Robin Thicke: Blue Eyed Soul
Being born into a household of stars (his Mom was a singer and his father an actor- Growing Pains Dad Alan Thicke) may have been a challenge in itself, everyone trying to make their names in their relevant fields. But it was obviously a well appreciated challenge as now Robin Thicke is at a place where he is more than content with his accomplishments. Having written songs for the likes of Mary J Blige, Brandy and Mya his lead off single Wanna Love You Girl is in serious rotation both audibly and visually. You can see why Pharrell of The Neptunes had to snatch the lyrical mastermind up and give him a home at Star Trak.
With a new album The Evolution of Robin Thicke set to hit shelves in March, here he is giving you a serious look into his mind and his life. He wouldnt be Robin Thicke if he didnt.
What personality traits do you have that have encouraged you to get to the point you are at today?
I am split personality (laughing) I have about twelve different personalities at least so you never know what you are going to get and I try to change my whole life every few months.
How do you do that?
I have a NY resolution every few months. They dont normally pan out, but most of them I dont stick to them but I do try. I am happy though and that is my first priority.
You just keep to the songwriting or do you have any other forms you submerge yourself in?
I mean I write in my own journals and I do have ideas for novels and then the songs but some of it I dont share with anyone. There are some things you have to keep secret but I do end up putting 95% of my life into my songs.
Thats a lot.
Yes its a lot. I let you pretty far in.
Wow the only other person I feel that lets us in that deep is Mary J Blige.
I actually have a song with Mary on her new album. That was one of my favorite experiences.
So who are your influences then, musically?
I am influenced by a lot of the greats, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Prince, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Radiohead. If something inspires me to start I really have no choice in the matter.
Your initial hook up was with Andre Harrell I believe?
Yes I had a record deal at Interscope when I was sixteen. They have always believed in me there. I met Andre about four years ago when I didnt actually have a deal anymore at Interscope so I was just kicking around trying to make an album on my own with no label opinions. So I started pumping my own money into it and I met Andre along the way and he paid for me to finish the album and we took it to Interscope and the rest in history. When we approached Interscope, Jimmy Iovine was like Didnt we already have him? Hes been here since he was 12! So it worked out really well as Jimmy Iovine has been a great influence in my career and he hooked me up with Pharrell.
You are signed to Star Trak right?
Yes I am, I was still at Interscope when I was recording this new album and Pharrell was moving Star Trak up to Interscope and then we hooked up and lucky me.
Andre Harrell and Pharrell are both influential characters in this game, but even saying that if you are talented, hopefully the talent over-rides the connects.
Andre was the first to really believe in me and went out and promoted me to the people who he thought needed to know me and explained to them that I was going to be something special. After the album didnt reach those verbal expectations, I mean it was a critical success in my opinion.
Your first album has amazing reviews though.
Yes and it got a lot of love from the industry.
But isnt it a case of you dont need to sell obscene amounts of units to have a critical success nowadays?
Yeah you dont have to sell a bunch of records to improve on your career and people tend to think that if you dont sell millions of records the first time out then you arent going to make it and that isnt how it works. I got to make amazing contacts and got to work with Mary J Blige, Usher and Lil Wayne and from those opportunities I will continue to make great music and try to get better at it.
You were initially known as a song writer, now here you are singing yourself, was this planned?
Well I think it was my initial dream and then because of fear and failure and actually the fear of putting myself out there and being criticized or ridiculed, I started writing and producing for other people and I took years and years of just sitting on my ass. You know people would ask why I wasnt doing my own music and I woke up one day and I thought to myself I had better start working on my music.
This project is called The Evolution of Robin Thicke. Are you going to blow us away with this project?
I think this entails what we all try our best to do and dont necessarily accomplish and that is be a better person and put right mistakes we may have made, you know we may have done people wrong or have been done wrong ourselves and we are trying to evolve into a happier place. You know there have been times when I have fallen flat on my face and have had to get back up and start over and I think everyone goes through the emotions of that and going through the motions of needing love and its universal with the stories I have on this album. There are things on there that everyone in the world goes through at some point in their life; you know redemption and overcoming all the obstacles that they come up against.
So it is relatable?
Yes there is a lot of information; you know there are 16 songs. I felt that people deserved to get their moneys worth. It took me two years to make this album and I wrote 60/70 songs and I felt like I didnt want the people to get the music and then wish they wanted more. I wanted them to feel that they were getting a huge amount of music that they can listen to and love for a very long time. I just hope people like it as much as I do.
You have been compared to Jamaroquai, Remy Shand, Justin Timberlake, does it bother you that you get all these comparisons when you are trying to be yourself, you know be an individual?
(With) most people the older they get the less they want to believe in magic, you know when we are kids we first start by feeling something and then we start describing what its like and what it used to be like and who is better than the best. But the reality of it is that it starts from a feeling and a lot of people cant open up their hearts first before they open up their minds and I think that anyone who is really listening wouldnt compare me to any of those. But most people dont take it as serious as I do and I cant expect them to go as far into it as I do. You know they are going to love what they love and then some people wont even listen to my music, may never know me and may never want to. That is the beauty of the universe.
Your album took two years, who can we expect to see dropping in to show you love on that project?
I have a song with Faith Evans and I have a song with Pharrell and then I have a track with Lil Wayne and the rest is just me. I wasnt going to do any collaborations but the reality of it is when you start making music I realize that I have every day to control what I want and make songs for anyone. But at the end of my career if I do 40 or 50 songs with amazingly talented people with the likes of these three that I worked with on this album, it is still a pretty good life. And I am doing it because I want people to feel something special when they hear this music and when I was working those people came very organically, we didnt force those records and it sort of happened very quickly. Lil Wayne came in at midnight and left at three and we were done with our song. It works like that and thats the way its supposed to be. Lil Wayne loved my first album and he put one of my tracks from that on his new album and I called him and said if he was ever in LA he should come by and do something for my new album and that was it. It was great.
When is the album dropping?
Valentines Day (editor's note: the album has been pushed to March). I want people to have it now, I just want to give it to the world.
Are you writing for the next album already?
Yeah, I woke up this morning and was like I just have to beat this thing now, I am going to have a lot of pressure soon.
Will you be hitting the highways and promoting?
Yeah, we are going to try and get out there and perform to people. I have been thinking so much about how I dont want to do videos, you know I dont want to give them a visual to connect to the track I would rather they stayed in their own world.
You think sometimes videos can totally kill a song?
Yes, I am afraid visually I can never live up to the music I create and I can never be as exciting visually as the music can be.
Perhaps that is why music like jazz has such a lasting appeal as there are no videos to accompany it, you know you get to imagine.
Yeah, you get to live in your own picture book so to speak. I mean I could be a total artist and not do videos and not sell as many records, like now I am trying to get people to feel the music and love what the artist does by just being myself. I have to do videos so I will have a chance to sell more albums. If I dont do that I will just be selling albums on the internet and people will never know, or have a chance to get my music out there. You know I have to keep making music and selling records so I can make more chances.
What chances are those?
I want to try it all. With this album I just wanted to try. With this album I wanted to just liken the heart like there was no-one that existed ever before me or right now. If I didnt care about being or original what would just pour out of my heart and I ended up with a lot of these songs that I just feel are very special.