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Country Music is Justin Kemp Band’s Hearts Desire

Justin Kemp was born and raised in New Mexico on the Texas border. Growing up in a musical family he was heavily influenced by Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley, and all of the legends going back to the 1970’s. Once he picked up the guitar at the age of eleven there was no turning back. He began songwriting in high school and pursued music at South Plains College in Levelland, TX.

Being from a musical family, what are some of your best memories of get togethers growing up?

No matter what the occasion or holiday we always enjoyed the home cooking my Mom, Aunts, and Grandmothers brought to the table for us… and we always ended up singing along to songs and now I get to do this for my career with my father by my side.

What was the first song you fell in love with and why?

Unbelievable by Diamond Rio. I couldn’t stop singing it, the harmonies and the upbeat tempo made it difficult to not sing along. I think I wore out the CD.

You’re from Hobbs, New Mexico as is Ryan Bingham — can you tell us about up-and-coming artists from your hometown?

Well how cool is it that my town turns out some good talent? There is not really any other country artists in my area it is a very heavy rock scene. I play some gigs here, I like to stay loyal to my hometown crowd, they usually bring in country artists from Texas.

What’s it like having your dad David in the band?

It is great, he is my father when we are not working and when we work we are band members. He is a great musician and he is co-managing with Jill Pavel (Heart Songs Records). We are a family and we are a team.

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How did you connect to each of your band members?

I met Ivan (Salcido) through Adam our former drummer, he has been with us about a year, great talent and great guy! Bryan (Cunningham) is my Dad’s best friend, again super talented and family. All my band members are family. That’s how we roll. Megan (Poppe) came on board last year when our last fiddler moved, she was introduced to us by one of my former producers in Lubbock, TX.

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Who are your biggest musical influences?

Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Luke Combs, Brett Young, Joe Nichols. I was so excited to share the bill with Joe at the All American Country Music Festival Memorial Day Weekend.

Who is on your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?

I have all of the above on my playlist, I think people would be surprised to know that I have a background in Rock so I have some Def Leppard, Journey, Metallica. I also love some 80's music, Aerosmith is always on my playlist. I love Edwin McCain, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride is amazing. My playlist is very diverse that is probably what would surprise people the most.

How would you describe the music you typically create?

No if ands or buts about it I Keep it Country 100%.

What’s the backstory to “Heart’s Desire?”

I wrote this song with my father but it was influenced by a girl I liked and she played hard to get. Eventually we went out on a date and I am still single!!

“Hearts Desire”

Of all the highlights of your career is there one thing that stands out to you as most memorable?

The first time I played in Nashville during CMA Fest in 2017. It was one of the best weekends ever, we met so many great people and that is where we met our manager Jill.

Pre-performance ritual?

The entire band says a prayer before we go on stage.

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Do you have a favorite song to perform live?

John Michael Montgomery — “Sold”.

What do you wish people would ask you in an interview?

Can I help you get on a year long arena tour Nationally and Internationally??

If you could put together a tour which artists would you take with you?

I would love to invite some of my talented indie artist music friends to come on board, it is always good to rise up and help others to rise up as well.

If you could dabble in any other genre of music, which would it be?

80's — 90's Rock AC/DC Style all the way.

What would surprise your fans to learn about you?

I wear a size 15 shoe. HAHA maybe, but I think they would be surprised to know that I am a joker, I crack jokes, sometimes sarcastically.

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What do you want people to take away from your music?

I want them to walk away feeling connected. I write really honest songs about my life experiences and I do that because I think our fans and audiences ultimately connect when we give them our truth.

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