Thicke in 2012
|Born||Robin Charles Thicke
March 10, 1977
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Citizenship||American and Canadian|
|Occupation||Singer, songwriter, record producer|
|Spouse(s)||Paula Patton (m. 2005) (separated)|
|Awards||List of awards and nominations|
Robin Charles Thicke (//; born March 10, 1977) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He is the son of actor Alan Thicke and actress Gloria Loring. Thicke has worked with popular artists such as Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Mary J. Blige and Pharrell Williams. Thicke has also been acknowledged for his work on popular albums such as Usher's Confessions and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III. He rose to worldwide fame in 2013 with his hit single "Blurred Lines".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Artistry
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Discography
- 6 Tours
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Thicke was born in Los Angeles, California. His mother is American actress-singer Gloria Loring (née Goff), who appeared on U.S. daytime drama Days of Our Lives, and his father is Canadian actor Alan Thicke, who is known for his role on the TV sitcom Growing Pains. They divorced when he was seven. Thicke has an older brother, Brennan, who worked as a voice actor in the mid-1980s. Thicke is a dual citizen, holding Canadian citizenship through his father and US citizenship by birth.
Getting into the music industry
Thicke recorded his first demo as a teenager. According to Thicke, his father, wanting him to focus on his studies and graduate high school before pursuing music, would not pay for Thicke's vocal group, As One, to record a professional 4 song demo tape. The demo ultimately was paid for by Al Jarreau, an uncle of one of the group members. Thicke's demo made its way to Brian McKnight, who was impressed enough by Thicke to invite him into the studio and work with him. "Anyway", a song co-written with Thicke, was featured on McKnight's second album I Remember You. Thicke's peers jokingly nicknamed him "Brian McWhite". It was Thicke's association with McKnight, who Thicke counts as one of his first mentors, that helped him to land his first recording contract with Interscope Records at the age of 16. Thicke moved out on his own at age 17, during his senior year of high school, earning a living and supporting himself as a professional record producer and songwriter.
Before his days performing as a singer-songwriter, Thicke made a name for himself within the industry as a songwriter and producer for other artists. Among his work for other artists, Thicke wrote "Love Is on My Side" on Brandy's eponymous debut album; he also wrote for 3T's Brotherhood, and collaborated with Jordan Knight, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on several songs in Knight's 1999 album Jordan Knight. He also co-wrote the songs "When You Put Your Hands on Me" for Christina Aguilera's debut album and "No Tears on My Pillow" for Mýa's sophomore release, Fear of Flying. In 1999, he co-wrote the song "Fall Again" with Walter Afanasieff, which was intended to be a track on Michael Jackson's 2001 album Invincible, but it failed to be presented as a completed song. The demo Michael recorded in 1999 was released on November 16, 2004 as an album track of his limited edition box set The Ultimate Collection. As an artist, he recorded and performed solely under his surname, Thicke. He would continue to do so until 2005.
2002–04: Early commercial success
In 2000, Thicke, who simply went by his last name, went to work on material for his debut album, initially titled Cherry Blue Skies.
In 2002, Thicke released his debut single "When I Get You Alone". The track samples Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven", which itself is a disco rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The music video for the song received some rotation on MTV2 and BET's Rated Next and was spun moderately on pop and urban radio, peaking at number forty-nine on Radio & Records Pop chart. Globally, however, "When I Get You Alone" became a chart success when it peaked in the Top 20 in Australia, Belgium, and Italy, and reached the Top 10 of the singles charts in New Zealand and the Top 3 in the Netherlands.
The moderate success was enough to signal the release of the album in 2003 with its name changed to A Beautiful World. Despite the release of a second single, "Brand New Jones", the album received very little promotion, and debuted at only number one hundred fifty two on the Billboard 200 albums chart, eventually selling 63,000 copies.
Runner-up Blake Lewis performed "When I Get You Alone" during the 2007 season of American Idol when the Top 3 chose a song to sing. Lewis has often put Robin Thicke in his list of musical influences in interviews and on the American Idol website. The song was also performed by Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss) on Glee during the Season 2 episode "Silly Love Songs".
