He’s handsome, he’s got one of the most amazingly soulful voices and he’s got the kind of lyrics that separate the men from the boys. Now as if these qualities were not much more than any woman could possibly ask for, to add to the mix, he’s modest, funny and genuine too (can you tell I’m a fan?).Having just stepped off of a delayed flight from Amsterdam to play his one and only date at the Indigo2 on his Point Of It All tour, and whilst his entourage slept in the lounge of their West London hotel through sheer exhaustion, the six-time Grammy-nominated singer soldiered on and took some time out to talk to Susanne Singh about love, life and The Point Of It All.
Have you always aspired to be a singer?
Yes ma’am, from birth. That’s what God created me to be, the singing guy.
Where do you get your soulful roots from?
I guess from my biological father. He sang and almost got signed to Motown, I know that much about him! Also I think just life itself, being from a southern background, and growing up around the Baptist church, and then listening to people like Al Green and Bill Withers. I got whoopings too, so I think somewhere in there those whoppings stirred up a soulful cry.
When you were singing back in the church choir, did you ever imagine you would make it this big?
I knew I was going to be successful, but how big am I? I don’t really know how big I am, and sometimes people have to remind me. All I know is I like what my music is doing. I’m travelling a lot and I’m touching a lot of people, so I guess that’s the most important thing.
How did you make the transition from church choir boy to soul sensation?
I think listening to the girls who always used to be like ‘oh you have a nice voice’. You all sure can drag us away from the church!
What exactly is it that you like about neo-soul?
I guess it’s like a newness to the old school. It never died but it just needed a little chap stick, so we put some chap stick on it and its back shinier than ever.
Why do you think neo-soul music is not as commercial as other genres of music?
I think its our willingness to stand firm on what we feel, what we believe and where it originated from. We tend not to speak about certain subjects that relate to the common youth, and instead we try to attract a different breed of person.
If you could have made music at any other era in time, when would that have been and why?
The seventies man. That’s when they used to get down, sweat a lot and wear polyester shirts. I’ve always wanted one of those outfits with the afro and everything. The whole Motown vibe, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Supremes, it was just amazing music. You have some artists who create some good songs every now and again, like Neyo’s great, and I like what John Legend, Jasmine Sullivan are doing, but the magic just isn’t there anymore.
What have you been up to in the past four years since the release of your album Soulife in 2005?
Just enjoying family, finishing the new record the Point Of It All, starting a label called Mister’s Music, I did the American Gangster movie, shopped, ate a lot, travelled and just enjoyed life. Nothing fancy, I haven’t been to the moon or nothing like that. I like to work hard, travel a lot and I like to have space to recuperate and go back at it fresh. I mean everything gets stale without fresh air right?
Definitely. So what is your most recent album, The Point of it All, all about?
It’s about realising why you do what you do and why you make the changes you make, at certain points in your life. I wanted to boogie a little more on this record, I mean everybody is going through a depression and financial problems and I wanted them to dance again so I put a few up-tempo songs on there. It’s about rehabilitating your whole self.
Why did you decide to release Cool as your first single from the album?
Because it speaks to the people right where they are, and it introduces a new side to Anthony, its not the sad ballad that people are used to, I’m tired of being the sad man!
A key message throughout a number of your songs is that love conquers all. Do you sincerely believe this?
Sure, the right kind of love. Pure love will with the help from the Lord himself, a few doctors, good food and good company. Sure I do believe that, it’s powerful.
Do you believe all males will be able to relate to your music?
Oh yeah, all of them can. If they ain’t reacting right, they just need to turn the volume up a little. You don’t believe me do you? Find me one that doesn’t and I’ll show them how.
Why do you think you are so in touch with your emotions in your songs?
I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen a lot of people go through a lot so this has just allowed me to open up and speak clearly. I’ve always just paid attention to what triggers certain emotions in life.
Do you believe your music gets a lot of boyfriends/ husbands in trouble?
No, it’s probably bettered them. I mean they probably got in trouble because they weren’t doing certain things that they should have been, but that’s good trouble.
What do you aim to accomplish with your music?
I want to heal as many people as possible by getting them through bad or abusive relationships and insecurities and encouraging them to love again. I want to cross as many boundaries, travel to as many countries, eat as many different dishes as possible and just make a difference to peoples lives.
Are you only willing to collaborate on conscious songs with artists?
I would collaborate on any song that’s not too provocative. I don’t want to offend anybody. As long as I’m not encouraging any girls to go out and have sex, and I’m not encouraging guys to be smoking weed and that, then I’ll do it. I want to be at least one guy who cares about somebody outside of himself. But I listen to all of that music and I like it. I’m grown now so I know the difference between right and wrong.
What was it like working alongside Denzel Washington in American Gangster?
He’s amazing, he’s really cool. He was pretty much in control without being in control. He allowed people to feel comfortable. I had met him one time before at the 70th anniversary of the Apollo and he remembered that
Any plans to feature in more films?
Yeah I did a reading for the part of Willy Dixon in Cadillac Records. Cedric The Entertainer got the part. He makes a really good Willy Dixon, he got a little more weight on him and sometimes the size and the stature of the character is very important. But I still plan to act more. Maybe I’ll be in the new Brandy Bunch, or the new Cosby Show, The Hamilton’s!
What exactly are your charities about?
TASTE and HELP. HELP is Healing Every Little Problem and it deals with psychological and emotional issues, and TASTE is about Taking A Step To Elevate and teaches people how to eat and maintain a proper diet. This was really important to me because high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney failure funs in my family and I know it affects a lot of people.
Why do you feel that it is important to give back to the community?
Because I’ve seen so many people die for no reason at all except a lack of information.
What are your plans for the future?
Anthony Hamilton: Rock it till the wheels fall off!
Anthony’s latest album The Point Of It All is available to buy at all good record stores now!
Words by Susanne Singh