So, when you were growing up would you say that you didn't have like much of an outlet for your creativity? I mean, you know, aside from, 'cause I was reading that in high school [Southfield High School; Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology, Southfield, Michigan] you'd spend your lunch hour doing music.$$I would skip classes to do music.$$Okay.$$So, I would not go to class and I would be in the music room. And, I don't know that, I mean, there was, you know, there was an outlet for it but it was also a, you know, 'cause I was in choir in, in high school. There--it wasn't in my house but I mean I, you know, I was, I was trying to write songs. I was, I was, you know, have, not having, not having it in, in the home was not a, was not a deterrent.$$Okay. 'Cause you had, you had friends that you could (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) You know, I had, I had friends that were into music or, you know, I mean, you know, yeah, so we, we got it done.$$Now, were there any, any teachers in high school, or any adult figures, aside from your parents [Elizabeth Hardy and KEM's step father, Erick Hardy] of course, that were like a role model for you, or mentors?$$In middle, in middle school [Michigan Institute for Child Development, Detroit, Michigan] there was a, there was a teacher named Greg Smith. And, I wish I knew where he was today. And, he sat me down and, 'cause in middle school, I started singing, a ver- my version of George Benson's 'Broadway' ['On Broadway'] in front of my class, acapella. And, and they dug it, you know. And, and it was the first time that I had gotten, it was, it was the first time in middle school, you know, the thing for, the thing in middle school that I was, that I was, I was known for that I got positive feedback for, positive attention from doing. And, and Greg Smith recognized that, and, and he sat me down and, and helped me start writing a song. Well, we were, we were actually, we were actually reassembling a song that already existed. Like, it may have been from The Temptations or the, The Manhattans or somebody. And, he was, you know, coaching me through the process of, of writing a song. And, he would get me, he would do things to, or say things that would get me to, you know--he may write a line down and then he would get me to write the line. And, we were actually recreating a song that was already, you know, in, in existence. And, I can't remember what the song was. And, at the time, you know, I didn't know how important that was at the time, you know. I didn't know, you know, what that was. And, but, some of my most positive musical experiences happened in middle school, and I didn't really think about that until today.$$Now, did you play any instrument?$$I mean, I play piano, I mean, you know, I played piano. I don't know if there was--I don't think there was a piano in school. I don't know.$$Now, you're like a self taught piano player, right?$$Yeah. 'Cause I don't play, I mean, I'm not a virtuoso by any means, you know what I mean. I don't even--I can't even--I don't even read music, you know. And, and I only play my own songs, you know. And, you know, I've tried to study it but I just--I'm not, I mean, you know what, I mean, you know what, I mean, go figure, man. I'm not acclimated to that aspect of, of music. I just, you know, I've never, you know, I've sat in classes and I've taken, you know, I been choir where, you know, it was all laid out, you know, I've, you know, and I've just never been able to get it, you know. And, you know, I think it's the, I think it's the, you know, the math thing, the numbers thing. I've never been, you know, it's just not my thing. I can count money though, so, if I'm supposed to get paid, we gonna, we gonna, you know (laughter).$$All right--$So, the songs that are on the Motown [Motown Records] 'Kemistry' CD were the same songs that are on the first one you did (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) The fr- most of those songs are, all of those songs are on that record, right. And, the thing is, is that people, even though we never released it, people got the CD [compact disc]. People would get, people had access to it, or had found it, or somebody gave it to 'em, and they were playing it. And, people were digging it. You know, unbeknownst to me, you know, people were digging it. And, by the time I started doing shows, doing that music, there were, you know, a small group of people we would perform at Half Past 3 [Detroit, Michigan], which was a club that was over on Grand River [Grand River Avenue]. And, people were sitting in the audience, man, and they would be singing this stuff. They would be singing this stuff off of that CD that I couldn't stand, you know. And, I, and I went back into the studio. I got a business line of credit, and keyboard thing, you know, and it all works together, you know. It's all good. All of those things work together, you know, everything works together. The keyboard thing helped me, you know, not spending that money on the Mary Kay [Mary Kay Inc.]. Which my mother [Elizabeth Hardy] hated me for at the time (laughter), in which she's probably now looking back knows that--you know, she's grateful for it, you know what I mean, about the keyboard. Established credit and then later one down the line, I was able to get a business line of credit from American Express [American Express Company]. Which I had financed my first CD on. Now, American Express didn't know that's what I was gonna do with the money. But, that's what I did. And, I, and when I got, when American Express gave me a seventeen thousand dollars business line of credit, and I quit my job. Do not do this at home (laughter). Do not try this at home, you know. I quit my job. I quit my day--no, I didn't quit my job. I quit working at the hotel, working at The Ritz [The Ritz-Carlton Dearborn; The Henry, Autograph Collection, Dearborn, Michigan]. But, I was still singing in the choir [at Renaissance Unity, Warren, Michigan] and doing the, doing the wedding band thing. But, I, you know, I was like you know what, you know, and went and I recorded the 'Kemistry' CD, you know, in the studio. I still, we heading up with these same guys, didn't know what I was doing, you know. And, kind of like stumbled and fumbled, you know, our way into making the 'Kemistry' CD, you know. And, and the rest is history.$$So, so the way this, you finance your own CD, and it, how does it come to the attention of the Motown label?$$Because I set the, you know, I put a barcode on the CD, I put a barcode on the CD so that when--and the CD was on, I had it in retail outlets which are, you know, are not, you now, I mean, the mom and pop stores, man. And, you know, all the, all the record shops in town had my CD, and I put 'em in there on consignment. So, every time somebody bought a CD, you know, if they bought Luther [Luther Vandross] CD it blipped somewhere. If they bought my CD, you got the, you got a blip too. I mean, I was in the, I was in the system like that. And, and, we were, you know, and, you know, the best market in the world was giving the CD away and putting it in people's hands, you know, and having them like it, you know. Best, you know, have something that people like and put it in their hands, you know. And, and we started to build momentum. So, the record label, you know, people are watching and the industry are watching that, you know, this guy in Detroit [Michigan] is selling records, and he's, he doesn't have a label. And, we're getting, we started to air play in different, in different cities, as well as Detroit. And, it had a momentum of its own, you know. So, you know, it made us, it made us ripe for, for a label to come and, and wanna partner with us.$$Okay. So, you, you marketed the CD in beauty salons and black restaurants, and gave a lot 'em away.$$Absolutely, yeah.$$Okay.$$Absolutely.