Robin Thicke bares his soul in his new album titled "Paula" . . . as in Paula Patton, the wife who left him, and whom he's now publicly trying to win back with his new album's every song. It's a provocative approach, to say the least, which he recently defended to our Anthony Mason:
The top-selling single of last year, "Blurred Lines," was Robin Thicke's long-awaited breakthrough song.
"I had hit songs on R&B and soul radio, but that was my first pop hit," he said.
"Did it feel different?" Mason asked.
"Oh, yeah!" Thicke laughed.
It made the 37-year-old soul singer an international star. But the success that previously had eluded him seemed to overwhelm him. His life blew up -- and his marriage fell apart: "It's been a very humbling year, to say the least."
Thicke's response has been to rush out a new record, an album he's named for his estranged wife, Paula Patton. It's a 14-song apology in which he begs her to come back.
Mason asked, "Did you have any hesitation about effectively doing it in public?"
"I am right now!"
"Some people are going to say that you're, in effect, exploiting the situation, to sell records."
"And what do you say to that."
"My music is my life. I have no choice but to connect the two."
"I'm sure you were aware to some degree that you were making yourself an easy target," said Mason.
"Yeah. Yeah. But I should be. I don't know what her album would be if she made one about me. I'm sure it would go much differently right now."
"Would you want to hear that album?"
"I don't think so," he laughed.
Robin Thicke grew up in a Hollywood family. The son of singer and soap opera star Gloria Loring and actor Alan Thicke, who starred in the TV series "Growing Pains," Robin taught himself piano when he was 11 years old. He was only 14 when you got a deal. "Yes, when I was 14 Brian McKnight heard my demo tape and said, "That's a white kid singing?'"
By 16 he was signed to Interscope Records, and soon writing songs for other artists like Usher and Christina Aguilera. But when he put out his first solo album in 2002, it bombed.
"I was devastated," he said. "That's why my second album, 'The Evolution of Robin Thicke,' was really all about trying to believe in myself and find some spirituality and self-love without the accolades and the record sales."
That record produced his first hit song, "Lost Without U." The video for it featured his then-new wife, Paula Patton.
They go way back: they'd met at age 14, at a teenage nightclub, "where there's no alcohol but you can dance in the summertime," said Thicke.
"What was the connection?" Mason asked.
"She was just a very creative, loving, spiritual, intelligent woman."