Songwriting and producing
Thicke began his songwriting career by writing hits for popular artists. He co-wrote and produced the Color Me Badd hit "Sexual Capacity" in 1996. The Thicke original "When I Get You Alone" was performed by Guy Sebastian, the winner of the first Australian Idol 2003, during the competition and at the Idol grand finale. "When I Get You Alone" was a popular song choice for Sebastian; he put the live idol performance on his four-times platinum debut single "Angels Brought Me Here"; it was the fastest selling single in Australia debuting at #1 and immediately breaking an Aria record.In 2004, Thicke co-wrote "Out With My Baby" with Guy Sebastian, from Sebastian's second album, Beautiful Life. Thicke also produced this single for Sebastian. During this same year, he wrote a song with the singer and actress Raven-Symoné for the album This Is My Time, with the song "Set Me Free".
In April 2007, Thicke co-wrote a song with singer/songwriter Angela Via called "Wrong for You". In 2008, Thicke was enlisted by producer Polow da Don to play piano on the Usher track, "Love in This Club". At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Thicke was recognized for his work on Lil Wayne’s sixth studio album Tha Carter III, as well as Jennifer Hudson’s self titled debut album. Thicke wrote and produced the song "Tie My Hands" on Tha Carter III, which went on to win Best Rap Album. Thicke wrote and produced the song "Giving Myself" for the album Jennifer Hudson, which went on to win Best R&B Album.
In 2007, Thicke appeared on 50 Cent's album Curtis, which was released on September 11, 2007, on a song called "Follow My Lead". The following year, he worked with Ashanti on her fourth studio album, The Declaration, which was released on June 3, 2008. Also that year, Thicke reunited with Lil Wayne and was featured on his album Tha Carter III on a track entitled "Tie My Hands", which Thicke also produced.