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One of the more charismatic, flashy, and commercially successful R&B acts of the 2000s and 2010s, Robin Thicke didn't have the toughest row to hoe to achieve stardom, but he was one of the least likely artists to acquire street credibility. He worked for over a decade as a modestly successful songwriter and fledgling solo artist prior to breaking through -- assisted by the Neptunes -- with 2006's The Evolution of Robin Thicke. On that album, his inspirations, ranging from '70s Marvin Gaye to Philly soul to classic Brazilian music, vividly coalesced with his somewhat brash personality and remarkable vocal skill. It was the first of several Top Ten R&B albums in a career that involved symbiotic collaborations with long-term associate Pro-Jay, Pharrell and Chad Hugo, Mark Ronson, and Polow da Don, as well as credibility-enhancing appearances from (or with) Lil Wayne, Faith Evans, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and T.I.
Show biz is in Thicke's Canadian-American genes. The son of vocalist and actor Gloria Loring and theme song composer and actor Alan Thicke, he grew up in suburban Los Angeles, surrounded by the entertainment industry. A demo he recorded at the age of 14 was heard by Brian McKnight, who helped the youngster -- subsequently nicknamed Brian McWhite -- get a recording deal with the Interscope label. However, Thicke experienced his earliest success as a songwriter. Before the end of 2000, he either wrote or co-wrote songs for Brandy ("Love Is on My Side"), McKnight ("Anyway"), Color Me Badd ("Sexual Capacity"), Brownstone ("Around You"), Christina Aguilera ("When You Put Your Hands on Me"), and Marc Anthony ("When I Dream at Night"). He was also involved with several songs on Mya's Fear of Flying, as well as the majority of Jordan Knight's self-titled 1999 album, including the Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hit "Give It to You."
Despite all the work as a composer, he was still finding his footing as a solo artist. Advances of his debut album, Cherry Blue Skies, surfaced in 2002, but the album was shelved, adjusted, and given a different title. The revamped version, titled A Beautiful World and featuring Thicke's future wife Paula Patton on the cover, was released in April 2003. It did not leave much of an impression and peaked at only number 152 on the Billboard 200, but the brash lead single "When I Get You Alone" -- which sampled Walter Murphy's 1976 disco hit "A Fifth of Beethoven" -- reached the Top Ten in Belgium, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Thicke's follow-up, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, didn't arrive until October 2006, but it benefited from a new alliance with the Neptunes. Signed to the duo's Star Trak label, though still technically an Interscope artist, Thicke scored a number one R&B single with the ballad "Lost Without U," and the album eventually went platinum.
Thicke then settled into a lengthy career as a widely respected artist -- with occasional diversions into humorous, self-aware showboating -- who remained true to his root influences while occasionally departing from '70s-indebted stylistic comfort zone. The focused and refined Something Else, a September 2008 release, peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, highlighted by the disco-soul throwback single "Magic." December 2009's Sex Therapy, led by its Polow da Don-produced title track, narrowly missed the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Thicke's fifth studio album, Love After War, was his most swashbuckling release to date, issued in December 2011. He made a surprising crossover move in March 2013 with the lighthearted, off-the-cuff "Blurred Lines," a Pharrell production with instrumental cues taken from Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." Assisted by its explicit video, it topped the Hot 100, a rare feat in 2013 for an R&B single. At the same time, it generated a huge controversy when feminists decried its lyrics as derogatory and offensive, which instigated a public debate over issues of sexual consent and censorship. Thicke also gained notoriety for his explicit performance with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV VMAs. However, the publicity only drove sales of the attendant album, also titled Blurred Lines; it topped the Billboard 200 and sold over 700,000 copies in the U.S. alone.
In February 2014, Thicke and Patton separated after eight years of marriage, allegedly due to his misbehavior. Thicke then began a very public campaign to win her back, declaring his love for her at concerts and even going so far as to title his next album Paula. Preceded by the desperate ballad "Get Her Back," the album was released in July 2014.
Robin Charles Thicke (/ˈθɪ/; born March 10, 1977) is an American-Canadian singer and songwriter. Thicke has worked with popular artists, such as Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, K.Michelle, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, and Mary J. Blige. 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". He is the son of actor Alan Thicke and actress Gloria Loring and known for his former marriage to actress Paula Patton. In 2013 and 2014, their separation and divorce was covered extensively by the tabloid press including Thicke's efforts to reconcile with Patton."Robin Thicke Biography". Biography Channel (A+E Networks). Retrieved 2014-02-24. Concepcion, Mariel (July 2, 2008). "Thicke Says World Needs 'Something Else'". Billboard.
