Interview: Anthony Hamilton
The seventh studio album from Anthony Hamilton sold over 63,000 copies in its first week of release and judging by the crowd's response whilst recently on tour, album sales are bound to carry on rising. The Grammy-winning soul star from North Carolina, known for classic tracks such as 'Comin' From Where I’m From' and 'Charlene', recently sat down with The Wrap Up's Lori Lane to discuss his 'Back To Love' album, life on tour, and what inspires him to create the amazing music that he makes.
The Wrap Up: Welcome to London, Anthony, and congratulations on the success of your most recent album, ‘Back To Love’. What made you decide to put together a whole album based on love?
Anthony Hamilton: Thank you very much. Well, ‘Back To Love’ is a way of letting people know that sometimes you get caught up in trying to be successful in school or in your social life and it’s a reminder not to forget that each day people are getting older. Nobody is promised tomorrow, so we should make sure that we spend quality time with quality people.
TWU: Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Anthony Hamilton: There are a few I like. ‘Life Has A Way’ is one, ‘Who’s Loving You Now’ and ‘The Best Of Me’ are also some of my favourites. I like the title track, ‘Back To Love’, as well because it sets up the album nicely. I have my days when I love different tracks, though. ‘Never Let Go’ with Keri Hilson is another one.
TWU: A lot of favourites there! Let’s talk about your album track, ‘Woo’. How did the collaboration with you and the legendary Babyface come about?
Anthony Hamilton: I’ve wanted to work with Babyface for some time and I suggested it to my team who went out and made it happen. We met up and he said that he was a fan, as he likes what I bring to the table. I went to his house in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and there were guys writing, talking, being boys and we came up with some interesting things. We came up with the album tracks ‘Woo’, ‘Pray For Me’ and ‘Mad’ – which is another one of my favourites. We really had a great time.
TWU: Do you think you will work with him again in the future?
Anthony Hamilton: Of course! We actually wrote thirteen songs in three days. We will probably put the rest of them on the next project.
TWU: Your last album, ‘The Point of it All’, came out in 2008. What have you been doing since that time?
Anthony Hamilton: I’ve been spending time with my family, but have also been doing a lot of touring really heavily in the States. I also toured Europe, Japan and South Africa in that time too.
TWU: So, how has your European tour been going? The feedback has been great...
Anthony Hamilton: When the band and I come here, we really appreciate people coming out to see us and we never take it for granted. We’re not here to showboat, we’re just here to enjoy the music, have a good time and it has been coming across well. The fans have really loved it. We’re having a great time, we give a lot and we’re getting the right feedback.
TWU: Have any nights stood out for you so far?
Anthony Hamilton: Wow! Well, Sweden was nice, so was Stockholm. Rotterdam was really good, so was Paris. Actually, not one night has had a weak crowd.
TWU: Do you enjoy being on the road?
Anthony Hamilton: Yes, I enjoy touring. I enjoy recording the music, I enjoy dreaming it and I enjoy performing it. I also definitely enjoy selling it, because I like to eat (laughs).
TWU: (Laughs) Does touring ever get repetitive for you?
Anthony Hamilton: Sometimes you want to switch up songs. You do a tour and put together what you want and you love it, but then on some days you’re like, ‘You know, I feel like doing this song tonight’. Occasionally, I throw in a different song just to shake it up a bit. There have also been times where the crowd have requested a certain song which isn’t on the list, but we usually do it for them anyway.
TWU: It seems that there is a genuine demand for real music to come back, rather than passing fads. What do you think about that?
Anthony Hamilton: I think it’s a great time to put out quality work and it will speak for itself. You don’t have to work so hard at being successful at it, because it is something that people want, so when they want it and it is good then they’re going to get it and continue to give it to other people. You will become successful for something good, not just because your butt cheeks are hanging out.
TWU: (Laughs) Do you keep up to date with current trends and are there any new artists who you’re feeling right now?
Anthony Hamilton: I’m with everything. I love listening to music so I don’t cut myself off to anything. There are some new artists that are very talented. I like Luke James, he’s very good. Diggy Simmons is talented. He just came out of nowhere! I’m diggin’ him. I also love Adele, she is incredible. She is selling records like the old school, with the songs that she chooses. I love her honesty and delivery.
TWU: What advice would you give to the up-and-coming musicians out there?
Anthony Hamilton: To really pay attention to what you put out there. Your first impression could be your last! Make sure you represent something that you can represent for years, not just a trend. Be sure it’s something that you want to do, learn the business and have fun with it. Oh, and drink lots of water.
TWU: Besides music, what keeps you inspired?
Anthony Hamilton: Day-to-day life! Looking at family members, looking at people’s lives, walking by and seeing somebody homeless, seeing someone rich and then seeing someone who is barely making it – all of that stuff has an effect on me. It’s important that I write about these things in my music, so that I can try and heal people as much as I can.
Anthony Hamilton’s new album, ‘Back To Love’, is out now.
Stay up to date with Anthony Hamilton on Twitter – www.twitter.com/HamiltonAnthony
Words: Lori Lane (@Gleaming_Gem)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)