Pinching myself as I read the email confirming my phone interview with a true legend in the soul music industry proved a proud moment of my journalistic career. After months of research, requests and patience the waiting paid off and I was finally granted a conversation with the always real and uber smooth singer, songwriter and producing superstar Anthony Hamilton.
Anthony Cornelius Hamilton is the quintessential soul star, hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina and bearing the gift of an arresting voice that transcends the daily humdrum of reality, lifting the spirit to levels of pure positivity. He has been mastering his craft for close onto 15 years now, bursting on to the scene appearing on hip hop outfit Nappy Roots 2002 smash hit single “ Po Folks”, where the world got its taste of the Hamilton effect and it has been forward motion ever since. His journey in the early days began singing in his local church choir as a young boy, to eventually landing in New York City and signing his first record deal with Uptown Records in 1999. From there Hamilton went on to pen the hit “U Know What’s Up” for Donnell Jones and in 2000 went in tour as a backup singer for fellow soul peer D-Angelo on his Voodoo US tour. Releasing his debut album ‘Comin From Where I’m From’ in 2003 spawning two US chart hits ‘“Comin From Where I’m From” and “Charlene”, Anthony Hamilton has secured a niche for himself that no other soul singer of this decade has ever come close to.
With an impressive musical career that he credits to ‘his gift of special healing qualities through song’, Hamilton has gone on to be a significant contributor to the world of soul, with seven studio albums under his belt, a string of hit singles, collaborations with everyone from Jill Scott to NAS and exclusive music created for award nominated movies such as “American Gangster” and “Django Unchained”, it is easy to see just why he remains a firm favourite with soul fans the world over. As we wait with baited breath in Australia for our time to witness Anthony Hamilton LIVE for the first time at the upcoming SoulFest Music Festival in October of this year, he too shares enthusiasm and excitement about visiting the land down under soon. We are in for a glorious treat as we prepare to hear, see and indulge in the real Anthony Hamilton experience.
This interview was one that put my soul at ease and allowed for a comfortable, informative and humorous conversation to ensure from a man who walks his truth. Not one for pomp and ceremony and sans the superstar antics of the world he so effortlessly meanders, Anthony Hamilton is a person who enjoys the art of life, its joy and pain, its blessing and lessons and he makes sure his music delivers the same raw and honest message as the life it replicates. Anthony Hamilton is a healer of the spirit and is proud of the god given talent his voice possesses. He uses the vehicle of song to reach the heart of his fans on a global scale yet always remains true to himself and positive in the message he relays whether it be through song, performance or conversation on a real level. Here’s to an artist, a performer, a father and a man who continues to walk in truth and positivity, using his talents for good and creating music that enriches the soul. Thank you Mr Hamilton!
So great to talk to you Anthony, this has been an interview I have sought and waited for for many years so thank you for your time today. How are you?
Thank you Maxine, I’m doing great thank you, life is treating me well. Enjoying doing what ‘m doing.
Extremely excited to know that you will be gracing us with your presence really soon coming to Australia for Soul Fest in Oct this year!! That is huge for our soul community and music fans down here ….. this will be your first trip to Australia no doubt? How are you feeling about this festival and what are your expectations / understanding of Australia right now?
Well I’ve heard from some of my peers and my friends that have been down to Australia come back and tell me how amazing and beautiful it is down there and that I am going to be blown away by the fans down there and the love they show. So I’m excited you know, to let them see me. I’m such a raw performer you know, no prima donna or star attitude here , just me performing and doing what I love so I am excited for my fans to see and feel that! I am so humbled by the opportunity to be able to come to Australia and hopefully this won’t be my last trip.
You have been in the industry for many years Anthony, honing your craft from a young age singing in church choir back in your hometown of Charlotte North Carolina. From there to growing up, music was key, but what was it about the art of singing that made you want to pursue the path you did?
I allow people to see just how real and raw my life experiences were and still are and I make no apologies for that, so to me it’s the ability to speak on subjects and topics that people can identify with. It’s that openness about singing and the connections made through song that keep me doing what I do. I don’t camouflage life and I hope that my fans see this and feel ok to just be who they are and experience life for what it is. It was never about me trying to be the sexy man singing love songs or nothing like that (laughs) but just about being who I am. I think people can see that I am comfortable in my own skin and comfortable with my faults that it makes it okay for them to be transparent too. All of my fans I feel rally for me and I appreciate them so much.
You have given the soul music world a great gift with your amazing vocals and tone Anthony and for that we thank you. Your music is like an elixir that soothes away pain and hurt and your voice heals and lifts the soul. How would you best describe who Anthony Hamilton is, what makes you so unique and what soul music means to you?
Wow thank you Maxine. I think I am a healer you know. I think God put a special talent in my voice and in my soul and it makes me a healing person. I have a lot of wisdom, even though I don’t always use it (laughs) but I have a lot of spiritual wisdom and I like to think I make people feel that they can do whatever they put their minds to, they can do it. I am a ‘matter of fact’ guy, contrary to what you may hear me sing about at times, I am a very funny guy and I find myself a natural type of everyday cat really.
Your previous albums and collaborations with everyone from Nappy Roots, D’Angelo, Jadakiss, Jill Scott and more have secured you as a firm favourite in the hip hop/ soul industry. What do you believe are the ingredients to maintaining longevity, consistency and relevance in the music industry today to sustain a successful career as you have?
I think believing in yourself and loving yourself enough makes you relevant, and once you are relevant to yourself that’s when everybody else if going to see your relevance, that’s very important. You gotta walk it and wear it and be consistent in your own space, you know, so people always know what they are going to get with you. Kind of like that feeling of “I loved it then and I love it now”. Just keep giving your fans what they love and having a voice that is unique to you. You can’t just find a voice any and everywhere, it’s something that is made just for you. If I remain doing Anthony Hamilton it will always be just Anthony Hamilton. Oh and I smell good too (laughs). I smell absolutely wonderful. It’s called me and I wear it every day (laughs)
OMG you are so funny. You know I thought that too – every time I see a picture of you I’m like “Anthony Hamilton always looks so fresh, like his smell is clean, breath fresh, outfit sharp – the whole package (laughs) – you took the words out of my mouth!
(laughs) Mmmmm you know it lady, I’m gonna end up staying down in Australia now you better stop playing (laughing).
What are you currently working on musically that you can share with us?
Currently I’m working on a new Anthony Hamilton album and I’m trying to get that completed. I’m also producing a new Hip Hop artist by the name of Ed D Kane and that’s going good, you know just enjoying being on the production side of the desk for a change and I’m loving it!
What would you say is the one thing that you cannot live without and why?
Love – because at the end of the day love makes you do great things, if you don’t have love then nothing else matters. Lack of love will have you not even wanting to live life so for me it would have to be love….. and water (sings) “I get thirsty sometimes, mmmmm I get thirsty sometimes” …… so yeah Love and Water!
For more information visit: www.anthonyhamilton.com
Soul Fest Tickets Available at: www.soulfest.com.au
Hip Hop and Beyond,