Thicke was born Robin Charles Thicke on March 10, 1977, in Los Angeles, California. His mother is American actress-singer Gloria Loring, 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 were divorced when he was seven. Thicke has an older brother, Brennan, who worked as a voice actor in the mid-1980s.Cite error: The named reference biochannel was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Alan Thicke Biography (1947–)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. Shewfelt, Raechal. "Meet Robin Thicke's Big Brother". Yahoo.com. Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved 28 January 2015. "Brennan Thicke". IMDB.com. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
ContentsCareer1.1 Getting into the music industry1.2 Early work1.3 2002–04: Early commercial success and A Beautiful World1.4 2005–07: The Evolution of Robin Thicke1.5 2008–10: Something Else and Sex Therapy1.6 2011–12: Love After War and Duets1.7 2013: Blurred Lines1.8 2014: Paula
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 four song demo tape. The demo ultimately was paid for by jazz vocalist Al Jarreau, an uncle of one of the group members. Thicke's demo made its way to R&B artist 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 and A Beautiful World
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
"There's so many meanings behind that title. Number one, it reflects what we're going through as a nation here in America. I just felt, with Barack Obama and the new energy he's bringing, that it is time for some fresh hope and new attitudes. Then, in terms of me as an artist, because I'd been singing all these songs about self-reflection – like '2 The Sky' and 'Angels' – I just thought it was time for me to start singing about something ELSE! Also, I felt that – with my music being a little different from everything else you can get out there – the music IN ITSELF is also something different and something else!"—Robin Thicke interview by Pete Lewis, Blues & Soul, November 2008.
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 peaked at number two on the Adult R&B chart and number twenty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
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.
On February 8 of 2009, at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, Thicke took the stage alongside Lil' Wayne to perform their song "Tie My Hands" from the Grammy-winning album Tha Carter III (the song was also featured on Something Else) which was followed by Thicke and Lil' Wayne participating in a medley of "Big Chief" and "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now" led by jazz musicians Allen Toussaint, Terrence Blanchard, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in tribute to New Orleans and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. 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 hoped 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.
On February 5 of 2010, Thicke participated in BET's SOS Saving Ourselves: Help For Haiti telethon concert, held in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Thicke sang "Dreamworld" and was joined by India.Arie for a rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)". Thicke was also one of the many voices gathered to be part of the re-recording of the charity single "We Are The World", re-titled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", to benefit the disaster relief effort.
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 performed "Love After War" on the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards and later returned to the stage to sing "Reasons", trading verses with Joe and Eric Benét, as part of an all-star tribute to Legend Award recipients Earth, Wind & Fire.
Thicke appeared on season 2 of NBC's The Voice as a guest adviser/mentor to the contestants on Adam Levine's team.
In July 2012, Thicke made his feature film debut starring alongside Jaime Pressly in Jimbo Lee's Abby in the Summer, produced by Gabriel Cowan, John Suits, Dallas Sonnier and Jack Heller. The film, shot in 2012, was released in 2014 under the title Making the Rules.
Thicke served as a judge on the ABC television show Duets which premiered May 24, 2012 and which also featured John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, and Kelly Clarkson. The judges doubled as mentors who searched 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
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 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 calling 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, 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".
In June 2014, Thicke announced that his next album would be called Paula, dedicated to his estranged wife, Paula Patton. The lead single "Get Her Back" was released on May 19, 2014,. Thicke debuted the song on the same day with a performance at the Billboard Music Awards where he also won four awards for "Blurred Lines". The album was released July 1, 2014. At the end of June 2014, during a Q&A session on Twitter and hosted by VH1, Thicke 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 responded: "I can handle it, I'm a big boy". Paula peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, and sold 24,000 copies in its first week of release."Robin Thicke In Studio Jam". The Tom Joyner Morning Show. 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ContentsArtistry1.1 Influences1.2 Songwriting and producing1.3 Collaborations
Thicke is a self-taught pianist. Some of the first songs he learned to play and sing along with as a child 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 of artists including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sting, Prince, Alanis Morissette, The Beatles, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
"You know, people don’t always know why they connect with things. Like some people wanna be a fireman when they’re young. And for some reason hip hop, gospel, R&B and soul music just always felt like home to me. I was listening to Kurtis Blow at 8; N.W.A at 12; Jodeci and Mary J. at 14; then Boyz II Men and Babyface soon after."—Robin Thicke interview by Pete Lewis, Blues & Soul, November 2008.
Songwriting and producingFurther information: Robin Thicke production discography
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. 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.
In total, albums on which Thicke has been credited for his work (in capacities including writer, producer, arranger, vocalist, and musician) have sold over 60 million copies worldwide.
