Joe has quietly been one of the most consistent R&B performers of the last 15 years. The Georgia-born singer-songwriter is prepping his upcoming album, Bridges, for release on June 23, and he spoke to rolling out about exactly what has kept him in the game for so long and how he feels about the current state of R&B music.
“I’ve never put out lyrics that were disrespectful to women, I never put anything out that was too edgy,” Joe says, in regard to his musical approach. “I’m pretty consistent. And I’m still humble and loyal and committed to what I do.”
Bridges serves as reminder of everything that Joe does well, and he believes that fans are in desperate need of more “traditional” R&B sounds and themes.
“This project says to core R&B fans that I’m here and I got y’all back,” he shares. “I’m giving you music that represents everything that I’m doing. I went back and took some courses in old school, so to speak — studying Marvin Gaye and Earth Wind & Fire and The Commodores — even New Edition. I took it even further back to the ’50s and ’60s. I got something that’s so classic that, in my mind, I call it ‘The Great Gatsby’ of R&B. It’s a song called ‘Sex Is a Weapon’ and it’s like going back to the ’50s era.
“It’s all live musicians and I play on this album and it’s just trying to give people that energy, give people what we fell in love with,” Joe explains. “They have no artist that represents for R&B. The young R&B artists are trying to go pop or go hip-hop.
“Lyrically, we’re not singing about love anymore. They’re not trying to romance the ladies and make [them] feel special anymore,” he continues. “You can sing about the world … but I don’t think we talk about love. We’re trying to be too cool, we’ve got too much swag. We’re trying to be too hip-hop.”