Blue-eyed soul singer Robin Thicke is well known for many things: wooing the women with his sultry songs and beautiful falsetto, putting on an incredible live show, and most importantly, adoring his high school sweetheart and wife of six years, A-list actress Paula Patton.
His latest album, his fifth, is titled “Love and War,” and on it he explores the aftermath of love and the beauty of making up with your partner. He credits Paula as his muse, so we caught up with the crooner to find out how their marriage shaped the new album, what works for them, and how they keep things so steamy between them. (Have you seen the “Love after War” video?)
ESSENCE.com: Being that your music defines romance, how does it feel to know that people are getting married and making babies to your music all the time?
ROBIN THICKE: To be a part of your biggest days — you know your child being conceived or born, or you walking down the aisle — there’s really nothing sweeter. That’s the truth.
It’s actually the best thing. It’s nice if you can make someone drop it like it’s hot, or pop a bottle. But we’re always dropping it and popping it. What I realize about the difference between me and my peers — you know, Chris Brown and Drizzy Drake and all my musical peers — is that they haven’t been with the same woman for 18 years and I’ve been with a Black woman for 18 years. I’ve never dated a White woman. Don’t want to. I’ve never been on a date with a White woman. When you have that relationship and that means the most to you — you know I can’t live without that woman, she is my muse, my best friend, and my creative partner. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom and she didn’t have a great relationship with her dad and we became that for each other. She’s my mama and I’m her daddy. I even call her mama and she calls me daddy. We are that to each other.
ESSENCE: If someone saw you whispering in Paula’s ear, what would you probably be saying?
THICKE: I can’t wait to get you home and love you up for two to three hours. I like to try to get her into double-digit orgasms as much as possible. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when I’ve got my mojo and my swag, it happens. Every few months it’s just like bam — repeated. Repeated! I like her to just be going crazy in the bedroom.
ESSENCE: What is Paula’s sexiest quality?
THICKE: It’s her intelligence and her strength. I’ve never met a stronger person who stands by their will and their moral values. She is such an amazing human being. Ever since I met her and we were 16 years old and she was the president of the Black student union and I was just a silly White boy who didn’t understand or have compassion.
I had no animosity, but I just didn’t understand the Black experience in America and how different it is — and most White people can’t. You can’t understand it until you are with somebody every day and you have a child that you know is Black, you then understand that, wow, what a different experience Black people and in particular Black women have to go through.
I have a song on my new album called, “I Don’t Know How It Feels to Be You,” and she and I were in the middle of an argument and she said, “Robin, no matter how hard you try, or how compassionate you are, you’ll never know what it’s like to be a Black woman.” So I got up and I wrote this song in five minutes. The lyrics are: “I don’t know how it feels to be you, though I try my best to understand what you’re going through, I don’t know how it feels to be you. I can’t walk in your shoes. But, I’m trying baby. You know how much I love you.”
ESSENCE: Do you ever feel misunderstood?
THICKE: A lot of mainstream magazines, like SPIN and Rolling Stone, they still don’t get me. They can’t figure out how a funny guy with a dad on a sitcom can have a 90 percent Black female audience. It’s never happened before. I didn’t plan it that way. I just love the music and I love my wife and she is a strong Black woman, so if my wife doesn’t like it, how can the other Black women like it? If my wife approves of the song, I’m doing it.
ESSENCE: The media often tells Black women that they’re better off dating White guys. What’s your response to that?
THICKE: I think that’s ridiculous. There are so many good Black men out there that are hardworking, decent, and handsome, you know? To start that rumor is as bad as starting any other negative rumor. There are great Black men out there. There are only a few good White men — trust me. (Laughs) Good luck finding a good White man who understands your journey. I only have three White friends. I’ve got 20 Black male friends, who are all good men who take good care of their wives, and good care of their children. I know amazing Black men. Maybe the women have to take better care of their men. Maybe you’re being too stubborn. Maybe you’re not saying you’re sorry. You have to take good care of him, too. You have to give love to get love.