"I am back," declares celebrated and respected R&B singer Carl Thomas. "Do you know why?" he asks almost rhetorically. His confidence and smooth, hood yet high-post eloquence betray even the thought of you offering any possible guesses. You know he is ready with the answer. "I am back because this game will tell the truth on you. If you are meant for it, it won't allow you to stray away for too long," he says.

Once a protege of music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs (who signed Thomas after hearing him sing at an open mic night in New York in the mid - 90s), he was the first heartthrob R&B songster on Bad Boy Entertainment. Thomas is best known for his #1 R&B smash "I Wish" from the album So Emotional, which debuted in the Top 20 on Billboard and was a critical and commercial success, selling nearly 2 million copies.

Carl Thomas experienced the type of success with his first song that most artists never touch during their entire careers. "I Wish", with its universal theme lost love, is now a part of a songwriting canon. It's a feat not lost on the singer. "I came out of the box and entered the Great American Songbook with `I Wish'. That's what made it so special. There was no working up to it," he says with more awe than conceit. "I remember being in the studio with Jay-Z (who sampled "I Wish" for his hit 2000 song "I Just Wanna Love You (Give It To Me)" featuring Pharrell) and he told me: `Whatever happens, remember that your debut album is one of the best foundations an R&B artist could ever ask for.' I know now that when people talk about the album they are really referring to their personal connection to it." He is even more excited about the potential of his newest offerings.

While he wants to make timeless and genre-pushing music, his mission this time is even grander in scope. "I am supposed to help and inspire someone coming after me. The word "conquer" is an admittance that you've won. With the battles in my life over the past several years, I definitely consider myself victorious."

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