Johnny Kemp, the Bahamas-born singer behind the 1988 smash “Just Got Paid,” was found dead Thursday in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He was 55. The news was first reported by The Bahamas Weekly and a source close to the singer confirmed his death to Rolling Stone. While the exact nature of Kemp’s death is unclear, TMZ reports that the singer was found floating off a beach in Montego Bay, where Kemp was vacationing.
Kemp was best known for the new jack swing party anthem “Just Got Paid,” a Teddy Riley-produced classic that soared to Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. The track was also nominated for Best R&B Song at the 1989 Grammy Awards. The instrumental for “Just Got Paid” was initially offered to Keith Sweat, but that singer passed on the track before Kemp made it his own. In 2000, N’Sync covered “Just Got Paid” on No Strings Attached. Kemp released two solo albums, his 1986 self-titled debut and 1987’s Secrets of Flying, with the latter spawning a pair of top five R&B singles.
Despite the success of “Just Got Paid,” Kemp never recorded another album following Secrets of Flying, but he remained active on the touring front. Kemp’s official Twitter is filled with announcements of Kemp’s nightclub performances, and the singer was reportedly set to perform aboard the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise before he was found dead. While initial reports stated that the singer died after falling off the cruise ship, a statement issued by the Tom Joyner Morning Show said Kemp was not aboard the ship prior to his death. The cause of Kemp’s death is still unknown.