Married couple Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon are known for music that comes directly from the heart. The duo co-writes relatable and mature R&B songs that are rooted in traditional Soul and Gospel. Kindred The Family Soul were also part of the Neo Soul Philadelphia movement that included Jill Scott.
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Kindred The Family Soul
Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler each got their start in music as teenagers. Fatin producing his first released material with Bell Biv Devoe at 17 and Aja receiving her first recording contract from Delicious Vinyl at 14, these two “grew up” in the record business. In 1997 they were introduced via Hip Hop band, The Roots, production camp. Fatin was a hired gun to write songs for Aja’s solo project at the time. By the fall of 1998 they became husband and wife and while assuming the roles of a new couple and new parents, Fatin took a job selling appliances and Aja became a homemaker caring for their first born, Aquil. After being unexpectedly let go from his job the couple contemplated the future.
The two developed a strong creative chemistry for Aja’s solo project so they decided to try performing as a team and Kindred The Family Soul was born. Performing weekly at the famed Five Spot’s Black Lily showcase in Philadelphia, Kindred developed a reputation for electric live performances featuring a 10 piece band. This amazing event would, along with Kindred, foster careers from the likes of Jazmine Sullivan, Floetry, Jaguar Wright, Music Soulchild and a host of others. A regular at the Black Lily was Jill Scott. She was close to releasing her first album at the time and introduced her then label, Hidden Beach, to her friends Aja and Fatin.
In 2003 Kindred The Family Soul released their debut album Surrender to Love. “ Far Away” and “Stars” both became top ten Urban Adult Contemporary hits and anthems for lovers everywhere. The album received a Soul Train Award and a BET Award nomination. The group
began producing events and showcasing new talent such as then unknown, John Legend and Jazmine Sullivan.
Kindred’s second album, In this Life Together was released in 2005. The project’s lead single “Where Would I Be (The Question)” was a wonderful follow up that solidified theirs as a sound for families and couples bringing “Black Love” to the forefront in an industry that rarely highlights it.
Their third album, The Arrival, was released in 2008. Singles like “House of Love” and “Just the Way You Are” continued the tradition of celebrating love and fortitude. Kindred began producing their own music videos and both songs were known for their touching visual stories. Both were mainstays on VH1 Soul and Centric.
2009 was a year of great change. The first black president was in the midst of his first term. The country was in a financial slump and the group found itself without a label. Kindred The Family Soul began documenting their journey through this climate of change in a web series called “Six Is It!,” named jokingly about expecting their sixth and final child. In 2011 they released their first album with Purpose/Shinachie records, Love Has No Recession. Critically-acclaimed, the album featured singles “Magic” and “You Got Love” a collaboration with Snoop Dogg offering a sixteen bar verse about his love for his wife. Their fifth album, simply called A Couple Friends was released in 2014. Kindred along with Shinachie records produced a short film directed by hometown friend Jamal Hill, to accompany this album.
In 2015, the entire family was involved in a national commercial campaign for Walmart that had more than a million hits on YouTube and is still one of the most watched ads ever produced by the retail giant. Legacy of Love and Auntie and Unc are the couple’s most recent albums that continue their legacy of mature R&B and socially-conscious tunes.