“I am back!” declares the Grammy® nominated, platinum-selling R&B artist Carl Thomas. After a brief personal hiatus, Thomas returned to the studio armed with an arsenal of hit songs, award-winning producers and a triumphant spirit to deliver his highly anticipated new album appropriately titled Conquer, set for release on Verve Forecast, December 6, 2011. And his smoldering lead single, “Don’t Kiss Me” produced by Rico Love (Usher, Beyoncé), a modern-day ode to the oldie R&B track with Thomas’ signature vocal styling-with a reminiscent touch of Al Green and Marvin Gaye for good measure.
A lot has happened since Carl Thomas’ debut album Emotional climbed the charts to become an instant R&B classic. After the tragic murder of his brother in 2004 on the eve of the release of Thomas’ sophomore album Let’s Talk About It, a devastated Thomas put writing and recording on pause and went abroad to escape the pain from his shocking loss. With frequent international travels and remaining incognito in the States, Thomas embarked on a personal journey of recovery.
Still grieving the loss of his brother, Thomas was invited to the studio to record for “fun” resulting in 2007’s So Much Better. “That not only gave me legs to stand on again,” Thomas recalls, “but it showed me that I was supposed to be standing.” And even as an independent release, So Much Better hit the Top 50 on the Billboard 200 chart: A cathartic process serving to ease Thomas back into writing and recording with a whole new outlook, paving the way for Conquer.
Realizing music’s healing qualities, Thomas triumphantly returns with Conquer, his first studio album in four years. Not wishing to travel the same, traditional R&B course, Thomas carves out his own melodious niche. Conquer showcases his growth as an artist and songwriter with songs bursting with lush orchestrations and entrancing chords, all weaved together with his timeless vocal style. The core of Conquer is comparable to Coldplay’s soulful sparseness. It’s the spirited pop of Maroon Five on a hot Harlem night. It’s Sting meets Lamont Dozier.
For the recording of Conquer, Thomas enlisted some of today’s top producers, including Andre Harris (formerly of multi-platinum production duo Dre & Vidal) who produced the smooth and seductive title track which opens with a quiet tempest of strings-the kind you hear during a pivotal scene of a spaghetti Western-and “Round 2,” about his request to repeat an intimate encounter with a beautiful woman to jar his memory. Conquer continues with the Rex Rideout-(Ledisi) produced “It Is What It Is” which was written by hip-hop legend Heavy D and showcases Thomas’ effortless ability to ride rhythms and skillfully ad-lib all at once; the romantic wedding ballad “I Do” which was written by Thomas and produced by The Internz (Justin Bieber) conveys the groom’s point of view as he watches his gorgeous bride walk down the aisle; and the Mario Winans-produced “It Ain’t Fair” whose production style works in perfect tandem with Thomas’ subtle yet urgent delivery as he continues his grown-man flirts and adulation of a angelically beautiful woman.
Once a protégé of music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs (who signed Carl Thomas after hearing him sing at an open mic night in New York in the mid ’90s), the Chicago native was the first heartthrob R&B songster on Bad Boy Entertainment. After a string of recordings with other Bad Boy artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Black Rob and Mase, Thomas finally got his chance and released his full-length debut album, Emotional, in April 2000 that reached No. 2 on the R&B chart, Top 20 on the Billboard 200 and sold nearly two million copies- with the single “I Wish” hitting No. 1 on the R&B Singles chart. His follow-up, 2004’s Let’s Talk About It, hit No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200. And in 2006, Thomas earned a Grammy® Award nomination for “Everyday (Family Reunion),” along with Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams and the late Gerald Levert, for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.
Jay-Z described “I Wish” as “one of the best foundations an R&B artist could ever ask for.” Today, with the release of Conquer, Carl Thomas continues to majestically build on that foundation.
Additionally, New York press days including exclusive album listening sessions are schedule to take place at the Verve Forecast offices in October. Specific press times will scheduled per request and listening session days and times will be made available as scheduled.
Follow Carl Thomas on Twitter@Mr_Carl_Thomas
First Look: Official Tracklisting!
Night Is Yours
Not The Same
Don’t Kiss Me
It Is What It Is
It Ain’t Fair
In Stores & iTunes on December 6th!