The complicated artist returns
Robin Thicke has been an ear tickler and mind soother for the past few years. He’s landed a spot in our hearts with his sweet melodies of love, passion, and women who hail from Venus. The balladeer’s new album, “Something Else,” revives the seventies disco sound reminiscent of rent parties and Kool-Aid. ESSENCE.com caught up with the soul singer, who spoke on why he feels this is “Barack Obama time,” those comparisons to another blue-eyed soul singer, and why he and wife Paula Patton plan to live and love it up à la “Sex and the City.”
ESSENCE.COM: What’s the significance of the title of your new album?
ROBIN THICKE: I really felt that with what we’re all going through today in the country—with the oil prices and everything—that it’s just the time for hope and change and belief in yourself and each other. It’s Barack Obama time. It’s time for something else.
ESSENCE.COM: Speaking of something different, as a “blue-eyed soul artist,” you are often compared to Justin Timberlake. Is that ever an issue for you?
THICKE: That’s just something the media plays up. They always try to put two people together, but if you put me and Justin’s albums on after each other, they are completely different. Even though we’re both singing R&B, soul-pop, or whatever you call it. I believe people know who I am. I’m an Ar-tist, I’m complicated.
ESSENCE.COM: Well, you rub elbows with a lot of artists and have collaborated with Ashanti and Lil Wayne. How did you connect with them?
THICKE: I usually don’t do that, but Ashanti came to a listening session I had for my album in New York, and she was just so sweet and very convincing. And she’s really talented. And the Wayne record, I wrote that a month after [Hurricane] Katrina. I played him the song, and I think at the time he wasn’t really ready to address it because it was so personal to him. He kept telling me, “I’m gonna put it on the next album.” So I just held on to it and I got a call a few months ago and the rest is history.
ESSENCE.COM: As a singer who is married to an actress how do you too stay connected and maintain a strong relationship?
THICKE: My wife [Paula Patton] is an actress, so sometimes I like reading the scripts with her and it’s fun to act. But I don’t know if I could do it in front of anybody else. I wrote a play and I’m writing a novel—I’m always writing, because creating is just something I just have to do. I don’t like being in front of the camera as much. The No. 1 thing is that any real relationship starts with respect. You have to respect that person, and that way you’ll listen to them and you’ll care about what they’re saying. After that, you just try to control your schedules and maybe take a little less money here and there so you can stay together.
ESSENCE.COM: Are there any plans in the near future to have little Robins and Paulas running around the house?
THICKE: (Laughs) We’re going to enjoy running around the world for a little bit, we’re going to get our “Sex and the City” on for a minute, then we’re going to have some children.