Chicago Welcomes Back Carl Thomas at The Music Experience

Saturday, 24 December 2011 07:10 Written by  Iya Bakare

It’s been a while, but R&B crooner Carl Thomas is back and returned to his rightful place on stages behind microphones and on the airwaves.

Earlier this month, supporters and music lovers gathered at Chicago’s DuSable Museum where Carl interviewed with Dedry Jones of The Music Experience, performed some of his previous hits and highlighted his new project, Conquer.

The Aurora, Ill. native returned to his roots to discuss his first memories of music and where his foundation of music existed.

“My foundation with my family paved the way for the foundation of my music,” says Carl.

As a product of the MTV revolution, Carl grew up with an eclectic taste in music, singing both Gospel and Rock/Christian music, and admiring the classics Roy Ayers, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and Sting.

“My music style is like a pot of gumbo and I felt God in other music other than Gospel,” he remarks. “My first musical experience was through television, where I could translate emotions and fell in love with melodies. Melody is more important than rhythm because it dictates what you’re going to say.”

Through television and support from family who saw his true talent, Carl admits he saw his destiny, but it wasn’t easy as he sacrificed his teenage years and his 20s to be a starving artist and perform at open mic nights, where Carl said doors of opportunity opened for him.

“When I watched TV, I didn’t see a different world,” he comments. “I saw something I could touch.”

It was at open mic nights where Carl said he met the late Luther Vandross, who offered encouraging words of wisdom and met Sean “Diddy” Combs of Bad Boy Entertainment. To the surprise of many, Carl admitted it was almost a year after meeting Diddy that Carl signed with Bad Boy in 1996.

“It [Bad Boy Entertainment] was the greatest college of music business I attended,” added Carl.

His first hit “I Wish”, from his first CD Emotional, was No. 1 on the R&B charts for 14 weeks. Carl says like much of his music, this particular song was personal for him and he didn’t realize how many men related to the song. The songster added this album was his outlet to express some anger and a way for him to get his emotions right. It was also a project where Carl sites the influence of the late Heavy D.

“If there was no Heavy D, I wouldn’t be on this stage,” he admits.

Upon the release of other hits from his first CD and his second project Let’s Talk About It, Carl says Diddy recognized how talented Carl was, but didn’t have a musical direction for him. Carl says his second CD was the project that put him back in line. The same year of the release of his second CD, Carl’s brother was murdered in their hometown.

“I thought I got away, but it jumped up and bit my brother,” he says.

Before the release of So Much Better, Carl collaborated on other projects including the soundtrack of Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, which earned him a Grammy nomination and re-introduced him to the inspirational audience.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a prayer life, and I’m happy that prayer is a part of my life.”

With the release of his fourth project with Verve Music Group, Carl’s music embodies growth and maturity, which he says is the message he wants to convey to his audience.

Get Carl’s new single “Don’t Kiss Me” and his new album Conquer on iTunes and in stores today.

Follow Carl on Twitter at @Mr_Carl_Thomas and get his updates on his Facebook fan page and website

*Photos Courtesy of Verve Music Group


Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

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