Chances are your favorite song has a story behind it. Some more intense than the others. Either way, most songs are birthed from experiences that have occurred to the song’s writer, or perhaps a story told to them by someone else. R&B singer and songwriter Robin Thicke recently gave an account of what inspired him to write one of his songs that he’s famously known for.
Robin Thicke has seen some atmospheric highs and lows that “rock-bottom” could envy. From hit singles like “Lost Without U”, “Magic”, and the worldwide-smash “Blurred Lines“, to the historic lawsuit that followed as well as his tumultuous divorce from actress Paula Patton, which received heavy media coverage. And then to add to the misery, his father, famed actor Alan Thicke, passed away as Robin was in the thick of it (no pun intended) in 2016. He also suffered the loss of his Malibu home due to a fire.
In 2014, he released the album Paula, which did not fare well with critics. He took some time off with music after the low performance of Paula, but in 2021 he released his latest musical offering On Earth, and in Heaven. Speaking to Rap-Up, the singer shared that he finally feels as though he has discovered himself with the creation of this album.
“I feel like I’m finally the person I set out to be. I’m able to laugh at anything, which I’ve realized is the greatest superpower,” the singer said. “I’ve fully embraced it, and nothing has been better for my soul. When I saw the phrase On Earth, and in Heaven, I realized that’s what I’m singing about: the people who aren’t here and the people who are here that made me who I am. This music is the sunshine coming out after the rain.”
Robin’s latest album includes songs that are written about his father as well as the late music legend Andre Harrell. Speaking with the Associated Press, Robin shared his process with writing for this album. “I just kind of woke up out of the fog, the creative fog I was in and personal fog I was in. Just started seeing the world a little differently, finally,” he said.
He added, “That’s what the album really is: when everything hits the wall. And some of these things I could not control. My father, Andre, my manager Jordan Feldstein, my house burning down. But there were other things that happened like getting a divorce, getting sued, getting bad public press. There were things that I did and that I could have done much better, that I could have handled much better that made all of these problems come into play at one time. My vanity. My ego. My arrogance. All the things that needed to be met [all] were met over this period of time. They all shook hands and they fought it out. Right now, the good angel is winning and is enjoying music and his family. …I’m really just going through a gratitude period for everything I have. I’m happier because of it.”
Notably, many of Thicke’s songs were written off of personal experiences. The singer once shared a time where he was at a bank during a time when it got robbed, and the traumatic experience birthed his collaboration with Lil’ Wayne called “Shooter”.
During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, he shared, “When I was around 18 years old, I was in the bank getting some cash for a weekend vacation and the bank just got robbed. These two guys came in with masks [and] automatic weapons, and told everyone to get down on the ground. So I ended up writing this whole song about my experience going through a live bank robbery and years later, Lil Wayne ended up doing a verse on it and put it on his album, and won a Grammy on that album actually.”
He continued, “It was a little traumatizing. But once it was over, I was OK with it. It reminded me of the movies. It seemed kind of surreal at the time, but I didn’t really feel threatened as much as I thought [I would]. I thought, ‘Wow this does look like a movie.’ It was probably because they were very young. They seemed like they were like, 19, 18 years old… They looked just like my friends, dressed up in masks.”