Since R&B hit singer Joe goes by one name, Joe, this does not make it easy to find Joe online. If you plug "Joe" into Google or YouTube, he gets crowded out.
"It's annoying," Joe says, laughing. "You've got Joe Jonas and a bunch of other Joes as well -- Joe Budden, Fat Joe. All of us get locked into the same circle."
I think he should add an extra "o" to Joe to make his name unique online. He's not onboard with that idea for some reason.
"I would have to do too much explaining."
Joe (last name: Thomas) performs Saturday at Boulder Station.
The last time he was here was New Year's Eve. He and singer Tyrese brought their ladies to Vegas to see Stevie Wonder perform at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Wonder invited Joe and Tyrese onstage to sing.
"That was my idol," Joe, 38, says. "It was pretty cool."
Joe took video just in case Wonder's security guards thought he wasn't supposed to be there.
He was thinking: "If they kick me off, they kick me off -- but I've got my footage!"
Wonder was just as sweet as any fan would hope.
"He's a night guy. He stays up late," Joe says. "We went up and hung with him and family and friends.
"He's a really nice guy. He talks to everybody, he takes pictures with everyone, and signs autographs. He's that kind of guy."
I can second that emotion. I've interviewed Wonder. He couldn't have been nicer. The same goes for megastars Paul McCartney and David Bowie.
"It's weird, right?" Joe says. "You would think they would be the ones with the diva personalities, but they're the most humble, laid-back people in the music industry."
Joe is one of many talents in R&B. He's got a wall of gold and platinum hits, ranging from "Stutter" to "Thank God I Found You" with Mariah Carey, and "Ride Wit U" with G-Unit.
And yet, singers such as Joe occasionally get obscured inside pop culture, while America focuses on more marketed superstars.
Sometimes I get the feeling music listeners think the only soul/R&B singers in the industry are dead Amy Winehouse, who should have gone to rehab, and Adele, always rolling in the deep.
Joe says it's a real obstacle facing R&B singers, that they aren't as promoted or popular as pop music and hip-hop stars.
"It's a tougher market for us," he says.
For one thing, there's no specific, big platform in pop culture for R&B to reach listeners. Joe makes his own marketing platform by touring.
For another thing, hip-hop performers long ago incorporated R&B substance, which makes pure R&B less unique.
"They've taken elements and pages from R&B, and from pop and rock. They're mixing and blending, so they're getting a wide variety of our fans by mixing genres."
Joe says some talented R&B singers get discouraged with the struggle to break through, "and they hang up the towel."
"But other people are still at it," Joe says. "Robin Thicke is still going. Alicia Keyes is still very, very relevant. Well, she's on the pop side, as well. Her audience is very diverse.
"Anthony Hamilton is still a great singer. He's very soulful. And Bruno Mars is a different kind of artist, but he's soulful, as well."
So anyway, Joe just keeps plugging forward. In the next few months, he takes off from his New Jersey home to tour Europe, Africa and Asia, but first comes Vegas.
"Vegas -- we're gonna rip up!"
Doug Elfman's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.