For Rob Thomas, songwriting is both effortless and hard to control.
Have you ever heard a song on the radio and had it sound instantly familiar? Halfway through the tune, you're humming along with the verse — and, by the end, mouthing a few words of the chorus. For that, you can thank the songwriter. It's a gift to be able to create music that's effortless to enjoy.
Rob Thomas is a Grammy-winning, multimillion-selling singer-songwriter. He made his mark as the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, but has taken time off for solo work. His second solo album, Cradlesong, is due out June 30. It features the song "Her Diamonds," which Thomas wrote for his wife, who has an autoimmune disease.
"You have good days and bad bays. This song was written on a bad day," Thomas says. "My job is to write about how that moment makes me feel more than that actual moment."
Inspiration Is Magic
In an interview with Alison Stewart, Thomas says that songwriting is both effortless and hard to control.
"I think the most magical part is the inspiration," Thomas says. "This is the part you don't have any responsibility over. It's the moment when you're sitting in a room, or in a car, and you hear a melody in your head, and you start kind of humming along, and then you realize that's a melody that doesn't really exist yet. That part, you have no control over — the line between inspiration and craft."
There's something about the word "cradle" that's intimate and comforting. For Thomas, the title Cradlesong encapsulates all these emotions that you have throughout your life.
"It's funny: This isn't a collection of lullabies," Thomas says. "For me, it's a collection of songs that cover everything from life, love, loss, all the way to death."
Supporting Gay Marriage
Thomas recently ran into some political territory via his Twitter page. His support for gay marriage, articulated via a tweet, even led him to write an article in The Huffington Post, which opened with the line, "I'm a straight man with a big gay chip on my shoulder."
"The fact that it was contentious territory was the whole beef of my article, because we're talking about people's individual moral beliefs," Thomas says. "So you kind of knew you were opening up that bag of worms. Any time you do that, people think you are attacking their religion. This is coming from someone who is surrounded by Christians. Most of my friends are Christians, but they're also tolerant of all religions."