2005–07: The Evolution of Robin Thicke
In 2005, Thicke performed as a guest on the remix of Will Smith's song, "Switch". After being signed to The Neptunes label, Star Trak, he began working on his second album titled The Evolution of Robin Thicke. The first single, "Wanna Love U Girl", featured producer Pharrell and experienced chart success on urban radio in the United Kingdom. For the video, Thicke changed his appearance, cutting off his trademark long hair. In 2006, a remix version of the song was filmed with rapper Busta Rhymes. Nearly a year after the single was released, the album was released on October 3, 2006. To promote the album Thicke toured with India.Arie, and then opened for John Legend in late 2006.
His second single, the ballad "Lost Without U", began getting a lot of radio airplay in Urban & Rhythmic stations towards the end of 2006 and early 2007. With the assistance of radio airplay, the song became his breakout hit, reaching as high as number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the first Caucasian male artist to top that chart since George Michael. With album sales over 1.5 million copies sold domestically after the re-release as a Deluxe Edition (with three new bonus tracks) on February 13, 2007, The Evolution of Robin Thicke became a commercial success in the United States.
The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, garnering Thicke his first R&B number one album of his career. In early 2007 the single "Lost Without U" and album The Evolution of Robin Thicke simultaneously spent two consecutive weeks at number one on the R&B singles and albums charts respectively. On the March 3, 2007 issue of Billboard, Thicke simultaneously topped four Billboard charts; Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, and Hot Adult R&B Airplay. In March 2007, The Evolution of Robin Thicke was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Thicke and his record label Interscope soon considered potential tracks to be released as the album's next and third single. Thicke's preference was the track "Can U Believe", which peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs]and at number ninety-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On October 2, 2007 the track "Got 2 Be Down" was released as the album's fourth official single. The single peaked at number sixty on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
On April 19, 2007, Thicke performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, singing "Lost Without U". Thicke returned to the show a month later, on May 29, performing "Complicated" and Oprah's favorite song from the album, "Would That Make U Love Me", while also promoting Beyoncé's tour, on which he would be an opening act. Oprah revealed that Robin's initial appearance garnered a strong reaction, noting that people called the show to say that they didn't know he would be on. Oprah explained, "So what I wanted to do was to accommodate all of the people who missed it the first time... In order to do that, I had to do something I've never done before. I got on the phone and asked this very special guest if he would consider coming back."
In late 2007, Thicke finished promotion for the album as the featured opening act for the North American leg of Beyoncé's US tour, The Beyoncé Experience. Thicke also performed a one off UK concert at Koko in London on September 24, 2007. As of February 10, 2009, the album was certified Double-Platinum by the RIAA.
2008–10: Something Else and Sex Therapy
Thicke released his third solo album, titled Something Else, on September 30, 2008. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 charts and sold nearly 140,000 records the first week. The first single from the album was "Magic" a further expansion of the R&B sound that powered his 2006 breakthrough, The Evolution of Robin Thicke. "Magic" went on to peak at number two on the Urban AC charts and number fifty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He followed this success with the second single, "The Sweetest Love", which also peaked at number two on the Urban AC charts and remained in the top five for twelve consecutive weeks.
During an interview to promote his third album, Thicke explained that:
I think this album was so different than my last album. The last album I did, I spoke about my personal life and the things that I was going through at that time. However, since I've been on the road, you just see how many people are either in poverty, or are not able to live the life they want to live, have just given up on their dreams, or have had it taken away from them. What I thought were problems are not problems at all, and I think when I made this record a little perspective kicked in.
Thicke appeared on an episode of ABC's The Bachelor to perform "Magic" and "The Sweetest Love" for the remaining female contestants. Thicke wrote and produced a track for the movie Precious in which his wife Paula Patton also starred. He co-headlined a U.S. tour with Jennifer Hudson, which began March 31, 2009 in Albany, New York, and wrapped up 25 shows later in Biloxi, Mississippi. At the start of the tour, Thicke released "Dreamworld" as the official third single from Something Else. As of April 2009, Something Else has shifted over 435,000 units in the U.S.
Seven months after the release of Something Else, Billboard.com announced that Thicke would release his fourth studio album in the fall of 2009, which would not be self-produced. The album, titled Sex Therapy, had its release date postponed to winter, on December 15, 2009. Jay-Z is featured on the track "Meiple (Me I Play)". The first single from the album was the title track, produced by Polow Da Don and released in October 2009. The lead single for international markets was "Rollacosta" featuring singer Estelle. The second U.S. single was "It's in the Mornin'" featuring Snoop Dogg. "Shakin' It for Daddy", featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, produced by Polow Da Don, was supposed to be released as a single at some point, however, its release was eventually cancelled.
