Last week, we celebrated America’s birthday, and the festivities remained in full swing for one of the hardest working —and talented— singers in R&B music, Joe. In fact, the 40-year-old had quite a week, one that saw him release a brand new album (Doubleback: Evolution Of R&B) AND celebrate a milestone birthday. With 20 years of music-making success under his belt, Joe has a lot to be happy about these days.
I attended Joe’s performance at B.B. Kings back on June 28 and, before the gig even began, had a “moment” with a fanatic fan who thought I was encroaching on her prime placement in front of the stage, in full view of Joe. Once Joe hit the stage it was all love, though, and I went from eavesdropping on her talking to her girls about how I was up in her space (LOL + SMH) to how great Joe looked. And he did, decked out in black dress pants, white shirt and bowtie, and electric blue jacket. Oh, and let’s not forget the sunglasses.
As the Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and musician spent the following hour giving his fans the songs that have illuminated his impressive career thus far, I listened as my fanatic fan friend punctuated Joe’s performance with words of wonderment and love (“He looks the same!”, “He has not changed… He sounds just like on his records!”, “He sounds great!”). Along with the sold-out crowd, I watched Joe perform the songs that have punctuated his career and garnered him scores of fans and followers throughout the years, tracks like “Where You At,” “Let’s Stay Home Tonight,” “If I Was Your Man,” new single “I’d Rather Have A Love,” and more. But it was when Joe broke out into an impromptu rendition of “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs that I realized as much as Joe appreciates his fans, he is also a fan of all types of music. It is this appreciation that fuels his passion and powers his purpose. I got a chance to interview Joe a few days after his show, and learned a bit more about the man and his music.