Over the past two decades, Joe Thomas has garnered a reputation for being the consummate R&B crooner. Since his debut in 1993, his classic melodies have become well-known for speaking to the complexities of human relationships and exuding a trademark dosage of passionate romance.
With six GRAMMY nominations to his credit, Joe found considerable success at home and abroad. In spite of his international success, however, Joe still comes across as the customary guy next door. Such humility has allowed Joe to venture outside of the R&B genre and collaborate with some of the industry's biggest hip hop stars: Big Pun ("Still Not A Player"), Mystikal ("Stutter"), Shaggy ("Ghetto Child"), Petey Pablo ("Let's Stay Home Tonight" REMIX), G-Unit ("Ride Wit U" and "I Wanna Get to Know Ya"), Tony Yayo ("Curious") and Papoose ("Where You At?"). Even so, Joe has always stayed true to the classic elements of R&B music — from Everything (1993) to Signature (2009).
Upon the release of Signature, Joe Thomas managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Gerald Levert, "Worst Case Scenario," and the current state of R&B.
With fifteen years of experience behind you, there is no doubt that you are one the R&B genre's few living legends – especially of the male variety. What about your music, personality or style has allowed you to survive through all the storms and the different changes in the musical landscape?
For me, it's more so being true to what you're doing and keeping that honest. As long as you're honest about what you present out there, continue to stay on the same course and not do everything that everybody else is doing. It's okay to incorporate other styles or genres of music. That's very much allowed, but when you start appearing to be that this is what you wanted instead of doing this, that's when it becomes a problem. You got to stay the course. That means you stay true to who you are, to what you believe in. It's easy to be that way when it's true. I think that's part of what helped me sustain all the different changes in this industry. My fans have sort of grown up with me, seeing where I could've gone this way, I could've done that, but instead I chose to just follow what I thought was right for me.
Your current album, Signature, stands as your eighth studio album. When you look back on the recording experience for this particular album, what thoughts immediately come to mind?