Speaking of the musical background to Sex Therapy, Thicke told Pete Lewis – Deputy Editor of Blues & Soul – "I'm always gonna have the influence of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Al Green in my music. But with this album I also wanted to show my HIP HOP side. I grew up listening to Run DMC and N.W.A and Biggie and Pac and Jay-Z... So I really wanted to make a record that represented how much that music has influenced me." Earlier in 2009, on October 14, Leighton Meester's debut single "Somebody to Love", featuring Thicke, was released. Thicke told MTV he was glad to have Lil Wayne on the album. He also pointed out that he was featured on Lil Wayne's last two albums, and Lil Wayne was on his last two albums. "We're kind of good luck charms for each other."
Thicke appeared on ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve on January 1, 2010 and performed three songs in Las Vegas, in a pre-recorded segment. Also in 2010, it was confirmed that he, along with Melanie Fiona, would feature on The Freedom Tour with Alicia Keys. As of October 2011, the album has sold 289,000 copies in the United States.
2011–12: Love After War and Duets
During 2011, Thicke was confirmed to go on tour with Jennifer Hudson, with whom he toured in 2009. Later that year, Robin Thicke released his fifth studio album, Love After War, on December 6, 2011. The album debuted at number twenty-two on the Billboard 200 and number six on the "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" selling 41,000 in its first week. In an interview to promote the album, Thicke has stated that a lot of the inspiration for the album came from his family:
I learned what true compassion and patience is about. You think you're a man, or you think you're grown, until you have a child and you have to see what a woman goes through when she has a baby – and how it changes her body, [it] changes her mindset. I had to kick into gear because I love nobody more than my wife in this world. It was actually wonderful for me. Julian has changed everything – every move I make, I know that it will affect him, his growth and his happiness.
The album has produced three singles. The first is the title track, "Love After War" released on October 11, 2011 and has peaked at number fourteen on the "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs" chart and topped "Urban AC" making it his second song after "Lost Without U" to top that chart. The music video for the song premiered November 21, 2011. The music video features his wife Paula Patton and consists of Thicke making up with his wife after a fight. The second single is "Pretty Lil' Heart", which features Lil Wayne and was released on November 8, 2011. The music video for that premiered on March 2, 2012. It peaked at number fifty-one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. On May 31, 2012, Thicke released a video for his promo single, which was a cover of the "Whitney Houston" classic "Exhale (Shoop Shoop"). The third official single is "All Tied Up" which was released to Urban AC radio on April 10, 2012. The music video premiered on June 7, 2012 on "Vevo".
Thicke is appearing as a judge on a new ABC television show called Duets which premiered May 24, 2012 and which also features John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, and Kelly Clarkson. The judges double as mentors who search for singers across the country (Robin Thicke's singers being Olivia Chisholm and Alexis Foster) to duet with them as they perform in front of a live studio audience. The premier episode drew in 7 million viewers. The show went live June 28, 2012, allowing the viewers to vote for their favorite contestants.
2013: Blurred Lines and the controversy
On March 26, 2013, Thicke released "Blurred Lines" featuring T.I. and Pharrell as the lead single to his sixth studio album, also titled Blurred Lines. The video, featuring models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M'Bengue, and Elle Evans, was released on March 20, 2013 and garnered more than 1 million views in days after release on Vevo. Thicke said he had received the approval of his wife Paula Patton before shooting the video.
In early 2013, Thicke starred as a fictionalized version of himself alongside Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Nelly, Duane Martin, J.B. Smoove, Nick Cannon, and Cynthia Kaye McWilliams in the first season of BET's hit show Real Husbands of Hollywood. Thicke was unable to rejoin the cast for the shooting of the second season, opting instead to focus on his music. According to Thicke, "Once the song started to take off, and all this momentum was happening, and they [Real Husbands of Hollywood] needed me for all eight weeks, I couldn't finish the album and promote the single and go over seas and do all these other things I wanted to do."
As Thicke explained to the Breakfast Club, "The album is called Blurred Lines. I've realized as I've gotten older that we all think we're living either in a black or white world, or on a straight path, but most of us are living right in between those straight lines. And everything you thought you knew, the older you get, you realize, 'Damn, I don't know nothing about this. I better pay attention, I better listen and keep learning.' So I think that, that's what I've been realizing these past few years."
