Robin Thicke has it going on. Currently basking in the success of his latest album, Love After War, the soul singer is now setting his sights on Hollywood—a realm his wife, actress Paula Patton, knows a thing or two about. Never too busy to lend a hand for a good cause, Robin (son of Growing Pains star Alan Thicke) will be performing at Voices on Point, an event that benefits Point Foundation—the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. We spoke with Robin to find out about his first acting gig, his past days of bullying and how his dad helped him score chicks.
You just wrapped your first film. What was it like?
It was pretty exciting. It’s an independent movie called Abby in the Summer that they’re trying to finish for Sundance. It stars Jamie Pressly and myself. I play an ex-boyfriend. She’s married now; things happen, and then the drama ensues. I started studying about a year ago because I really wanted to make a film. I’m always involved in my videos with editing and that stuff. I felt like you only live once, and I love to create, so I wanted to take some chances.
Did your wife give you any acting tips?
Oh, she sure did. You think I’m not going to get some of that ace-in-the-hole information? You gotta tap the well, you know what I mean? She was extremely helpful. I just hope I don’t make a fool of myself.
How did you become involved with Voices on Point?
VH1 asked me to do it. I’ve done a lot of work with VH1; the people up there have good hearts. They told me about this event and I was like, “Sure, I’m there for you.”
Why was it important for you to become involved?
We all know there are certain things that happen in certain communities to people who are different, and sometimes they get ostracized for being different. Sometimes you need somebody else to step in and lend a hand to make sure everybody’s getting an equal chance to be happy.
Is there a song of yours you’ll be playing that night that speaks to the LGBTQ cause?
There’s one called “Magic,” which is about changing the world around you. You have magic inside of you. We all have it, and you just have to believe that you can bend metal with your mind. I have a few others that are about questioning faith when the world seems like it’s against you. You have to keep your faith and never give up on yourself. Find a way to love yourself through all the turmoil. A lot of my songs are about that, so it won’t be hard to pick a few.
Did you experience any bullying in your childhood?
I was kind of more of the bully. I was a pretty cocky kid. I was never mean or a name-caller. But we don’t know much when we’re 14. We don’t know that things hurt, so it wasn’t until I got a little older that I started to realize what right and wrong is.
Was it hard to be the child of a well-known actor?
Not if you wanted to meet girls, it sure wasn’t. [Laughs] But at times people wouldn’t like you right off the bat. “Oh, he must think he’s something ‘cuz his dad’s on TV.” Even if you didn’t, the stigma comes with you. I would rather have that situation than not have had food to eat or clothes on my back.
You were a mentor on the singing competition Duets. What did you learn from that experience?
It taught me not to take everything so seriously. When you write and produce your own music and you rehearse it and then go out and give it to the people, you can take it very seriously, because it’s your baby. It’s like releasing your babies into the wild to be made fun of and picked on. Doing Duets, I had a different perspective of just taking a song and letting it fly. You gotta let go and be able to put on a good show even if you haven’t practiced a song a hundred times. It made me get over myself a lot and just enjoy the entertainment part instead of the artist part.
What were some of the challenges you faced early on?
I was a fully paid professional musician by the time I was 16. I was very lucky. I was supporting myself the last couple years of high school. I was a success as a writer/producer, but the struggle for me was that I had a record deal when I was 16 and then six years later, I still hadn’t put out an album. I was afraid of it not being a big success. I was 22, and my life’s mission was to be a singer and put music out, and I hadn’t done it. So I devoted all my time to my own music, and when I was 23, I finally put out an album. It got all this critical acclaim, but it didn’t sell any records. So all my fears came true. That hit hard. I had a couple years that were really tough. I wrote all the songs about that pain I was going through for The Evolution of Robin Thicke. That was the album that ended up being my big success. It was filled with all these songs of insecurity, vulnerability and fear, and it ended up connecting with a lot of people.
How did you meet your wife?
We met when we were 16 at a club where teenagers can dance during the summer.
Have you been together all this time?
She went to college for a couple of years. But then when she came back from college, we’ve been together ever since.
Is there talk about working together on a film?
Yeah, but we don’t want to seem annoying to people. “You guys do everything together.” We’ve done a few videos together, we did the Rémy Martin commercial together. I think we’ll put it off for a while. But if something really cool and amazing came up… If we could do, like, a Mr. & Mrs. Smith—hell yeah, I would do it in a heartbeat.
How has having a child changed your life and career?
It just changes everything. It changes most things for the better. It can be hard on the relationship. And it can be hard on your sleep habits. [Laughs] But selfishly, nothing has ever loved me this much before. When he sees Dada and he wants Dada to hold him, there’s just nothing that you could ever experience like that in your life. Nobody’s ever needed me this bad. He creeps into a lot of songs. In almost every song, one line is slightly adjusted because he creeps right into my soul and what’s important to me. Certain songs I’ve written completely about him. He’s a part of my soul now, so he’s going to be in everything I do.
What’s up next for you?
I’ve been working on an album, I did Duets, I did the movie, now I have a TV show I’m going to be doing later this year. And I have shows every weekend, so this is probably about as busy as I’ve ever been in my life. I’m a little tired, but I’m very grateful for all the opportunities.
Voices On Point takes place Sept. 15 at the Wiltern.