Anthony Hamilton Interview
|Next Project:||The Point Of It All|
|Twitter:||Anthony Hamilton on Twitter|
|Website:||Anthony Hamilton's Website|
Those not fortunate enough to live in a locale where the sun shines year-round are probably beginning to feel the effects of the changing of the seasons right about now; shorter, cloudier days leave many feeling groggy and irritable, and these symptoms, if left untreated, can develop into the full-blown wintertime blahs by the time the holiday season rolls around.
Have no fear, however: on December 2nd, Charlotte, North Carolina soul singer Anthony Hamilton will provide listeners a much-needed injection of Southern sunshine with his third studio album, The Point Of It All. On the David Banner-featuring lead single, the ever-positive Hamilton told us that everything was going to be “Cool,” and the forthcoming project promises plenty more soulful cuts assuring listeners that love will see us through even the toughest of times.
In an exclusive interview with our very own DJ “Z,” Anthony Hamilton steps inside the Booth to talk about the life-changing powers of his live performances, who would play the lead role in an Anthony Hamilton biopic, and what he personally considers to be “Cool.”
Listen to the Interview
Anthony Hamilton Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a six-time Grammy-nominated singer who explains The Point Of It All this December. Please welcome a North Carolina native, and one of the most heartfelt performers this industry has to offer, Mr. Anthony Hamilton – how you doin’?
Anthony Hamilton: I’m doin’ fine, I’m doin’ fine, and I hear all the applause in the background. I’m doin’ good.
DJ Booth: It sounds like it. Thank you so much for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth.
Anthony Hamilton: Hey – what better time would I be havin’ right now?
DJ Booth: That’s what I’m sayin’. Anthony, the title of your new album really is a great conversation starter, so where better to start this conversation than with the title – what is The Point of It All?
Anthony Hamilton: The point of it all is why we do what we do, the reason behind getting up, having an attitude, smiling, falling in love, protesting, voting – the reason we do everything is looking for some kind of reaction, wanting to feel wanted, close to, or a part of something, and the ultimate thing is love.
DJ Booth: Anthony, your current single, Cool, echoes a sentiment that I’ve been sharing with people for years: when you think you have it bad, there is someone, somewhere in the world who has it so much worse. How often do you personally reflect on how fortunate you are to have such a remarkable career?
Anthony Hamilton: Oh, every day, every night, in the middle of the day, even while I’m thinkin’ about how I’ve been blessed, and how my career really has allowed me to enjoy a better way of life, I think about it. It’s a constant praise I give to God. All the people who allow my dreams to have space in their life, I really appreciate it, all the time. You never stop, even when you’re tired and your voice is burning ‘cause you just sang and the wind was blowin’ in your face. You’re still like, “Man, whatever. I’d rather be doin’ this than doin’ nothin’ at all.”
DJ Booth: Would you say the expression, “It’s cool,” is one of your favorites?
Anthony Hamilton: Oh, yeah. It’s cool, everything’s cool. Even if it falls short of your expectations or falls short of being pleasing, it’s cool; something else will come along and wash that right away. It’s like you’re eating a bad cookie and drinking the best glass of milk you ever had.
DJ Booth: Anthony, after people hear your music, it seems one of the things they most commonly say is, “He’s just full of so much soul.” But when you sing, are you consciously trying to inject anything in particular?
Anthony Hamilton: It’s pretty much natural, you know, the dialect and the diction and the attitude, [the] tone that I use. What I’m thinking about when I’m doin’ that is coming across as honest and pure as I possibly can in that moment, not lyin’ to the people. You know, you can’t co-sign something if you don’t believe in where you are.
DJ Booth: Sure. What people hear is exactly what you’re trying to give them.
Anthony Hamilton: I hope so, ‘cause I ain’t [got] nothing else. I can do a little, you know, [crooning] “If I could, I would give you love…” A little Broadway, I got a little bit of that in there, a little country… but it still would be real, ‘cause I would mean it.
DJ Booth: Not everyone can do what you just did, obviously.
Anthony Hamilton: I live in a house full of rappers, so I know how to freestyle with R&B – I’m serious.
DJ Booth: Okay, well, go ahead.
Anthony Hamilton: What do you wanna hear?
DJ Booth: Impress me.
Anthony Hamilton: [singing] I came to New York to talk you, and I had to do these interviews, not one not three, just two, I’m doin’ it doin’ it doin’ it doin’ it doin’ it till I get sick of you…
DJ Booth: Very nice. If the R&B/Soul thing doesn’t work out for you-
Anthony Hamilton: I’ll have to get a pen and paper.
DJ Booth: In my humble opinion – I’m about to compliment you – you’re one of the most underrated voices in our current generation. How do you view your past work and all of your accomplishments, personally, though?
Anthony Hamilton: Well, I think I’ve had a great run at it. I think I’ve landed some great opportunities and done some great projects, and I think there have been some I was connected to, but they just didn’t end up using the work, which sometimes it’s like, “Ah, man.” Like, there was a song I did with Game, that I thought was really good, but it didn’t make [his album]. Even the T-Pain “Reality Show” song that I did with Raheem DeVaughn, I don’t think they’re using that one. So sometimes you get ones that you feel really excited about, that may not happen. But I get to work with some people I really respect.
DJ Booth: I spoke with Kerry “Krucial” Brothers a few months back, and he said what a brilliant writer you are, in addition to stating what a pleasure it was to get to work with you. Anthony, when you write new material, who or what do you typically draw inspiration from first?
