Anthony Hamilton

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Anthony Hamilton

October 2014 marks the first time that renowned RnB singer Anthony Hamilton will be coming to Australia. On the line-up for the inaugural Soulfest, which includes a stellar line-up of Maxwell, D’Angelo, Common, Aloe Blacc, Mos Def and Angie Stone to name but just a few, Hamilton is excited as ever to grace our shores and take the stage. “Man! I’m reeling, let’s hit it! My first time in Australia, I want to do everything. It’s exciting that I’m playing on the festival bill and I hope the crowds come out and can bring the party … It’d be cool to pat a koala if I get the opportunity to.”
Over the course of Hamilton’s twenty-year esteemed career, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business including Buddy Guy, Santana and Al Green. Throughout each of seven studio albums, the process of writing and recording hasn’t changed all that much. With his 2011 release Back to Love, Hamilton wanted the vibe and sound of the songs to feel right, and looking back he feels he definitely achieved that with this record. “One of the main things going into this record is I wanted everybody to remember what love is and what it feels like to be in love. I think I was able to achieve that and you can hear that as the album progresses, I feel. I walk into the studio and I understand the music and the music understands me. It’s like we’ve got a mutual agreement.”
Born into music, there was no second option for Hamilton. With a lineage of singing, “from the time I was a baby I knew I was going to be a famous singer. I used to lay down on the speaker and listen to Michael Jackson’s Ben and ever since that point I knew that this is what I was destined to do. It’s my journey and I did all the right things to put myself in front of the people that could make it happen for me. I started singing in the church choir and met a guy called Mark Sparks who took me to New York. From there I signed my first record deal and started to work with the likes of Mary J. Blige and such.”
One of the most exciting aspects of being on the Soulfest bill is the opportunity to play alongside D’Angelo, who Hamilton sung backup vocals for upon the release of his seminal album, Voodoo, in 2000. “Being in his band for years, man, was really cool. Like, that’s my do. That album [Voodoo] was the best thing that happened to music and it was the best thing that happened to me in terms of learning. The opportunity to be around that quality of musician was just wow. There is some incredible playing on that album from Pino Palladino, Roy Hargrove, Charlie Hunter, and to be involved with that project was simply great – an experience that I’ll never forget.”
Nominated for several Grammy awards over the course of his career, it was in 2009 when working with Al Green that Hamilton took home the top gong. “Al Green is my favourite musical artist ever. My mum and my family also love him, so to work with him was kind of like I was doing it for my family. He’s a great musician and person and I love everything he stands for. It was a nice experience – and going to the Grammys also shows people I can shave real good.”
A legend of the RnB scene, be sure to catch Hamilton on his Australian tour – and keep your eye out for his Christmas album to be released later in the year.
When&Where: Soulfest, Melbourne – October 19
Written by Tex Miller