Showbiz is in Robin Alan 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 recorded at the age of 14 was heard by Brian McKnight, who helped the youngster -- subsequently nicknamed "Brian McWhite" by friends -- get a recording deal with major-label Interscope. However, it was as a songwriter and occasional producer that Thicke experienced his earliest success. From 1994 through 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 an impressive and lengthening track record, Thicke was still finding his footing as a solo artist. Advances of his debut album, Cherry Blue Skies, surfaced in 2002, but the record 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 peaked at number 152 on the Billboard 200, while 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 Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, the production duo known as the Neptunes. Signed to their Star Trak label, though still technically an Interscope artist, Thicke scored a number 14 pop hit with the ballad "Lost Without U," which also topped the R&B/hip-hop and adult R&B charts. The album reached number five on the Billboard 200 and eventually went platinum.
Thicke settled into a lengthy career as a widely respected artist who remained true to his root influences while occasionally departing from his '70s-indebted stylistic comfort zone. The refined follow-up to The Evolution of Robin Thicke, Something Else, landed in September 2008 and peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and R&B/hip-hop charts. It was highlighted by the disco-soul throwback single "Magic," the singer's second single to reach the R&B/hip-hop Top Ten. Sex Therapy, led by its Polow da Don-produced title track, arrived the next December and narrowly missed the top of the R&B/hip-hop chart. Almost exactly two years later, Love After War became Thicke's fourth straight Top Ten R&B/hip-hop entry.
Thicke achieved his greatest commercial success in another two years with "Blurred Lines," a number one pop hit in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and several other countries. The album of the same title consequently went straight to the top of the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album. "Blurred Lines" itself, featuring T.I. and producer Pharrell Williams, was up for two Grammys: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and one of the "big four" categories, Record of the Year. The song gained more public attention as the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the estate of Marvin Gaye, which alleged that it plagiarized the Motown artist's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up."
In February 2014, Thicke and Paula Patton separated after eight years of marriage. Thicke began a public campaign for reconciliation that entailed an album titled in his ex-wife's name. Preceded by the ballad "Get Her Back," Paula -- Thicke's seventh LP -- was released in July 2014 and entered the Billboard 200 at number nine. Thicke went on a short hiatus but returned the next year with the singles "Morning Sun," his tenth Top Five adult R&B hit, and "Back Together," featuring Nicki Minaj.
After singles featuring guest verses from Nas and Juicy J, Thicke left the major-label system, and in 2018 established his independence with "Testify," written following the death of his father. The next year, Thicke became a panelist on the reality singing competition series The Masked Singer and returned to the top of the adult R&B chart with "That's What Love Can Do." On Earth, and In Heaven, his eighth album, was issued in February 2021. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi
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