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. In 2008, Thicke 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 was featured along with a number of his contemporaries on the 2010 release Q Soul Bossa Nostra, an album in tribute to famed composer and music producer Quincy Jones (who also executive produced the project), which consisted of reinterpretations of Jones' work. In 2014, Thicke joined Jessie J on the DJ Cassidy produced song "Calling All Hearts".Cite error: The named reference V101.5 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Loring, Gloria (2012). Coincidence Is God's Way of Remaining Anonymous: Reflections on Daytime Dramas and Divine Intervention. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications. p. 102. ISBN 9780757316487. "Robin Thicke on his influences". MTV.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014. "Robin Thicke interview by Pete Lewis, ''Blues & Soul'', November 2008". Bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014. Now and Forever (liner notes). Color Me Badd. United States: Giant Records. 1996. Christina Aguilera (liner notes). Christina Aguilera. United States: RCA Records. 1999. McLean, Craig (May 7, 2010). "Christina Aguilera's 'eye on the prize'". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved February 7, 2014. I Remember You (liner notes). Brian McKnight. United States: Mercury Records. 1995. Still Climbing (liner notes). Brownstone. United States: Giant Records. 1996. Jordan Knight (liner notes). Jordan Knight. United States: Interscope Records. 1999. This Moment Is Mine (liner notes). Chante Moore. United States: MCA Records. 1999. Marc Anthony (liner notes). Marc Anthony. United States: Columbia Records. 1999. Sooner or Later (liner notes). BBMak. United States: Hollywood Records. 2000. Friday's Child (liner notes). Will Young. UK: 19 Recordings. 2003. Keep On (liner notes). Will Young. UK: 19 Recordings. 2005. Can't Take Me Home (media notes). P!nk. United States: LaFace Records. 2000. Fear of Flying (media notes). Mýa. United States: Interscope Records. 2000. "Aria End Of Year Highest Selling Single Chart 2003". Aria.com.au. Retrieved June 30, 2013. "Australian music in Trove – Trove". Musicaustralia.org. Retrieved June 30, 2013. Raven Symoné - This is My Time, Discogs.com, retrieved January 30, 2013 Confessions (liner notes). Usher. United States: Arista Records. 2004. Jennifer Hudson – Jennifer Hudson, Discogs.com, retrieved January 30, 2013 Cite error: The named reference New_Single was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference Tour_With_Beyonc.C3.A9_and_New_Album was invoked but never defined (see the help page). R. Kelly – Untitled, Discogs.com, retrieved January 30, 2013 "Untitled (Clean)". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013. Janeé Bolden (April 4, 2008). SOHH Exclusive: Polow da Don on Beat Jacking Rumors, If a 10-Year-Old Can Save Usher's Career, He's a Genius Like Me. SOHH.com. Accessed April 4, 2008. Mitchell, Gail. "'Q: Soul Bossa Nostra' Celebrates Quincy Jones Legacy". billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 7 February 2015. Luke O’Neil (5 March 2014). "DJ Cassidy's 'Calling All Hearts' Video With Jessie J, Robin Thicke + A Smoking Cat Is Some Seriously Disco Eye Candy". MTV Buzzworthy. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
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. On October 9, 2014, Paula Patton officially filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized on March 20, 2015.
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 "The Stupid Things" as Usher proposed among family and friends.
In April 2013, Thicke performed at the wedding of basketball great 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.""Robin Thicke Interview". The Howard Stern Show. August 29, 2013. Sirius XM Radio. Howard 100. "V-Intimate Nights with Robin Thicke! Q & A". V-Intimate Nights. July 2, 2012. Clear Channel Communications. V101.5 FM (WSOL-FM)(Jacksonville). Penn, Charli (December 21, 2011). "Exclusive: Robin Thicke on Loving Black Women, Interracial Dating, and Pleasing Paula". Essence. Cruz, Anne Marie (April 7, 2010). "Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Welcome a Son". People Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2010. Clark, Cindy (2014-02-25). "Robin Thicke, Paula Patton announce split". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01. "Paula Patton Files for Divorce From ‘Blurred Lines’ Singer Robin Thicke". Oldenburg, Ann (March 20, 2015). "Robin Thicke, Paula Patton divorce finalized". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved March 20, 2015. "Return of the Nomad Engineer II: The Top NYC Studios of Freelancer Ari Raskin, Part II March 2011". Sonicscoop.com. March 7, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2013. Miller, Mitzi (November 2008), "on the record with ... ROBIN THICKE". Essence. 39 (7):66 Foster, Tameka (2007). Usher's Fiancee Tameka Foster Speaks Out on the Rumors, Romance and the Rock: Tameka's Turn - PART II. Interview with Kenya Byrd of Essence.com. Thicke, Robin (2013). Robin Thicke Interview. Interview with DJ Envy, Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee. The Breakfast Club, Power 105.1. Gardner, Rennee (7 May 2013). "Robin Thicke performs Michael Jordan and Yvette Prieto’s favorite love songs: Listen here". rollingout.com. Retrieved 10 July 2014. Gretzky babysitting Robin Thicke when traded. Sportsnet.ca (August 22, 2012). Retrieved on August 30, 2013. Stubits, Brian (August 9, 2013). "Wayne Gretzky trade: Gretzky was babysitting Robin Thicke when dealt". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 9, 2013.