Best of NJ caught up with Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Anthony Hamilton to talk about his new album, amidst a recent sold-out show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The R&B artist is currently promoting his latest album, titled What I’m Feelin’. Hamilton doesn’t hold back on the title track as he opens up about the pain of heartbreak, loss, and life changes.
“That song was very personal,” he told us. “It was a real moment in my life when all that stuff happened, and it was liberating to get it all out and talk about it. This song has some real moments. It’s about a real marriage and a real family. It’s one of my favorites.”
Hamilton says the album allowed him to reunite with Mark Batson, who produced hit singles including “Charlene,” “Can’t Let Go,” and “Comin’ from Where I’m From.” Speaking about the collaboration, Hamilton said that “The entire project was something that we dreamed of doing. We all got together and went to Nashville to get away from everything so we could just focus on the music. I’m very excited about it.”
What I’m Feelin’ is a reflection of Hamilton’s experiences and transitions. “The inspiration for the album was about me coming from one place in my life to another. It’s pretty much just about my life and a way to share where I’ve been.”
These days, those experiences also include a recent performance at the White House where Hamilton joined Yolanda Adams, Usher, Andra Day, and Demi Lovato for a tribute to honor Ray Charles. “That was historical,” he says. “It was big, and it was an opportunity to see God’s hand on my career.”
Hamilton’s career has continued to skyrocket, with sold-out tour stops across the country alongside singer Fantasia—someone Hamilton says he has wanted to tour with for quite some time. “Fantasia and I are always running into each other, whether it be at Target or a Harris Teeter grocery store. She and I started talking in passing, and we tried to make this work. The fans had been requesting us to be together, so we made it happen.”
For Hamilton, the best parts of touring also extend beyond the stage. “I love nice hotels, trying new food, and meeting new people, but being on the bus with the guys is a great time. Sleeping on the bus is awesome. I hear the hum of that engine, and I am knocked out.”
On the subject of contemporary R&B artists, the old-school soul singer said that “There’s a lot of great talent out there like B.J. the Chicago Kid and Jazmine Sullivan, who’s a great writer and singer. There are so many new artists that are still making great music.”
“Some people sing because they have talent, and some people sing because they want to express themselves,” he adds. “Some people sing because they feel a need to be transparent and vulnerable. I think the cats today are younger, and haven’t experienced a lot of that. Some of them don’t allow love to come in that deep to have the opportunities to sing about it.”
Hamilton hopes to return to the Garden State for another performance sometime soon. “New Jersey reminds me of North Carolina. For five years I lived near Teaneck and Hackensack. I had a good time in Jersey. There are a lot of trees and a lot of grass; it’s beautiful.”
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