The new No. 1 previews album ‘Love Always Wins,’ which will feature a Toni Braxton duet.
Kem returns to the top of the Adult R&B Songs airplay chart for the first time in over five years as “Lie to Me” advances from the runner-up rank to lead the list dated June 27. The track reigns thanks to a 15% boost in plays in the week ending June 21, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
“Lie” marks Kem’s sixth No. 1 on Adult R&B Songs. Here’s a full account of the half-dozen leaders:
Song Title, Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1
“Love Calls,” two, Sept. 13, 2003
“I Can’t Stop Loving You,” seven, May 21, 2005
“Why Would You Stay?,” two, Sept. 25, 2010
“It’s You,” four, Sept. 6, 2014
“Nobody,” nine, Feb. 21, 2015
“Lie to Me,” one (to date), June 27, 2020
“Having a No. 1 record is definitely an accomplishment that I don’t take for granted – especially considering that I haven’t released any new music in over five years,” Kem tells Billboard via email. “It’s also tremendously affirming. It lets me know that musically, professionally and personally that I’m moving in the right direction, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’d like to say thanks to my team, to my fans, to radio and to my co-writers: Anthony Hamilton, Salaam Remi and James Poyser.”
Of that crew, Hamilton is likely the most familiar name to the Adult R&B crowd. The singer-songwriter has racked up 22 Adult R&B hits as a performer, including four No. 1s – “Can’t Let Go,” “Pray for Me,” “Amen” and a featured turn on Jill Scott’s “So In Love,” which topped the radio ranking for a record 18 weeks in 2011.
That triple play of radio, fan and industry collaborator support is clearly key to the now 17-year span of No. 1s that Kem has accumulated on adult R&B radio since “Love Calls” completed a 33-week journey to the chart’s top rank in 2003. “Man, I love my fans. I call them the Kemunity,” he writes. “They are so loyal and loving – and patient and devoted and I’m very humbled that they love me and that they embrace the music like they do.”
Now, the hits come much faster. “Lie” reaches No. 1 in nine weeks, the fastest of his six leaders and surpassing a previous personal best “It’s You” by three frames. Among all tracks, the “Lie” sprint is the quickest rise to the summit since Khalid’s “Talk” needed eight weeks. Notably, the latter was already a crossover hit by the time it was actively promoted to the adult R&B format. (The week “Talk” debuted on Adult R&B Songs, it ranked at No. 3 on Pop Songs and No. 6 on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop). The last track initially promoted to Adult R&B to reach No. 1 faster was Mary J. Blige’s “Thick of It,” which crowned the list in just four weeks in 2016.
The rapid rise even surprised the singer-songwriter. “To reach No. 1 so quickly really caught all of us off-guard,” he writes. “But I think the simple fact that we’re all trying to navigate through these tumultuous times and the unknown right now might have something to do with why the song resonates so strongly. Whatever the reason, we’re very grateful that ‘Lie To Me’ is being embraced the way that it is.”
Beyond its Adult R&B coronation, “Lie” also lands a 20-13 jump on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, where it registers a 15% improvement to 9.2 million in audience in the week ending June 21. With the move, “Lie” inches ahead of “Nobody” and its No. 14 peak to become Kem’s highest charting of his 14 career entries there.
“Lie” previews the R&B veteran’s forthcoming album, Love Always Wins. The title track will feature an appearance from Erica Campbell, and Kem says the song and album title “perfectly reflects the energy I want to send out into the world today.” Though the album’s release date has yet to be announced, another high-profile collaboration, with Toni Braxton, has also been confirmed.
Wins will be the singer-songwriter-producer’s first album since 2014’s Promise to Love: Album IV, which debuted at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 that September.