Robert Kelly "Rob" Thomas (born February 14, 1972) is a German-born American singer and songwriter. He is the primary songwriter and lead singer of the band Matchbox Twenty. Thomas also records and performs as a solo artist. Thomas earned three Grammy Awards for co-writing and singing on the Santana triple-platinum hit "Smooth", on the album Supernatural in 1999.
He has also lent his songwriting talents to such artists as Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony, Pat Green, Taylor Hicks, Travis Tritt and Daughtry.
Since 1996, his band has released a string of hit singles to radio including "Push", "3AM", "Real World", "Back 2 Good", "Bent", "If You're Gone", "Mad Season", "Disease", "Unwell", "Bright Lights", "How Far We've Come", and "She's So Mean". In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Thomas its first Starlight Award, recognizing young songwriters who have already had a lasting influence in the music industry.
He was born Robert Kelly Thomas in Landstuhl, West Germany, at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, an army hospital, to his American parents on February 14, 1972. Thomas's parents moved back to the U.S. when he was six months old. They divorced when Thomas was two years old.
He and his sister were raised by his mother in Orlando, Florida, and with their grandparents in Turbeville, South Carolina. When he was 12, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He attributes the song "3AM" to this time. She later made a full recovery. He dropped out of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida in the twelfth grade at the age of 17. He has since earned his GED.
In 1993, Rob Thomas formed the band Tabitha's Secret, which eventually turned into the band Matchbox Twenty.
On April 19, 2005, after ten years with Matchbox Twenty, Thomas began his solo career with the release of ...Something to Be which shot to #1 on the album chart. His first single from the album, "Lonely No More", reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single debuted in the top 10 of the Australian ARIA singles chart on the week of April 4, 2005. The second single, "This Is How a Heart Breaks", went gold in the USA and hit the top 50 in Australia. The third single, "Ever the Same", became a top five Adult Contemporary hit.
As a solo act, Thomas has made several significant appearances. On July 2, 2005, Thomas appeared at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia, singing a solo set and "Higher Ground" with Stevie Wonder. He also appeared on the September 10, 2005 MTV Katrina Relief Concert. On October 5, 2005, he started his first solo tour, the Something to Be Tour. In the summer of 2006, Thomas toured with Jewel and Toby Lightman.
In September 2006, Thomas's solo effort received more exposure when ABC started using the song "Streetcorner Symphony" in promotional ads for its popular Thursday night lineup. This song was subsequently released as a single.
In January 2007, Thomas released a single entitled "Little Wonders" from the soundtrack to the Disney animated feature, Meet the Robinsons. "Little Wonders" reached #5 on the Mediabase Hot Adult Contemporary chart. Thomas was featured on the June 14, 2007 episode of the long-running PBS series Soundstage.
In 2007, Thomas and his band Matchbox Twenty released another album entitled Exile on Mainstream. The album was a two-disc set with one disc featuring the band's greatest hits to date and the second disc featuring six new songs. The album released three singles: "How Far We've Come", "All Your Reasons", and "These Hard Times".
On September 15, 2008, Thomas told Billboard.com his second solo album was tentatively called Cradle Songs. Thomas characterized the album as "the usual mish-mosh of styles, but hopefully just holding true to a bunch of good songs." The article also mentioned that the record would nonetheless feature several tracks that "take a more global, rhythmic direction after working with South American and African percussionists." Thomas explained one such experiment:
"We started off with the idea of doing a newer version of (Paul Simon's) The Rhythm of the Saints, and that kinda carried us a long way through. It gave us a whole new bed to work with, like 'How do I get my pop sensibility around this and work it into that?' It was a lot of fun. But you go through different phases when you're writing; it took a different turn, and I just followed it, too."
On February 25, 2009, it was announced via Fox News that Thomas would be releasing his second solo record Cradlesong in May 2009. It was mentioned, in addition, that there were "at least four hot singles awaiting radio play including 'Her Diamonds' and 'Someday'."
On the same day, Thomas announced on his official website that he had been "back and forth to Los Angeles quite a bit, mixing the new record." However, he denied the album would be released in May, mentioning it "looks like it won't be coming until the last week of June or the first week of July."
On March 2, 2009, Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly interviewed Thomas, where he confirmed he had since shelved his initial efforts to evoke The Rhythm of the Saints, and claimed the album was scheduled for a June 30 release. Having played half the forthcoming album to Entertainment Weekly, it was reported that many of the lyrics on Cradlesong centered around troubled relationships, and three more song titles were revealed: "Meltdown" (described as "INXS-esque power pop" that stood out as "a possible first single"), "Fire on the Mountain" (an "epic, tribal drum-driven" track inspired by Dave Eggers' book What Is the What) and "Getting Late" (suggested as the "set's likely closer" and what Thomas described as "a little ditty about death.").
On March 11, 2009, Rob Thomas created his own Twitter account and announced via the social application that "Her Diamonds" would be the lead single from Cradlesong.
Thomas has also stated via Twitter that Cradlesong had been mastered and featured fourteen tracks culled from the twenty-four songs recorded during the album sessions. All twenty-four tracks were fully mixed and mastered, leaving plenty of material left over for B-sides, iTunes, or EPs.
On May 21, 2009, Thomas performed "Her Diamonds" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
On June 9, 2009, Thomas released "Give Me the Meltdown" to the US iTunes Store. Similarly, "Someday" was released on June 16. On June 22, Cradlesong was made available for streaming only on the we7 website, one week ahead of its UK release date.
Thomas promoted the album with his 2009/2010 tour, Cradlesong Tour.
In March 2010, Thomas announced plans to release a four-song digital-only EP entitled the Someday EP. Featuring three new songs, the EP was released to iTunes on March 30, 2010, and all other digital retailers April 6, 2010.
In June 2010, Thomas was the guest on Daryl Hall's monthly internet concert series "Live from Daryl's House". They performed the Matchbox 20 hits "3 AM" and "Disease", as well as Thomas's solo songs "Someday" and "Ever the Same". They also performed Hall and Oates' hits "She's Gone" and "Kiss on My List", and the Marvin Gaye classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". In addition to his music career, Thomas also made a guest appearance playing himself and with Sinbad on the fourth season of the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He is also a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher.
Thomas has a son named Maison (born July 10, 1998) from a previous relationship.
Thomas married Marisol Maldonado on October 2, 1999. The couple currently live in Bedford, New York. They also have a home on Lake Marion in Manning, South Carolina.
The Thomases are committed animal lovers and supporters of animal charities. Thomas and his wife have established the Sidewalk Angels Foundation, a non-profit organization created to help needy people in and around America's big cities by partnering with various charities to assist people who cannot afford medical care, and animals that have been abandoned or abused. Politically, Thomas considers himself a "fairly liberal guy", and has written in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage on the blog The Huffington Post.
Thomas is a strong supporter of gay rights. He wrote about why he supports same-sex marriage in a 2009 Huffington Post blog titled "The Big Gay Chip on My Shoulder". He closed the article by writing, "Each of us has a short ride on this earth and as long as we stay in our lane, and don't affect someone else's ride, we should be allowed to drive as we see fit."
...Something to Be (2005)
The Great Unknown (2015)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Rob Thomas in the news
|Songs by Rob Thomas|