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Up Close with R&B Star Anthony Hamilton

photo of singer Anthony Hamilton holding a cigar
photo LeAnn Mueller
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His soulful songs may be reminiscent of Sam Cooke, but Anthony Hamilton refuses to be put in a box. He was discovered while cutting hair at a barbershop in Charlotte and was signed to Uptown Records, but it took him 10 years and several failed record deals to finally establish himself as a solo superstar.

It has been 15 years since Hamilton released his album “Comin’ from Where I’m From” which earned three Grammy nominations, platinum status, and featured the hit single “Charlene,” which poised him to be the next big thing in R&B. Since then, Hamilton has established himself as a staple in R&B music. Currently working on his ninth studio album, Grammy Award Winner Anthony Hamilton joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his early days growing up in Charlotte and how he went from an underdog to a sex symbol.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

a picture of Anthony Hamilton
Credit photo by LeAnn Mueller
/
Anthony Hamilton is working on his 9th studio album. He shared an early copy of a new single that raises social awareness.

On not being the star of the church choir:

I wasn’t really tearing the church down. I was kind of just looking around at everybody and sometimes some of the older men would sing with so much power it would scare me. I was like: Wow that’s kind of spooky.

On being the opening act for Jodeci:

I went on the road, and people had never heard of me ... There was one particular night in Dallas … The crowd was extremely excited to see them, and they wanted to go on before me. I was going on after Jodeci… I did a song called “Fallen” ...  And I got a standing ovation. People went crazy.

On winning a Grammy for his song with Al Green:

[My family] probably never dreamed of little ol’ Anthony, lil Peanut … They never dreamed of that and me either. Not Al Green. Not with him, but Questlove and James Poyser and those guys were producing his album, and they thought it would be a great pairing.

On the biggest lessons he learned in marriage:

You have to fight fair. You have to be honest with yourself. If you are doing it for a reason other than love, and if you’re not truly committed or not able to give this person what you feel like they deserve, then you have to set them free.

On tackling racism through children:

If we start with the kids and teaching them about love and accepting people and seeing the beauty in people then we can change that. You have to teach your kids. I teach my kids we come from a powerful people. We created and built a lot. It’s not going to be in our textbooks, so I have to go out and teach them who they are and how amazing they are.  

 

Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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