Joe hunts for his good girl

2011-11-04 07:33

With hip-hop on the rise, it’s as if other genres like R&B are under severe threat – and even most singers are struggling to mint the all-important mega-hit.

One artist unflinching in his conviction that R&B is here to stay is Joe Thomas, the singer of the 1997 hit Good Girls.He might have disappeared from the charts for a while, but Thomas believes that the genre is continuously morphing.

“Even though it might seem like R&B is taking a setback, the truth is that it still dominates but it certainly won’t sound the same as it did in the 80s. Every generation brings in a new touch, but they are still singing about love, but in another genre.”

It’s 8pm in Pretoria and 2pm in New York City. I’m sitting in my mother’s living room and keeping me company is the booming baritone reverberating through the telephone receiver.

He casually answers the phone with a distinct American drawl: “Yeah what’s going on?” Thomas is simple and unassuming, judging just by the way he answers.

He quips and remarks how ecstatic he is about his forthcoming visit to our shores. “I’m really happy to be visiting South Africa. I’ve been looking forward to performing that side for a while now and I can’t wait to give my fans a dose of my new album,” he says.

Our conversation swiftly moves to him explaining his absence from the music scene for the past two years since the release of his last album Signature.

“I’ve been doing a lot of touring and last year I worked with Keith Sweat and then (Bishop) TD Jakes approached me to work with him on a gospel single for his second album,” he explains.

The 39-year-old Thomas has had his fair share of collaborations working with Carl Thomas, Brian McKnight and also gospel and R&B crooner Bebe Winans.

Even though most of his work is dominated by R&B, the muso – whose hit parade includes All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do), Don’t Wanna Be A Player and I Wanna Know – admits that he is still loyal to gospel.

“I grew up in a family filled with gospel music. Both my parents are ministers and I started singing at church, so gospel will always be a part of me,” he says.

“My first love is R&B. I don’t see myself completely changing to something else, I love singing about love and bringing people who are in love closer.”

Thomas depicts confidence as he talks about the competition in the music industry and how he manages to stay relevant for so many years.

“I don’t regard anyone as my competition, there are people like Ne-Yo and Trey Songz who are keeping it real, their aim is also to preach the message of love. I take it we are individually helping each other to achieve the same goal. And when doing music I make sure that I give my fans the best of what I can give.”

Talking about his new album, Thomas states that there is nothing different from it compared to his previous albums. “My craft is to create music about love. Even on this one, it’s all about love, romance and feeling young at heart,” he says.

His career dates back to the 90s and he seems to be a depiction of Benjamin Button; the older he gets the younger he looks.

“I can attribute my genes (to my looks) because it’s not like I go out of my way to make sure that I don’t age. And again, I also try to make sure that I exercise and eat healthy. I guess it goes a long way.”

On his forthcoming visit, the multiple Grammy nominated musician doesn’t want to divulge much, only saying he promises his fans an amazing show.

Knowing that Good Girls is one of the songs which brought him street cred in love matters, I ask him if he has finally found his good girl. With a slight pause followed by a soft giggle, he says: “I haven’t found someone yet but I haven’t given up.”

So there, the man may be on the lookout when he gets here?.?.?.?I’m first in the queue.

» Thomas will perform on December 17 in Joburg at the Sandton Convention Centre and December 18 in Durban at the Durban ICC.

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