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B.W.D: Interview w/ Carl Thomas + Nikki D + Po Johnson

  • Broadcast in Music
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Once a protégé of music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs (who signed Thomas after hearing him sing at an open mic night in New York in the mid – 90s), he was the first heartthrob R&B songster on Bad Boy Entertainment. Thomas is best known for his #1 R&B smash “I Wish” from the album So Emotional, which debuted in the Top 20 on Billboard and was a critical and commercial success, selling nearly 2 million copies. When Thomas crooned “I wish I had never met her,” with equal parts pleading and regret, women found his white wine cool vocals and Marvin Gaye meets Nat King Cole sex appeal irresistible, while guys immediately identified with his worldly yet around the way lyricism and spot on relationship observations. With a solid debut —also yielding the windswept hit single “Summer Rain”—Carl Thomas instantly transformed from a Chicago native son singing for his supper into both an in demand lothario and voice of masculine romance for an entire generation. However, it was his indefatigable passion and not industry position or fanfare that beckoned him back to the studio for his new album, Conquer.
It has been a long road back home. In 2004, on the eve of the release of his highly anticipated sophomore project, Let’s Talk About It, Thomas’ brother was murdered in Aurora, Illinois, the Chicago suburb where they grew up. Instead of basking in the glory and glamour of another hit album, a devastated Thomas left his career behind fled abroad and rendered himself incognito in the states—much to the chagrin of Combs. “Puff fought me on that one. But, we were at different points of communication at the time,” he says. Thomas also makes it clear that his eventual departure from the iconic the hip-hop/R&B label had nothing to do with the swirl of rumors that surfaced regarding the situation.