In a time where music sounds the same, and musical artists are known for their arguments rather than their albums, Joe asks the question, "Are they really R&B anymore?"
Very seldom does someone enter a career and happily stay in that field for over 20 years. That feat takes passion, growth, adaptability, and a knowledge that relationships are worth cultivating. There are few examples that illustrate that quite like Grammy nominated Joe Thomas. The R&B superstar smoothly crooned his way onto the music scene in 1993 with the release of Everything , and has been quietly and consistently topping the charts since.
Joe came into our PopDust office to discuss the release of his 12th studio album, My Name Is Joe Thomas, the record writing process, and the state of R&B music. Rumored to be Joe's last album, the title pays homage to Joe's third album released 16 years before, I am Joe. You know the one, the album with all of the songs your parents shouldn't have let you sing but did anyway because they were written with similes and metaphors requesting directions, a far cry from today's recitation of blatant step by step plans. This change in the content and delivery of R&B is one of the reasons that Joe decided to release new music into the universe.
Joe noticed the music that he not only performs, but enjoys outside of his own hits, was taking a back seat to today's hip-hop. Let's be honest, with all of the talent we have currently invading our airwaves and earbuds, the lines between genres are blurred. Make no mistake, music is meant to evolve and form sub-genres (R&B is no exception) but less frequent are the "Things Your Man Won't Do"-type songs playing, and instead an amalgamated cross-genre of sexy-trap-rap has become king of the now corporate machine we call radio.
"I love Chris Brown, but I don't know what category to put him in at this point...I think he's creating a whole other genre at this point honestly".
As this album is rumored to be Joe's final, I asked him who he thought was ready to receive the torch. Jeremih, Chris Brown, and Tory Lanez were mentioned by Joe as talented singers and performers, but for the man whose inspirations included Smokey Robinson, Ron Isley, Michael Jackson, and Prince, they didn't fit into classic R&B. What is classic R&B? According to Joe it is quality music with a respect for women.
Joe discusses the future of R&B, reactions to his rendition of Adele's hit, "Hello", dating, and the key to longevity in our interview, below. Also, see what I think about Joe's single, "So I Can Have You Back" and Joe's response. Keep up with me and my crooning on Instagram and twitter.