Anthony Hamilton: It depends. If there’s music playing at the time, then I’m inspired by the music, ‘cause the music sometimes tells a story that you’ve been tryin’ to hide inside, so it’ll force you to tell a story. And then there are some times when I have something in my head I want to say, or something in my heart I want to say, and I have to create something around it. Or I may hear music with no lyrics, and have to come up with something. It just depends on the day, what you had first, or what mood you’re in.
DJ Booth: So it’s never the same thing twice.
Anthony Hamilton: Nah. And tell Kerry, he’s the best. We had a great time, the song we did was really amazing.
DJ Booth: Will it make the album?
Anthony Hamilton: So far it’s still around.
DJ Booth: In honor of the new project, you are scheduled to embark on a 25-city tour next month, opening November 5th in my hometown of Chicago. Anthony, for my listeners who have enough money in their wallets or purses to buy tickets to one show this fall season, why do they need to scoop up two for the Playin’ It Cool Tour?
Anthony Hamilton: Well, there’s nothing else goin’ on – besides Obama, there’s me, you know? And we both are geared toward making it better for everybody. Searching for change? You’ll find it at an Anthony Hamilton concern – change of mind, change of heart, change of scenery, if your lady ain’t the right one you’ll find a new one, if your man ain’t doin’ right you’ll find a new one, or you’ll find a way to make him better. That’s The Point Of It All: to get it done.
DJ Booth: I like how you wrapped that all up nicely with the title of the album.
Anthony Hamilton: Thank you sir; I aim to please, and I didn’t wanna let you down.
DJ Booth: So let me get this straight: November 4th, people go out, they elect Barack Obama as the next President of the United States of America, and then they go to Ticketmaster and the purchase two for the Playin’ It Cool Tour – do I have that right?
Anthony Hamilton: Exactly. And I like how you put that. You put it so correct; you put it exactly how I would’ve said it.
DJ Booth: I’m glad. Anthony, I read that your love of writing has you interested in pursuing a future career in feature film executive production. If you had to executive produce a movie about your own life, who would you cast for the role of the strikingly handsome Anthony Hamilton?
Anthony Hamilton: Well, [for] the earlier Anthony Hamilton, I would get my son to play him. I have three beautiful sons, and I would get my middle son, Romero – he’s an actor, he’s really good – and I’d get him to play [me]. And maybe I could coach my younger son into playing the even younger, 11-year-old me. Then I think I would play the adult me; who better to do it than me? I decided I wanted to go into movies anyway.
DJ Booth: I agree. You had that cameo in American Gangster, so why not continue from there?
Anthony Hamilton: Yeah, man – I want a camisole in the next movie; I wanna wear it all.
DJ Booth: [laughs] When Lupe Fiasco dropped his last album, The Cool, he and I played a game together called, “Lupe Fiasco’s The Coolest.” So, in honor of your current single, “Cool,” I’ve decided to bring the game back, and, of course, re-title it to, “Anthony Hamilton’s Coolest.” Are you game?
Anthony Hamilton: Let’s do it. What about “Cool Play,” “Anthony Hamilton’s Cool Play?”
DJ Booth: I like that better – we’re gonna play Anthony Hamilton’s Cool Play. Are you ready?
Anthony Hamilton: I’m ready.
DJ Booth: Number one: where is the coolest place for you to record new music?
Anthony Hamilton: At CHP, Charles Holloman Productions, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
DJ Booth: Anthony, what is the coolest item on your personal dinner menu? So, I’m comin’ over for dinner – what am I gonna get?
Anthony Hamilton: My famous dill honey salmon.
DJ Booth: Dill honey salmon, mmm – all right, let’s not talk about that anymore; I haven’t eaten lunch today.
Anthony Hamilton: I cook really well.
DJ Booth: That’s why I asked you. Number three: what is the coolest non-musical talent that you possess?
Anthony Hamilton: I can cut hair like some of the best barbers ever.
DJ Booth: Okay, so you got the fade goin’ on. Fourth, who is the coolest industry-mate that you have yet to meet?
Anthony Hamilton: Tina Turner; I think she’s such a classy thang.
DJ Booth: The album’s not out yet; it’s not too late to give her call and see if you guys can’t get it together.
Anthony Hamilton: She’s got a Rolls, too, so I can probably scratch up enough money to get some gas to find her.
DJ Booth: [laughs] Well, gas is comin’ down, you might be in luck. And number five: why is The Point Of It All the coolest album out this fall season?
Anthony Hamilton: Because, you get a chance to ride down to the country and look through the window of a Southern gentleman like myself, and see what it is that allows him to feel so comfortable, even goin’ through some of the craziest times. You get great music, smell good food, sip the best wine, dance to the best beats, and slow-dance to the most romantic songs ever – that’s my sellin’ pitch right there, baby.
DJ Booth: Well, those are all great reasons. You sold me. Anthony, give everybody a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more, of course, about the new album dropping this December.
Anthony Hamilton: You can check out anthonyhamilton.com, find out more about my new album, The Point Of It All, due out December the 2nd. It’s Anthony Hamilton season – we keep it cool all day.
DJ Booth: That’s what it’s about. Anthony, I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and thank you again for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth.
Anthony Hamilton: Thank you. Thank you for havin’ a great interview, [that] didn’t bore me to death.
DJ Booth: I’m glad – those suck.
Anthony Hamilton: I appreciate that.