Music Career of R&B Artist Joe

Grammy winner got his start in gospel

Joe & Ashanti perform at L’Olympia in Paris
Redferns / Getty Images

Joseph Lewis Thomas, commonly known as Joe, is an American R&B singer, songwriter and record producer. In 2001, he was named the best R&B male artist at the BET Awards, and won the Grammy Awards for best R&B album in 2001 for "My Name is Joe" and in 2003 for "Better Days."

"I feel like if you have a queen, you should treat her like a queen. I feel she doesn't deserve anything less than that. If you make a promise for forever, you should keep it and hold up to it." — Joe

Early Years

Joe Thomas was born on July 5, 1973, in Columbus, Georgia. He was one of five children and grew up in an environment filled with gospel music; both his parents were evangelical ministers. The Thomas family moved to Alabama when Joe was two and he grew up as an active member of the church and sang in the choir, played guitar and eventually directed the choir. In the late 1980s, he started playing in local bands. He graduated from Opelika High School in Opelika, Alabama, in 1990.

His Breakthrough

While working in a gospel music store in New Jersey and singing in a church, Joe met producer Vincent Herbert and recorded a three-track demo. Joe released his debut album, "Everything," in 1993. It spawned a number of hit singles, including the No. 10 R&B hit "I'm in Luv."

In 1997, Joe signed with Jive Records and released, "All That I Am," which sold more than one million copies in the U.S. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 album charts and No. 4 on the R&B charts. 

Career Milestones

Joe released his fourth album, "My Name is Joe," in 2000. It became his most successful album, reaching No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It eventually sold over three million copies.

In 2001, his " Better Days" album was released, reaching No. 4 on the R&B charts.

His " And Then ..." album came out in late 2003; it reached No. 26 on the U.S. album charts and No. 4 on the R&B charts.

Producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Underdogs, Cool & Dre, Tim & Bob and Bryan Michael Cox worked with Joe on his sixth album, "Ain't Nothing Like Me," which was released in April 2007.

Split From Jive Records

In 2008, Joe left Jive Records and claimed that R. Kelly had been sabotaging his career while they were labelmates.

"R. Kelly was very instrumental in making a lot of decisions when it came to my records being played on the radio," Joe told Lee Bailey, founder of the Electronic Urban Report, an urban entertainment news organization. "He would make a call to the radio station or to the label and say, 'Hey, this Joe record is too hot right now. Y'all need to pull that back.' And they would oblige."

Later Record Deals

Eventually, Joe signed with Kedar Massenburg's Kedar Entertainment and released several albums. "Joe Thomas, New Man" was released in September 2008, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Next came "Signature" an album of ballads released in July 2009, which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

"The Good, the Bad, the Sexy" released in October 2011 debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. In July 2013, "Doubleback: Evolution of R&B" featuring collaborations with singer Fantasia and rappers Fat Joe and debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

In 2014, Joe signed a new deal with BMG Rights Management. He released his 11th album "Bridges." The first single released from the album was "Love & Sex Pt. 2", a duet with singer Kelly Rowland. His 12th album, "My Name Is Joe Thomas," came out in November 2016. The album debuted at No. 2 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart.


  • My Name is Joe Thomas (2016)
  • Bridges (2014)
  • Doubleback: Evolution of R&B (2013)
  • The Good, The Bad, The Sexy (2011)
  • Signature (2009)
  • Joe Thomas, New Man (2008)
  • Ain't Nothin' Like Me (2007)
  • And Then... (2003)
  • Better Days (2001)
  • My Name Is Joe (2000)
  • All That I Am (1997)
  • Everything (1993)