Robin Thicke has many reasons to celebrate these days. After breaking through with his platinum-selling 2006 album, he's touring with R&B diva Mary J. Blige – and will follow up “The Evolution of Robin Thicke” with “Something Else,” set for release Tuesday.
On this freshly pressed third album, the blue-eyed soul performer taps his varied classic soul and R&B influences on vintage-sounding numbers like “Sidestep,” “Dreamworld” and the first single, “Magic.” His approach in making it? He followed the example of those influences.
“My mentor, (former president/CEO of Motown Records) Andre Harrell, mentioned Marvin Gaye had recorded a whole album in Paris,” says Thicke. “So I took some trips to New York and worked with my band and did a bit of recording. Then I went to Paris. I recorded over there, and after I got back, I wrote a few really romantic songs.”
Romance is one of Thicke's favorite subjects. Along with the 31-year-old's sex appeal, it's his love songs – peppered with swoon-worthy sentiments like “Babe, you're the perfect shape/Babe, you're the perfect weight” (from “Lost Without U”) – that have won over masses of adoring female fans.
He draws inspiration for lines like those from home: “All she has to do is walk in the room,” he says of actress-wife Paula Patton (“Déjà Vu,” “Mirrors”), whom he began dating as a teenager and married in 2005.
Thicke grew up in Beverly Hills as the son of actor Alan Thicke (“Growing Pains”) and actress/singer Gloria Loring (best known for her role on “Days of Our Lives”). His career path was solidified early on.
“I knew when I was, like, 8 years old. (My parents) knew because I was always telling them, ‘I'm going to be singer-songwriter,'” he says. “I could sing pretty good when I was 8 years old. I got a lot of attention because of that and thought, ‘I like attention.'”
As a songwriter in his 20s, he penned songs for such pop stars as Christina Aguilera, Jordan Knight, Usher and Marc Anthony. His big break came when he found a fan in superproducer Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, who signed him to his StarTrak label and produced the single “Wanna Love U Girl” in 2005. “Evolution” hit the stores a year later.
That success allowed him to relax when making his new album, “Something Else.”
“I felt more pressure when I had to pay bills I couldn't pay, and when I felt like I might never have a chance at a real accomplishment commercially,” he says. “It's good to have some breathing room so you can focus on having fun and trying to make great music.”