It’s been ten years since Joe hit the music scene with his debut album, Everything. Over the past decade, the singer, songwriter and producer has gained multiple Grammy nominations and has written and produced songs for artists such as Chico DeBarge, Barry White and Tina Turner, The BackStreet Boys and Mariah Carey, to name a few. And with his latest release And Then…, set for release December 16th, it doesn’t appear that Joe plans on slowing down anytime soon.
The son of two preachers, music played an important role in Joe’s life early on. As a musician and singer of his parents’ church, the Georgia native’s early musical influences include gospel greats such as The Winans, Commissioned and Vanessa Bell Armstrong (with whom he’d later also work with). He eventually discovered secular acts like Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat and after playing in local bands, set his sites on a career in music. After graduating high school, Joe bought a one-way ticket to New York to pursue his dream. His melodic and instrument-playing skills would serve him well – it enabled him to produce his own three-song demo, which eventually lead to a label deal and the 1993 release of Everything.
Between 1997 and 2002, Joe would release three more albums. All That I Am (1997), his debut for Jive, and Better Days (2002) sold well, but it was 2000’s My Name Is Joe that catapulted his career to new heights. The album debuted at number-two on the Billboard Top 200 and the singles “I Wanna Know” and the remix for “Stutter” featuring Mystikal both went to the top five on the singles chart (number-one and number-four, respectively).
Though the release of Better Days was met with decent sales, it didn’t compare to My Name Is Joe. “It did fairly good numbers, but I came off of selling three million records with My Name Is Joe.” Every artist knows the fickle side of the industry, but only a few can weather the storm. It’s Joe’s love for creating music that gets him through the downswings of the business. “I just stay in on course and continue to work. Music has to continue to inspire and . I can’t stop. It’s important to me to make my voice and my music heard and felt passionately.”
After taking time to reflect on life’s heavier issues, And Then… allows Joe to get back to the subject he knows best—love. His latest release is perhaps his most sensual and passionate yet. “I’ve always had a few songs that sort of went in that direction,” he explains, “but this album just takes you there with no hesitation. I just really wanted to keep the album fun, not too serious.” The title track is a play-by-play plan for his next sexual escapade set to a mellow groove. But Joe has many clever ways to talk about the same subject.