The singer also explained his foray into a more poppy sound than his usual milieu. "The last year I've been wanting to have more fun. I think I took myself very seriously as an artist and I wanted to be like Marvin Gaye, and John Lennon and Bob Marley and these great artists and songwriters that sang about love and sang about relationships," Robin explained. "And then the last year, my wife and I just really wanted to have fun again, we wanted to be young again and we wanted to dance again and go out with our friends, so I wanted to make music that reflected that culture also." The song has been a worldwide hit, has peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and has also reached number one in 13 more countries including the United Kingdom, where Blurred Lines became only the 137th record in history to surpass the one million sales mark, and the United States. The new album Blurred Lines was released on July 30, 2013.
The song and related music videos also received criticism for being misogynistic and promoting rape culture, with some critics going so far as to call the lyrics "creepy" and the song "rapey". In an interview for GQ magazine Thicke joked about the video saying, "What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before. I've always respected women." Video director Diane Martel was asked on an interview if Thicke's statement in GQ that "the idea was to be 'derogatory towards women'" was discussed on set, to which she responded, "That’s crazy. Maybe he wasn’t thinking when he said that." During an interview with Oprah Winfrey for Oprah's Next Chapter, Thicke clarified his comment about degrading women, describing it as a "bad joke", noting that the published GQ interview did not mention that he was doing an impersonation of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character while making the remark, thus not providing the sarcastic/joking context. The song's unrated music video was originally banned from YouTube before being reposted some weeks later.
On August 25, at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" with Miley Cyrus, followed by Give It 2 U with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. The performance drew negative reactions for its alleged raunchiness, sexism, racism, slut-shaming, and cultural appropriation. It became the most tweeted about event in history, with Twitter users generating 360,000 tweets about the event per minute; breaking the previous record held by Beyoncé's Super Bowl XLVII halftime show performance six months earlier.
On December 6, 2013, Thicke and T.I. performed "Blurred Lines" accompanied by Earth, Wind & Fire at The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! on CBS where it was announced that Thicke had been nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Album for Blurred Lines and Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the album's single "Blurred Lines". In the same month, he was awarded the title "Sexist of the Year" by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which has more than 60 member groups working to end sexual and domestic violence, trafficking and other forms of abuse.
On January 26 of 2014, Thicke performed live with Chicago at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, celebrating the induction of Chicago's debut album, The Chicago Transit Authority, into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Thicke and Chicago performed a medley of "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Beginnings", and "Saturday in the Park" ending with "Blurred Lines".
At the end of June 2014, during a Q&A session on Twitter and hosted by VH1, and asked followers to submit questions by using the hashtag #AskThicke. The tag was quickly overrun by people protesting against his lyrics criticized as misogynistic, his lifestyle choices and other detractors leading to what The Guardian called "an epic PR fail". When a Twitter user pointed out that the comments directed at Thicke were "brutal", Thicke took the onslaught in stride, responding, "I can handle it, I'm a big boy".
Thicke is a self-taught pianist. Some of the first songs he learned to play and sing along with were by gospel artists such as Commissioned, Take 6, and John P. Kee, studying their licks and harmonies. Thicke has drawn influence from a variety or artists including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sting, Prince, Alanis Morissette, The Beatles, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
Songwriting and producing
Thicke began his songwriting career by writing songs for popular artists. He co-wrote and produced the Color Me Badd hit "Sexual Capacity" in 1996. He also co-wrote on the self-titled debut album by Christina Aguilera, which sold 17 million copies worldwide. Other albums on which Thicke's song-writing/producing/contributions have been featured include: Brandy, Brian Mcknight's I Remember You, Brownstone's Still Climbing, Jordan Knight, Chante Moore's This Moment Is Mine, Marc Anthony, P!nk's Can't Take Me Home, Mýa's Fear of Flying, BBMak's Sooner or Later, both Will Young's Friday's Child and Keep On.
