Robert Kelly Thomas (born February 14, 1972) is an American rock recording artist and songwriter. He is the primary songwriter and lead singer of the band Matchbox Twenty. Thomas also records and performs as a solo artist. Thomas earned three Grammy awards for co-writing and singing on the Santana triple-platinum hit "Smooth", on the album Supernatural in 1999.
Since 1995, his band has released a string of hit singles to radio including "Push", "3 A.M.", "Real World", "Back 2 Good", "Bent", "If You're Gone", "Mad Season", "Disease", "Unwell", "Bright Lights", and "How Far We've Come". In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Thomas its first Starlight Award, recognizing young songwriters who have already had a lasting influence in the music industry.
His own hits include "Her Diamonds", "Give Me the Melt Down", "This is How a Heart Breaks", "Ever the Same", and "Little Wonders".
- ...Something To Be (2005)
- cradlesong (2009)
- The Great Unknown (2015)
- Chip Tooth Smile (2019)
Tropes relating to his work:
- Adam Westing: Played a sociopathic version of himself in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He was Sinbad's bitch, though he was a delusion created by a severe blow to the head.
- All Take and No Give: "You just take and take and take and take and" in "Give Me the Meltdown".
- Annual Title: "Real World 09".
- Author Appeal: Really really loves African music and African American gospel vocalists, shown on both his albums, part of his Matchbox Twenty work and expressed in the song; "Fire on the Mountain" explicitly.
- Fanservice: Lonely No More features some sexual Female Gaze cinematography and he's wearing some all black cowboy inspired outfit.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
And she says ooh, I can't take no more
- "Her Diamonds". Very upbeat-sounding, but it's about his wife's auto-immune disease and their struggle to deal with it.
Her tears like diamonds on the floor
And her diamonds bring me down
'Cause I can't help her now
She's down in it
She tried her best and now she can't win it
Hard to see them on the ground
Her diamonds falling down
- "Mockingbird" is a peppy, jovial song about a failing relationship and the calm resignation from both sides of a relationship that it just isn't working out between them.
- Lyrical Tic: Is fond of throwing in "hey man", "man" and variations on that feeling and word in his songs.
- Protest Song: "Fire On the Mountain", dedicated to Africa and the issues Africa faces as a continent, and other continents suffering similar problems.
- Shout-Out: Common all over the place on Chip Tooth Smile, including the album cover, which strongly resembles the cover of Born In The USA
- Spiritual Successor: The Latin/pop sound of "Lonely No More" stylistically follows "Smooth," his duet with Santana, to the point that they're even in the same key. Contrary to popular belief, Carlos Santana did not, in fact, co-write it.
- Take That!: "Something to Be" features some intriguing lines about the artistic process:"Play another one of those heartbreak songs
Tell another story how things go wrong And they never get back
My pain is a platinum stack/Take that shit back"
"Had a run with some good lines
- Revisted with Funny:
All fear and alibi
Had a laugh for a good while
And all my tears were crocodile"