The Gospel According to Joe Thomas

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This church boy turned R&B star opens up about the differences between a man’s love, a woman’s love, and what he thinks the problem is for most women Joe Thomas continues to leave his name, his mark, his imprint on R & B with the recent release of his latest album, Signature.

When our parents think about love songs, they think about Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross. When our generation thinks about love songs, we think about Joe.

Perhaps the most underrated R&B star of all time, this pretty young thing is still single. So what then, could he possibly have to tell us about love? A lot apparently, from “Don’t Wanna Be A Player” to “All the Things (Your Man Won’t Do),” in this heart to heart with Parlé, Joe opens up to reveal “More and More,” about the deeply personal, private, and hidden places from where he draws his inspiration.

“She liked me more than I liked her,” Joe explains in his own way what led him, and often leads many men, to stray. “That’s usually the problem for most women.” However, cheating is just a relative term. While Joe knew that this woman had committed herself to loving him and only him; what she did not know was that to Joe she was still just his “main girl.” For the ladies who need a definition, this is the one of several who they choose to “spend the holidays with.”

Despite all the implications of “Stutter,” which Joe admits he “made all that shit up,” Joe has never been cheated on, (that he knows of, because statistics show that 8 out of 10 people have been or will be cheated on). The lesson here is not for women to stop loving just one man, or that men are incapable of loving just one woman, the lesson is for the ladies to be more selective with whom you choose to give your love to.

This is the most significant way in which men and women love differently. Men have a much harder time than women in falling in love, settling down, and committing to just one person. Therefore, when they finally do reach that point of monogamy, men love just as strongly, and if not stronger, than women, according to Joe.

Joe ‘Signature’ album cover

“We hold onto that joint [relationship] as tight as we can,” says Joe who through time has learned to respect love more. “It hurts when things don’t end up the way you want it to,” Joe confesses. “Be fair to each other. Be open and honest. Just tell the truth. Tell how you’re really feeling.”

Call it a double standard, but he directs this advice most specifically to the women. He warns about the tendencies of a man, which can often leave a woman open to a vulnerable, even dangerous, situation.

“We’ve got some nuts out there. Guys who don’t want to let go. [Often men] will take it too far and have a harder time than women moving on.”

Joe denies ever being this type of man.

When asked about the state of R & B right now, he grimly suggests, “It’s surviving.” To get us out of this tense state, Joe urges that we need more inspiration, including more male R&B groups- supposedly more than just Diddy’s Makings of the Band can single-handedly provide.

“It all sort of becomes the same season. We need someone to step outside the box,” Joe explains while also complimenting younger artists Ne-yo and Trey Songs for “doing their thing for their generation.”

For this 15-year veteran and 7-time Grammy-nominated singer/producer, stepping outside of the box is definitely a talent and skill set which Joe has mastered. While developing Signature, Joe admits to taking great risks to expect an even greater return. With a 70’s kind of feel and 75% of the music in live performance, he accomplishes a complicated melody of passion, urgency, and excitement without losing the feeling of a traditional record. Not only that, but Joe has even gone as far as to attach sheet music for each song, a step that most artists would never think of. In what he describes as a throwback album, he seeks to pay homage to the artists who inspired him. Bringing in something new for this new era with hit singles such as “Magic” and “Sex Girl,” this is an album attracting new fans while still being relative for the fans who have been with him since day one. Joe declares this to be “the best work” that he has ever done.

“You have to be a good person, and you have to have a business mind. That’s what’s kept me in the game for so long,” says the son of two preachers. His conscience plays a large role in every aspect of work he does. “My main thing is to never tarnish what they have spent their whole lives building.”

Joe declares independence now after having finally taken the next step in his career: “ownership”—of his indie record label under Kedar and Universal. While still making music that can transcend through generations, Joe promises that he will be doing this well into his 60’s, and sees himself as being the next black Frank Sinatra. “It took a while to get here, but I’ve finally come into my own.”

Written by Fariso Jordan for Parlé Magazine