Matchbox Twenty Frontman
“Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to tell stories, but I never had the patience to sit down at a typewriter and write short stories or anything like that. I started writing songs as a way of communicating ideas the best way I could.” Rob Thomas
Primary songwriter and lead singer of the band “Matchbox Twenty,” Rob Thomas won three Grammy Awards for his duet with Santana on the song “Smooth” (1999), which he also co-wrote. He released one solo album, "…Something to Be" (2005), which became the U.S. Billboard 200 #1 album the first week of its release. It spawned the smash hit singles "Lonely No More," "This Is How a Heart Breaks," "Ever the Same," and "Streetcorner Symphony," which would later be used by ABC as its promotional ad for its Thursday night lineup of "Ugly Betty," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Six Degrees." He also contributed a song titled "Little Wonders" (2007) to the "Meet the Robinsons" soundtrack.
Thomas, who has also written songs for Willie Nelson, Marc Anthony, and Mick Jagger, was inducted into the South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2001, becoming the youngest-ever member of the Hall of Fame, and was awarded the first Starlight Award, which is given to young songwriters who have made a lasting impact in the music industry, by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
The 5' 9" musician has been married to model Marisol Maldonado since 1999. He has one son from a previous relationship.
Childhood and Family:
Born in a U.S. military base in Landstuhl, West Germany, on February 14, 1972, Robert Kelly Thomas spent most of his time shuttling between his grandmother in South Carolina and his mother in Florida following his parents' divorce. After dropping out of high school, 17-year-old Rob drifted around the southeast.
On October 2, 1999, Thomas married model Marisol Maldonado and they now reside in the state of New York. Thomas has a son named Maison Avery William Thomas (born on July 10, 1998) from a previous relationship.
“I am sports-retarded and I don't know anything about cars. But my wife laughs because I can pick out a Kate Spade bag, no problem." Rob Thomas
Thomas, who has two dogs, is a committed animal lover and supports animal charities. Alongside his wife, he has established the Sidewalk Angels Foundation, a non-profit organization created to aid those in need in and around America’s big cities by partnering with various charities to assist people who get lost in the system, those who cannot afford medical care, and animals that have been abandoned or abused. The sales of his Christmas CD, “A New York Christmas” (2002), benefited Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. The CD was reissued for Christmas 2003 with the single’s proceeds given to Pets Alive, a no-kill animal shelter in Middletown, New York. Thomas has also worked on fund raising for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“I've come to the conclusion that there are two types of people in life: Those who have been to Graceland and those who have not. I am thankful to say that I am one of those people who has!” Rob Thomas
After dropping out of high school and leaving his difficult home life, 17-year-old Rob Thomas drifted around the southeast. He eventually settled in Orlando, Florida, and enjoyed some local success as the lead vocalist for “Tabitha's Secret” around 1993. He and drummer Paul Doucette, as well as bassist Brian Yale, later left the group and formed a rock band called “Matchbox 20” after adding two new guitarists.
In 1996, they released their highly successful debut album, "Yourself or Someone Like You," on October 1, 1996. The album that contained the hit singles "Long Day," "Push," "3 A.M.," "Real World," "Back 2 Good" and "Girl Like That," sold more than 12 million copies in the U.S. alone and earned diamond status. It also went multi-platinum in Canada and Australia.
In 1999, Thomas collaborated with Itaal Shur on a song called "Smooth" for Carlos Santana's comeback album, "Supernatural." "Smooth" became the album's lead single and was an instant hit. It earned Thomas three Grammys, one for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
After "Matchbox 20" changed their name to "Matchbox Twenty," the band released their sophomore album, "Mad Season," on May 23, 2000. The album spawned the singles "Bent," "If You're Gone," "Mad Season," "Angry" and "Last Beautiful Girl" and was certified quadruple-platinum in October 2001. Also in 2001, Thomas was inducted into the South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
"More Than You Think You Are," the Matchbox Twenty's third album, hit the music stores on November 12, 2002. The album that featured a wide variety of alternative rock sounds in its singles "Disease," "Unwell," "Bright Lights," "Downfall" and "All I Need" had a large radio presence and received a large amount of critical praise although it was not as commercially successful as the band's two earlier efforts.
"Matchbox Twenty has truly become its own entity and we really wanted to let it grow and evolve on this record. When we get together, we combine all our talents into one incredible whole. That's the beauty of this band - we make a beautiful noise together." Rob Thomas (on the 2003 album “More Than You Think You Are”)
During this time, Thomas also released his first single as a solo artist, "A New York Christmas," in 2002 with the proceeds being donated to the Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York. When the single was re-released on November 18, 2003, the proceeds went to Pets Alive, a no-kill animal shelter in Middletown, New York. In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Thomas the first Starlight Award, which is given to young songwriters who have made a lasting impact on the music industry.
Matchbox Twenty released a small album including only six songs and a live concert DVD titled "Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty," in 2004.
"It was really intense. When it was over we knew we were going to be friends no matter what happened to the band." Rob Thomas
In 2005, when the group was on hiatus to allow members to pursue side projects, Thomas released the solo album “…Something to Be,” which became the U.S. Billboard 200 #1 album during the first week of its release, knocking out Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi." The album spun off the smash hit singles "Lonely No More," "This Is How a Heart Breaks," "Ever the Same" and "Streetcorner Symphony," which would later be used by ABC as a promotional for its Thursday night lineup of "Ugly Betty," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Six Degrees."
Thomas subsequently appeared at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia and on the September 10, 2005, "MTV Katrina Relief Concert." He also began his first solo tour backed by a band of talented musicians in early October 2005 and toured with Jewel and Toby Lightman in the summer of 2006.
In January 2007, Thomas released the single "Little Wonders," for the soundtrack to the Disney animated feature “Meet the Robinsons.” He was also featured on the June 14, 2007, episode of the long-running PBS series “Soundstage.”
Around this time, Rob was reunited with Matchbox Twenty to release the album “Exile on Mainstream.” Thomas is expected to release his second studio album sometime in 2008.
Grammy: Record of the Year, “Smooth,” 1999
Grammy: Song of the Year, “Smooth,” 1999
Grammy: Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, “Smooth,” 1999