After taking a four-year hiatus, R&B singer/songwriter Carl Thomas is back and is ready to ‘conquer’ the music industry once again with his newest fourth studio album. During his break, Carl spent much of his time recording for the new project, as well as touring throughout the nation, performing singles like “I Wish” and “Emotional.” The soul man’s new LP, ‘Conquer,’ consists of eleven tracks, and is led by the first single “Don’t Kiss Me,” with veteran Hip-Hop artist Snoop Dogg on the remix version.
In an exclusive interview with Singersroom.com, Carl reveals the process behind working on the album, as well as his memories of the late Heavy D and also his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement and the idea of “independent women.”
Hiatus from Music… Well four years ago, I put out ‘So Much Better,’ and it was really the project that gave me back my fire and my love for doing R&B music and music period. It was really a blessing. It really paved the way for this album. I’ve been recording it for about a year, and I’ve recorded about 50 records or so for this project. The process was just refreshing, and I’m just glad to be back.
Men Displaying Emotion… First and foremost, you have to understand that your level of compassion is what separates you from the animals. Your ability to have compassion is what separates you apart from the apes and monkeys. Now there are some people who take pride in being savages. But one thing that that song pointed out for me is how many people are callous hearted and don’t even know it. They have no idea. It’s like “Oh you’re emotional.” You’re either emotional or you’re emotionless. Which side do you exist on? If you’re emotionless, that means you’re capable of anything because you don’t feel anything. That means you’re a liability. Anyone who rebels is a liability and is dangerous to themselves and those around them.
Understanding A Woman… No, not at all. [Laughs] Not at all. I would not say I have it figured out at all, but why would you want to figure it out? It’s part of the mystery in the journey.
Album Creative Process… The motivation behind the entire ‘Conquer’ project is that I wanted the album to be the soundtrack to people’s lives.. I also wanted to take an opportunity and try to set the cookie jar on the shelf a little higher, if you know what I mean. Because everybody can have a cookie right now, because the standards really aren’t that high. So I just wanted to vocally put the cookie jar on the shelf a little higher. [Laughs]
Working with Snoop Dogg… In actuality, we’re good friends. We wanted to do a record for a long time, but we didn’t think that people would understand the contrast. But he’s grown his artistry and grown into such diversity that it just kind of made room for itself. And I couldn’t think of a better record than “Don’t Kiss Me” to put Snoop Dogg on.
Science of Relationship… Of course, I’m taking the opportunity to address the man/woman relations from a different angle. In general, we’re talking about everything from break-ups to marriage to dealing with infidelity and whatever it is. I’m really covering that man/woman base. There are some songs on there that get a little hot under the cover, if you know what I’m saying… Records like “Round 2.”
Technology’s Role in Music… It’s just the next phase. I’ve always been an advocate for ushering in the new age, and I’ve kind of always shunned away from people who refused it because I always felt that computers and fiber optics were things that led the way for the future. So I definitely am all for it.
Bridging the Gap Between Old & New Fans… The beautiful thing about that is that I’ve never stopped performing. When I come to town, there’s no question mark behind what is he doing now… you know what I’m doing now; I’m on tour, still doing my thing. I think that you give people what they’ve been asking for, and allow music to do what it does. I said in the beginning that I wanted the project to be the soundtrack to people’s lives. I mean all kinds of people of all ages. That means I spoke to everybody on this album.
Heavy D Memories… Heavy D. He has an album that he just released called ‘Love Opus.’ He and I recorded a record for the album called “Still Missing You,” coincidentally. He did a song for me on my album called “It Is What It Is.” He was really just a special person, and we really made a lot of plans… We were planning for myself, Faith [Evans], and him to go out on a House of Blues tour this summer. We were planning on doing a video for the single that he and I did. It’s just really sad and unfortunate that those things aren’t going to happen. He was really an extremely happy person. He was an extremely bright individual; he was really smart. He loved to read. He loved to be around stimulating conversations. He loved to share his opinion about things. He loved to be a musical historian. He loved producing, he loved writing, he loved rapping, he loved his friends, his parents, his parents’ food… His parents’ food so much that he shared it with us. [Laughs] He was just a really wonderful person that I’m going to miss him a lot.
Occupy Wall St… There are a few answers I can give you about that. But I’ll say this… there’s a certain amount of civil unrest that has to happen in order for the people to really have an affect. Wall Street has become synonymous with the White House, unfortunately. Wall Street has become synonymous with Washington politics. A lot of citizens forget that it’s their responsibility to question authority and keep authority in check. I mean I understand there’s going to be a certain amount of resistance, because truth be told, although we’re supposed to be speaking truth to power… To be honest with you, and pardon my French, but power don’t wanna hear that sh*t. [Laughs] It’s a sad thing when the structure of capitalism creates an excuse for why people can’t eat, why people can’t clothes themselves. And they’ll blame it all on their ability to excel in the workforce. But it’s just not set up that way.
Some of these old, rich establishments have to start circulating some of that old cash. Someone has to restructure things to give the people a bigger piece of the pie. Like the coal in the fire… The super rich and the wealthy of the world are fueled by the work force. Don’t you think that those people, that we, the people that are responsible for those industries like WalMart [laughs]… that the people deserve a bigger share of the profits?
Voicing Political Concerns… I feel like I have an obligation to speak out, period. Not necessarily through my music, but to speak out period. It’s really time for the good people of this world to start fighting back, because men and women who are wooed by selfish ambitions are controlling our collective faith. It’s time for our leaders to have collective ambitions once again.
—— By: Interview By Connie Tang