R&B places you in a moment. You not only hear it, but you also see it, touch it, and feel it. It may very well be the most vivid vehicle for storytelling outside of the silver screen.
Every time Anthony Hamilton gets behind a microphone, he sings a story—never sparing his passion, pain, loss, love, and everything in between. The GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum singer, songwriter, producer, actor, author, and icon proudly maintains the traditions of timeless R&B through everything he does with his own swagger, spirit, and soul.
This especially holds true on his 2021 tenth full-length album and first release under his own My Music Box label in partnership with BMG.
“R&B is the foundation for so much music, man,” he exclaims. “That underlying storytelling is the gritty fabric of life woven in all of us. It’s always been important to me. My favorite songs paint a picture. They live longer in a deeper place. In my songs, I create these moments. Maybe listeners can recreate their own memories in a way, so they can feel good. R&B does that. It’s still alive; it’s never going anywhere.”
He continually proves that. Throughout an illustrious near three-decade career, he has sold over 50 million albums worldwide to date, he took home a 2009 GRAMMY® Award in the category of “Best Traditional R&B Performance,” and he delivered a momentous concert for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, living up to the title of “narrator of love” in historic fashion.
He went from singing as a member of the church choir at six-years-old to launching one of the most prolific careers in R&B. For two decades, he released pivotal albums such as the platinum Comin’ Where I’m From , chart-topping Soulife , gold-selling Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ , gold-selling The Point of It All , two-time GRAMMY nominated Back To Love , his first Christmas album Home for the Holidays , and What I’m Feelin’ , which bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200. Not to mention, he delivered classic tunes such as “Charlene,” “Best of Me,” and “The Point of it All.”
In addition to anchoring classic albums, he remains the rare talent who can collaborate with everyone from Al Green, Buddy Guy, and Santana to 2Pac, Rick Ross, Gorillaz, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, and Mark Ronson. His voice can also be heard on “Freedom” from the Academy® Award-nominated blockbuster Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino in addition to multiple other soundtracks. An accomplished actor, he made his film debut in the critically acclaimed American Gangster and recently starred as Kyle Kirby in the BET+ feature, Carl Weber’s Influence. He was featured as the subject of the NPR documentary series Noteworthy. He also self-published Cornbread, Fish ‘n Collared Greens, which details the stories behind some of his most recognizable tunes and explores another passion: southern food.
However, 2020 marked a major first as he took full ownership of his music, launched My Music Box as its home, and initiated a distribution deal with BMG.
“Well, it was time,” he smiles. “I paid my dues. I’ve been signed to a major label since 1993. There’s no better way to create a legacy than to own your work, take it, invest in it, and grow it. I’m focused on running my business and bringing my music to the right people. We’re all excited to build something together. My Music Box is everything I believe to be special. The best is yet to come though. Believe me, we’re coming with it.”
It starts with the single “Back Together” [feat. Rick James]. Produced by 9th Wonder [Mary J. Blige, JAY-Z, Drake], a simmering beat and strings wrap around Hamilton’s instantly recognizable delivery on the verses. Meanwhile, he duets with none other than the late legend Rick James by way of a sample 9th Wonder dug out of the crates. Complemented by a classic James harmony, he carries the hook—“Why can’t we just get back together?”—to the heavens and back like only he can.
“I grew up listening to ‘Super Freak’ and ‘Fire and Desire’,” he recalls. “I’m a big fan of Rick James. There’s nothing like his voice. It’s just man through and through. 9th Wonder cut up the sample right in front of me. I wrote the song in a way to make it feel like Rick was singing along with me. ‘Back Together’ pays homage to one of the greats. To me, it’s also about love and getting back together with someone you knew was special. In the time of COVID-19, it took on a new meaning too. It means getting back to our lives. Be close to those who are special to you. I want to be close to anybody right now.”
While finishing the album, he stepped up as part of the fight against COVID-19 at every chance possible. He joined forces with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization to perform from his house as part of the #TogetherAtHome Livestream Concert Series, generating a staggering 80K live viewers. He grabbed the microphone for “Saving OurSelves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” on BET Networks and the “Under One Roof: Livestream Concert to Benefit North Carolina Artists.”
Through such performances and new music, he reaffirms the power of R&B and its progression.
“The record is a different energy for me,” he admits. “When they listen, I want my fans to feel like they’re at home, but I still want to push them out of their comfort zones and sonically challenge them to grow with me.”
Through the album, the book, performances, and his forthcoming hat line House of Fedora, Anthony Hamilton continues one of the greatest stories in R&B history.
“I am a father who does music,” he leaves off. “That’s it. I’m well-traveled and hungry for growth. I’m a leader. I’m a man of God. I’ll be around for a long time. When you hear me, I hope you go, ‘That’s the Anthony Hamilton I love. He ain’t lost it yet. He probably never will. Damn, that man can sing!”