The Thicke original "When I Get You Alone" was performed by Guy Sebastian, the winner of the first Australian Idol 2003, during the competition and at the Idol grand finale. "When I Get You Alone" was a popular song choice for Sebastian; he put the live idol performance on his four-times platinum debut single "Angels Brought Me Here"; it was the fastest selling single in Australia debuting at number one and immediately breaking an ARIA record. In 2004, Thicke co-wrote and produced "Out With My Baby" with Guy Sebastian, from Sebastian's second album, Beautiful Life. During this same year, he co-wrote and produced a song with the singer and actress Raven-Symoné for the album This Is My Time, with the song "Set Me Free".
Thicke wrote "Can U Handle It?" for Usher's 2004 album, Confessions, with backing vocals provided by Paula Patton. Confessions would go on to sell 20 million copies worldwide and win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album in 2005. In April 2007, Thicke co-wrote "Wrong for You" with singer/songwriter Angela Via. In 2008, he was enlisted by producer Polow da Don to play piano on the hit Usher track "Love in This Club", which reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100. Thicke wrote and produced the song "Tie My Hands" on Lil' Wayne's multi-platinum selling album Tha Carter III, which went on to win Best Rap Album. Thicke wrote and produced the song "Giving Myself" for the album Jennifer Hudson, which went on to win Best R&B Album.
Throughout his career, Thicke has worked most frequently with long-time production partner Pro Jay (James Gass), whose contributions have appeared on all of Thicke's own studio albums and whose name can be found alongside Thicke's in writing/producing credits for other artists. Thicke also often enlists guitarist/songwriter Bobby Keyes to contribute to his projects.
In 2007, Thicke appeared on 50 Cent's album Curtis on a song called "Follow My Lead". The following year, he worked with Ashanti on her fourth studio album, The Declaration. Thicke also appeared on R. Kelly's Untitled on the track "Pregnant" which also features Tyrese and The-Dream.
At the age of 14, Robin Thicke first met actress Paula Patton in 1991 at an under-21 hip-hop club called Balistyx (co-founded and co-hosted by David Faustino) on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, when he asked her to dance. According to Thicke, he sang Stevie Wonder's "Jungle Fever" to her as they danced. Thicke began dating Patton at the age of 16. They were married in 2005, and have a son, Julian Fuego Thicke, born in 2010. Thicke and Patton separated in February 2014, after almost nine years of marriage.
In the autumn of 2010, Thicke spent several weeks in New York City recording and living in a rented SoHo apartment which he had converted into a makeshift professional studio. Thicke has said he does not like his music being described as "blue-eyed soul".
Thicke is a close friend of fellow performer Usher. Thicke was present for Usher's engagement to Tameka Foster, serenading the couple with his song "Stupid Things" as Usher proposed among family and friends.
In April 2013, Thicke performed at the wedding of basketball legend Michael Jordan and model Yvette Prieto, surprising the bride. According to Thicke, Michael requested the songs "You're My Baby", "Sweetest Love", "Jus Right", and "2 Luv Birds".
When Thicke was 11, Wayne Gretzky had been babysitting him while his father was on vacation when the Edmonton Oilers superstar learned he had officially been traded to the Los Angeles Kings and had to suddenly leave. Alan Thicke reportedly didn't find out that his son was home alone until he called home the next morning and found out that Gretzky had to leave because he was traded. In 2013, on the 25th anniversary of Gretzky's trade, TSN hockey announcer Gord Miller tweeted that it was Robin who answered the telephone call from Kings owner Bruce McNall confirming the trade: "(He) wasn't sure he should admit that Gretzky was there, but McNall insisted that he bring him to the phone."
- A Beautiful World (2003)
- The Evolution of Robin Thicke (2006)
- Something Else (2008)
- Sex Therapy: The Session (2009)
- Love After War (2011)
- Blurred Lines (2013)
- Paula (2014)
- Robin Thicke & India.Arie - co-headline tour (October 2006)
- Once Again Tour (John Legend) - as opening act (late October - early December 2006)
- The Beyoncé Experience – as an opening act for the North American leg (2007)
- Love Soul Tour (Mary J. Blige) - as opening act (2008)
- Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke – co-headline tour (2009)
- The Freedom Tour (Alicia Keys) – as an opening act for the tour along with Melanie Fiona (2010)
- Robin Thicke with special guest Miguel in Houston, Texas
- Love After War – 3 week promotional tour in November 2011
- Overexposed Tour (Maroon 5) - as an opening act for the European leg (January 2014)
- Blurred Lines Tour (2014)
Awards and nominations
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