Robin Thicke Interview
|Next Project:||Something Else (Sept)|
|Twitter:||Robin Thicke on Twitter|
|Website:||Robin Thicke's Website|
When Robin Thicke released his debut album, “A Beautiful World”, in April of 2003, he was rockin’ the Captain Jack Sparrow hairdo, sampling “A Fifth of Beethoven” and dominating the international charts with his single, “When I Get You Alone.” In October of 2006, the Los Angeles native returned with “The Evolution of Robin Thicke,” and with the help of Pharrell Williams (and a haircut), the project was platinum-certified in roughly six months.
Now, less than two years since “The Evolution,” this mega-talented, do-it-all musician is prepping the release of his third studio album, “Something Else.” Produced in-full by Thicke and his production partner, Pro Jay, the LP will possess a mostly live instrumentation feel and feature very few guest artists. Led by the current single, “Magic,” the project is currently set for release this September.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Robin steps inside the booth to talk about his constant fear of failure, past and future collaborations with Lil’ Wayne, which famous rap group was a major musical influence, and what his ‘Dream World’ looks like.
Listen to the Interview
Robin Thicke Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an R&B singer and songwriter who is really Something Else. Gearing up to release his third studio album this fall, please welcome the extremely talented Robin Thicke – how you doin’?
Robin Thicke: Hello, hello, Z – how are you?
DJ Booth: I’m great. Thank you so much for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth.
Robin Thicke: Absolutely.
DJ Booth: Your debut, A Beautiful World, marked your introduction into the music game. Your last album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, really put your talents on that proverbial map. So, what will the release of Something Else mean for the future of your career?
Robin Thicke: Wow, that’s a lot of pressure! [laughter] I don’t know – I mean, it really is just my job to express what I’m going through, and try to connect with people, and Something Else just really represents what I feel we’re going through in America right now, which is the age of change and hope, and Barack Obama. And that’s what the first song, Magic, is about. I got it, and you got it – we’ve all got magic inside of us, even though they try to beat it out of us.
DJ Booth: Well, let’s talk about Magic. As you mentioned, it’s the lead single off the project. You got it, she’s got it, together you got it, but let’s explain how we get it. In your mind, how does one go about acquiring this magic?
Robin Thicke: [laughter] Well, it really just takes not givin’ up on yourself, and havin’ a dream, and believin’ in that dream, and not givin’ up on it.
DJ Booth: I’ll tell you, you are parlaying these questions perfectly for me; my next one is, one of the new songs off the album is entitled Dream World, on which you describe what your dream world would consist of. But, Robin, would it be safe to say that you’re already living a dream?
Robin Thicke: Well, I believe that I have been blessed to be able to live out some of my dream, that is true, but I never stop dreaming, because there is so much to be done to take care of your friends, to love your woman right, and help your community, and help people in need. So the dream never ends, you know?
DJ Booth: Robin, you recently won an ASCAP award for your hit single, Lost Without U, in the category of R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year. For those who are not familiar, ASCAP is the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Let me ask you, what is more challenging – writing a hit record, producing a hit record, or singing the hit record that you wrote?
Robin Thicke: I don’t know if there’s any math to a hit record, or otherwise we’d do it every time. I think the thing is, you just try to to make the best music that you can, and music that you love first as an artist, and then every once in a while you get lucky, and [that’s] a hit record.
DJ Booth: Well, lucky for you, the planets align quite often. The writing and production credits are solely yours on this new album, so what went into your decision to not collaborate with other artists and producers?
Robin Thicke: My co-producer is a guy named Pro Jay, who’s incredibly talented; he plays every instrument, and we’ve been working together for eleven years. And besides that, after being on the road for two years with my amazing band, we went right into the studio to recapture that magic, which is why almost all of the album is live music. Then, we called up the old horn players and string arrangers from the Thriller and Off the Wall records, and had the old Michael Jackson cats on there, puttin’ horns on. So we really just tried to include as many people as possible, without doin’ it the way everybody else does it, you know?
DJ Booth: Speaking of live performances, last summer I saw you open for Beyonce in Chicago. During the entire performance, you did nothing but smile; it’s obvious that you are in love with what you are doing for a living. With that said, are there aspects of being a professional musician that, at times, make you unhappy?
Robin Thicke: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the pressure to deliver, the pressure to live up to things, or to just take criticism, it’s all very challenging, and it’s hard for the ego and your insecurities. The reason that I didn’t release a record until I was twenty-three was because I was afraid of making a fool of myself, but you gotta be willing to fall if you’re gonna ever stand, you know?
DJ Booth: Is that fear of failure somewhat gone from your mind?
Robin Thicke: Oh, no. The fear of failure is what keeps me on my toes; it’s what keeps me on the edge. I want to try and make music and put on a show that people can’t live without, you know?
DJ Booth: Definitely. Robin, late last year you were forced to reschedule some of your tour dates after your doctor said, “take a vocal rest.” Knowing that your voice is your career, do you have a daily throat routine, if you will, that you use to protect the best interest, which is your voice?
Robin Thicke: Well, no, I don’t try to look at my life as any one thing [making] or breaking my happiness, because if I put all that pressure on one element or aspect of my life making me happy, then I’ll be miserable a lot of the time. If something happened to that, it would ruin my life. I try not to take things like that too seriously. My music is a full art form that doesn’t just include my voice. I take care of my voice when it’s time to perform, and in between I don’t let it stop my from enjoying my life.
DJ Booth: Okay, so all that and a little bit of gargling and some chicken soup and you’re good?
Robin Thicke: Absolutely. Really, you’ve just got to keep singing; if you keep singing all the time, the muscles will stay strong for you.
DJ Booth: There are many times that I have played your material for those who were unfamiliar with what you’ve done and accomplished in this industry, and at first listen I’ve heard them say, “Oh, yeah – he sounds like Justin Timberlake!” I’m sure you’ve heard the comparisons – do they bother you at all?
Robin Thicke: Well, I don’t really hear it that often. Only when I’m dealing with the media, but not when I’m dealing with music people. But no, it doesn’t bother me; he’s a very talented, successful dude.
DJ Booth: Are there any other artists, who are not performing or putting out music right now, but that you listened to growing up, that people have said, “Oh, Robin kinds of sounds like him,” and you say, “Actually, that’s kinda where I got some of my inspiration from”?
Robin Thicke: Well, there’s the obvious Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green influences in the music, but I think that there’s so much music that a musician soaks up by the time they create their own style that now I really just feel like I’m creating my own music, and I’ve been influenced by everybody from Jim Hendrix to the Beatles to NWA, you know?
DJ Booth: As everyone knows, you appeared on Lil’ Wayne’s new album, Tha Carter III, after having appeared also on his Tha Carter II album.
Robin Thicke: Yes.
DJ Booth: Recently, Lil’ Wayne said he and T-Pain are going to be doing a joint album. Do you see yourself and Lil’ Wayne working your magic together – no pun intended – and recording a duo album?
Robin Thicke: I don’t know. I think that that might dilute the impact of the moments that we connect. I don’t like to force those kind of things; they happen organically enough.
DJ Booth: Robin, go ahead, give everyone a website, or a MySpace page, so they can find out more about you, and, of course, the exciting new album that you have coming out this fall, Something Else.
DJ Booth: I wish you nothing but the best of luck on the new album, and, of course, thank you once again for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth today, my friend.
Robin Thicke: Thank you so much.