(WSVN) – He grew up in Carol City, and after a rough start, he’s now making a name for himself on the gospel charts. Karen Hensel shines the 7 Spotlight on this singer-songwriter.
His songs ring out to the faithful.
Gospel singer Otis Kemp is busy these days working on music videos, making appearances at the Stellar Gospel Awards, playing concerts all over the country and singing in his father’s church in Pompano Beach.
His songs connect people to a higher power, and one called “The Reason” is climbing the Billboard charts.
Otis Kemp: “It just comes from within. My experiences in life, things that I have been a part of along the way, this journey of life, and hopefully through this method of music, I can encourage someone along the way.”
Otis grew up in Carol City, a rowdy PK as he calls it– a preacher’s kid.
Otis Kemp: “Those are the worst ones.”
In his youth, that meant trouble.
Otis Kemp: “No, I was bad, super bad. I got kicked out of every school in Miami, Florida. Went through that period of time where you’re trying to figure things out and you start to hang with the wrong crowd, and I started looking at my life like, ‘What are you doing?’”
He got serious about music in his 20s with a local record label called Poe Boy Entertainment.
Otis Kemp: “So it was E-Class, FloRida, Rick Ross, Brisco, a lot of, you know, artists there, and hey, it took off really big.”
Eventually, Otis crossed over from the Miami Hip-Hop scene to his gospel music roots.
Longtime friend Kenisha Taylor is one of many friends who kept him grounded along the way.
Kenisha Taylor: “Sometimes we resist what is our purpose, sometimes we resist the journey. I’m just so proud that he’s allowed himself to be used by God to reach people.”
It all began here at his childhood home in Carol City. This is one of the many South Florida locations he features in his music videos, and it was here that he wrote “Daily Bread,” one of his favorite songs.
Otis Kemp: “God gave me that song when I was just at my dad’s house one day, and my friend sent me a track, and I was just like, ‘Woke up this morning stretched wide. The first thing I do, reach my hand toward the sky.’”
Music is his passion and so are kids.
This father of five also owns and operates three Apple Seed’s performing arts academies.
The program is designed to help at risk kids succeed.
Otis Kemp: “These kids are everything to us, the next generation, and they’re going to be the next senators, the next governors, so we want to start it early with them.”
At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, he is a big man with big dreams.
Otis Kemp: “I just wanted to be the legacy of hope. I wanted to leave a legacy of righteousness.”
He hopes his message of faith will continue to be heard loud and clear through his music.
Fans will be glad to know that he has a new album coming out Sept. 30.
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