Joseph Lewis Thomas is a native of Cuthbert, Georgia and later lived in Opelika, Alabama. The son of two preachers, Joe spent much time in church singing, playing guitar, and even directing the choir. He was influenced in his early career by gospel performers such as The Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Joe also grew to love soul legends such Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as well as contemporary stars such as Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat.
After high school, Joe continued to sing and write music while working at occasional temporary jobs. He moved hoping to New Jersey, hoping to make connections in the music industry. While working at a gospel record store, he met producer Vincent Herbert and recorded a three-song demo tape.
He signed to Polygram/Mercury and in 1993 released his album debut, Everything. This album produced a minor hit. Joe also had a song called "All the Things" that appeared on the soundtrack to the Wayans Brothers film Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.
Joe then signed to Jive Records for his 1997 album, All That I Am. This proved to be his breakthrough album, reaching #13 on the Billboard 200 chart, and number 4 on the US Billboard R&B chart.
The hit singles from this album included the Top 5 R&B/Top 20 pop hit "All the Things Your Man Won't Do," the Top 5 R&B/Top 40 pop hit "Don't Wanna Be a Player," and "The Love Scene." "Don't Wanna Be a Player," was featured on the Booty Call soundtrack. All That I Am eventually went platinum in the U.S.
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Joe remixed a duet by Barry White and Tina Turner called "Never in Your Dreams" and wrote and produced debut albums by Ideal and Déjà Groove in the late 1990s. Joe also sang on the remix of Big Punisher's "Still Not a Player."
Joe sang the background vocals on Brandy's track "Angel in Disguise" on her sophomore 1998 album, Never Say Never.
Joe appeared on the track "Thank God I Found You" with Mariah Carey which appeared on her Rainbow album. This song was released as the second single and came a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This track also became a hit internationally, helping to raise Joe's profile in other countries.
In April 2000, Joe released his third album, My Name Is Joe, which became his most successful album to date, reaching the top of the R&B album chart and #2 on the Billboard 200, eventually selling more than three million copies. It featured the Top 5 R&B and pop hit lead single "I Wanna Know," which also reached the Top 40 in the UK and Australia.
The third single, the Roy "Royalty" Hamilton & Teddy Riley-produced "Stutter," was #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart, and part of the Top 10 in the UK, and top 20 in Australia.
Joe's The Better Days album was released in 2001, reaching #32 on the Billboard 200 and #4 on the R&B chart. It featured two singles, "Lets Stay Home Tonight," and "What If A Woman."
In 2002, Joe did another collaboration with Mariah Carey on the remix version of her first single "Through the Rain" from her album Charmbracelet.
Joe recruited high profile guests for the And Then ... album released in late 2003. R. Kelly wrote the track "More and More." The album included the Top 20 R&B hit "More and More," "Ride Wit U," and "Priceless." And Then ... reached #26 on the US album chart and #4 on the R&B chart.
Joe's sixth album, Ain't Nothin' Like Me, featured guest appearances by Nas, Fabolous, Papoose, Young Buck and Tony Yayo; and was released on April 24, 2007.
Joe released Joe Thomas, New Man independently on September 23, 2008, and his second independent album, titled Signature, was released on July 14, 2009 in Japan and the US. It was named iTunes Best R&B album of 2009. In 2010, Joe collaborated with Keith Sweat featuring on the song entitled, "Test Drive."
In 2011 he released the single, "Closer," a soulful-gospel number, which is featured on the T.D. Jakes Sacred Love Songs II Compilation album. A new album, The Good, The Bad, The Sexy will be available in August 2011, and another due late in 2011.