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With his quietly soulful delivery, B. Thomas has one of the most distinctive voices ever to grace radio. There's just no mistaking that voice. The five-time Grammy winner has a unique career in which he's seen great success not only with pop audiences, but with country fans and Christian-music listeners. He'll talk about his long career during a special performance on Sunday, March 3, in which he'll perform stripped-down versions of hits and discuss some of the stories behind them.
At 76, his voice sounds remarkably unchanged; so does his enthusiasm for music. He called to discuss that — and a lot more — during a recent chat from his home in Arlington, Texas. But if you asked me if I liked to travel, well, the travel is getting to be a little more problematic. I have it pretty easy. But, honestly, they pay me to travel. The rest of it I would do for nothing.
A: Well, I need to do music. But in all kinds of professions, music especially, you need to have a burning desire. I have that. If I take off for a long period of time, I kind of lose my peace of mind. I get real antsy, and I need to get back out and perform. A: Laughing I do! I go in there on a regular basis and mess with a guitar and sing a little bit. Q: What do you owe your voice to?
You still sound like you did in your 30s. Then I would do whatever gospel thing I wanted to do in the context of what I would normally do. Q: I remember the problems you had with churches, when people would boo if you'd sing your secular material. Q: Is it hard to have a career like yours? A: It has presented its problems. People need to kind of buttonhole you or put a label on you. They feel better about you then.
I was in a band, and we would just copy those songs on the chart. That was our playlist. And, of course, they played all genres, so I grew up always being able to do that. Q: But even though you do all those things, it always sounds like B. Nobody else has your sound. Was that there from the beginning? A: It was, but it developed over the years. I was in a band for eight years before I had my first hit record.
That was an invaluable situation. We played for dances, out in the boondocks, and so my style, whatever it was, kind of developed. What do you attribute that to?
She had just turned 18 in when we got marriedbut we never gave up on each other. But the married life is a beautiful life. Gloria has great character and has been a wonderful partner. Q: Off-topic: I saw in one of your photos that you have tattoos. I just picked them up on the road here and there. A: No, not really. I am getting older; it's inevitable my throat is aging as well. Maybe there will come a time at some point, but you know as long as I'm really having fun and I still do have a major motivation to do it, I just want to do it. My bass player has been with me 43 years, and I've got a great band.
If it gets to where I'm not pleasing myself or living up to a certain standard, I'll fade out, like all the other guys. I don't think I'd have a major retirement or make a big to-do about it; I'd just fade away. But I think I've got a lot of time.
It was an honor and a blessing. When I'm performing them, I've got a lot of memories tied up in them. And the gospel world was Still lookin for a bj good to me, and I'm proud of those songs. A: That's special, too. That's all about me and Gloria, so it means a lot. A: I was really lucky in those days.
I would get together with the songwriters and talk about what was going on, and most of the time they would write songs with ideas we had talked about. I was lucky to have a group of writers in Atlanta, Memphis and New York to purposefully write material for me.
I am actually going to start kick-starting my songwriting. That's the one area I have probably underachieved, and I'm going to go and start working on it. Reach the reporter at randy. Subscribe to azcentral. What: The five-time Grammy winner discusses his life and career with Tim Wright and performs some of his greatest hits. Where: Community of Grace, W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Peoria. Details:boldrecklessgrace. Note: The performance will be live-streamed at facebook.
Facebook Twitter. How 5-time Grammy winner B. Thomas came to have a unique relationship with a Peoria church. Randy Cordova The Republic azcentral. Share your feedback to help improve our site!Still lookin for a bj
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