also landed in the top 5 with “Dancing With Myself.” 

Despite Kemp’s significant talent and good looks, his recording career ended almost as quickly as it began, and he last charted with 1989’s “Birthday Suit.” He married and had two sons, but wasn’t seen much on the music scene over the last quarter century, aside from some New Jack Swing reunion shows.

While Johnny Kemp didn’t rock the music world for very long, he sure managed to make a big impact in a short time. Just listening to his music again as I write this, a big ‘ol 1987 smile comes to my face. Gone too soon. God bless you, Johnny Kemp.

By Chris Rizik


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