Husband and wife duo Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler are the Philadelphia-based neo-soul pair that make up Kindred The Family Soul. The duo will headline the 40th annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture on Sept. 22 at the Mann-Simons Site in downtown Columbia.
The couple met in 1997 thanks to hip-hop band The Roots. By the fall of 1998 they were married.
Kindred recorded their first album, “Surrender to Love,” in 2003. Since then they’ve added four more albums, produced a short film, and were nominated for a Soul Train Music Award and a BET Award. But perhaps their proudest achievement was raising six children while recording and touring.
Kindred will headline the 40th annual Jubilee Festival on Sept. 22. We asked Graydon and Dantzler to share some thoughts about blending family and performing.
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Q: Do all six of your children regularly perform or travel with you?
A: They traveled with us as babies but as they got older it was important to us that they have a stable environment and get to enjoy the comfort of home. Of course they missed us but they eventually had family, friends and their own schedules.
Q: What are the toughest parts about blending touring and family?
A: Logistics, childcare, staying engaged in their activities and school, and of course balancing their emotional needs.
Q: What are the best parts of about blending touring and family?
A: Showing my children that their dream can be their job. This sends an invaluable message to children about living their purpose. Having the grounding energy our children to help balance the crazy of the music business. Although our work takes us away overnight, pound for pound we get to spend a lot of time with our family. The flexibility of our schedule allows us to participate in lots of things most parents would have to take off of work for.
Q: Do you have any pre- or post-show routines or traditions?
A: We always pray just before going on but other than that, no
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of performing with your spouse?
A: Advantage No. 1 is chemistry. You can’t duplicate the energy from people who love each other. No. 2. is being able to share your dream with the love of your life. And No. 3: It’s fun. Disadvantages: Rarely having time alone; Both parents are absent from the home at the same time; and managing disagreements.
Q: Have you ever had to go on stage when you’re in the middle of an argument?
A: Yes. Singing is healing. Performing helps to take the edge off and the music is a reminder of our promises. It gives us needed perspective. It calmed us and helped us to have a better conversation after. We even admitted it on stage.
Q: What do the kids think of Mom and Dad performing? Does it make you cooler than a lot of parents?
A: They admire us. We think we get a few cool points — but just a few.