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Arts & Culture

Grammy Award-Winning Anthony Hamilton Talks New Album, Love, And Loss

Courtesy of Anthony Hamilton

When artists hit the big time, it’s not uncommon for them to move on to LA or New York. Grammy Award winning singer and Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton is no exception. But he’s learned you can go home again and still have a successful career.

WFAE’s Sarah Delia caught up with Hamilton at his home just outside of Charlotte to talk about his latest album and the changes he’s been through since his last one.

Forty five-year-old R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has the kind of soulful, powerful voice that fills every inch of a room. Whether he’s singing in front President Obama and the First Lady or stopping by NPR’s Washington, DC headquarters to perform a tiny desk concert.

His path to the White House (so to speak), started in a church in Charlotte, near his childhood home on Hemphill Street.

"The first church was Shiloh Baptist Church. That was the first church I was ever in a choir and was forced to come out and sing a solo," Hamilton recalls. 

From there that dream grew. Whether it was music on the radio or TV, he just couldn’t get enough.

"My grandmother lived right across the street. So when it was time for Solid Gold or The Lawrence Welk Show, I’d take off running from down my driveway straight across the street to my grandmother’s house so I wouldn’t miss it."

It wasn’t just the church choir and the TV perking his ears. Hamilton’s father was a singer, and his voice is one of the first he remembers. 

In 2009 Hamilton won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance alongside Legendary Al Green for the song You’ve Got The Love I Need, which came out in 2008. He’s made a guest appearance on the hit show Empire, and even opened for Prince.

"'You wanna make some noise,' he said that to me, I promise you. And he was a big fan of mine. I’ve been to Paisley Park and all that stuff," Hamilton says with a smile on his face. 

Hamilton has a playful personality. On his Facebook page he posts homemade cooking videos—where he is the chef. His house is full of family photos of his kids. And there’s a humbleness about him. You won’t find his Grammy on display.

"It’s in my bedroom on a shelf around some hats. Just tons of hats. But I don’t, I don’t have it where you can come and be like 'wow, he has a Grammy!'"

When asked why not have the award front and center, which is surprisingly heavy by the way…he responds with his own question.

"Why? Sometimes I forget about it, and other days I’m like wow dude, you really have it."

This candor is replicated in his latest album What I’m Feelin.

The record is like audio therapy for Hamilton, the pain of his mother’s passing and the end of a decade long marriage were points of inspiration.

Writing sad songs is familiar territory to Hamilton, but this time he had to push himself to go to a vulnerable place.

"My label said it was going to be a classic album. They were like, we haven’t heard that loss yet. I had lost my mother, had gone through a divorce and separation and all. But they wanted that song and I was like, I don’t want to write that, it’s not coming to me. Pretty much I was chasing happy."

From that came a song called Walk In My Shoes. It’s the most personal on the album. 

For his seemingly upbeat personality, Hamilton is a self-described loner. In fact right before a show, he needs to be completely alone in silence with his thoughts. But he’s not alone in this very personal album speaking to universal truths of hurt and love loss. He’s got a spirit that refuses to wallow.

"I’m not really sad. I get it even with death love loss...I get it.  I want to be alright, I don't want to stay in that space. I refuse," Hamilton said.

He may not be completely out of that space, but through the process of opening up on this record about where he’s been, he’s well on his way to somewhere new.