If you’re a fan of local, progressive-soul duo Kindred the Family Soul, it’s more than likely you’ve asked yourself this question: How in the hell do they do it?
They’ve been dropping albums since their debut, Surrender to Love , in 2003. On top of that, the pair, made up of Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, has been married for quite a while (13 years this September!) Not to mention they are parents to six kids, ranging from 18 months to 12 years old. So, how do they make music and tour when they have a full-fledged Brady Bunch up in their house?
“It’s an interesting question, and it’s a question we get very often,” says Dantzler, 38. “In terms of making the records and making the music, it’s a beautiful thing that there are two of us. So, sometimes, we have to tag team. Sometimes, one person is in the studio and one person is at home ... And, then, there are times when we’re with the kids and we’re doing it all together.”
It’s indeed a family affair on their latest album Love Has No Recession , their fourth release and their first on Purpose Music Group and Shanachie Entertainment, after splitting amicably with Hidden Beach Recordings. With the album, Kindred once again maintains their M.O. as practitioners of authentic Philly soul, as well as a married couple who aesthetically keeps a cool head during these oh-so-trying times. However, that’s not what they went in thinking about when they started work on the album.
“We made the record to express our own personal experiences,” says Graydon, 32. “Whether it’s exactly what specifically happened to us or whether it’s someone that’s right next to us or people who we love, it always starts off with that space. It starts from sharing.”
Just like on previous Kindred recordings, the couple got fellow, seasoned members of the local black-music scene to guest-star on the album. Bilal, Ursula Rucker, Lady Alma Horton and spoken-word soulster Rich Medina all make appearances, but there are also guest shots from Snoop Dogg, Raheem DeVaughn and go-go godfather Chuck Brown.
But it isn’t just about making sure other Philadelphians join in on a Kindred album. It’s also about coming together and repping the city that they know and love. “I feel like Philadelphia plays a pivotal, very instrumental role in all of the music that we do,” says Dantzler. “Growing up around all of these musicians, I’ve grown up to get the wisdom from some of the musicians who have done great things in the music business—some of the producers, some of the artists and writers—and just absorbed it all kind of like a sponge. And, so, to be in a position to represent Philadelphia and Philadelphia music, it means a great deal to me and I don’t take that for granted. We wear that proudly.”
Kindred the Family Soul perform Thurs., Aug. 11, 8pm. $25-$40. With Jeffrey Osborne. Dell Music Center, Ridge Ave. and Huntingdon Dr. 215.685.9560. mydelleast.com
PW's Music Issue 2014