My Rhythm and My Blues: Anthony Hamilton

It’s been wonderful to hear stories that may have otherwise gone untold, at least on certain platforms or by particular outlets. My Rhythm and My Blues is a Live Nation series that was created to not only highlight the positive, unifying aspects of music—but the struggles and obstacles that Black people experience within the industry. In this episode singer, songwriter and record producer Anthony Hamilton delves into his roots, the “kind” (and unkind) racism he’s experienced, how he relieves stress as a father of six, and what he envisions for the future. Check it out: 
My Rhythm and My Blues – Anthony Hamilton

On “kind” racism:

Growing up here in Charlotte, North Carolina, I've experienced some racism. There were "kind" racist approaches. "We're closed," or “Do you live around here?” "Are you a member here?” Riding in the neighborhood, there have been security guards who pull up and say, "May I help you?” I say, "No, you can't help me. I know where everything is. I've been here 15 years, as a matter of fact, I was born and raised here. Can I help you?"

Have uncomfortable dialogue: 

Those things are the "kind" racism but I've seen some of the other side where people have been jumped on and followed, shot. It just depends on which energy is driving the car in that space. I think some things that we could do is have uncomfortable dialogue. I think they need to understand who we are as people. What are the things that keep you in fear of me or make you wanna dislike me, not even knowing me? What about my presence brings fear to you?
I think we need to hold people accountable. We should be able to run things and have people that look like us who have power, who can make decisions in government, in the schools, we need more black police, we need more black doctors. It's been going on way too long. It's 2020 now, let’s get this shit over with.

Peace, stress and parenting:

Things I do to disconnect, to preserve my peace, create a place for me that feels safe and healthy. I dive into my children. I write my music, go out in nature, go bike riding through the trees and you just connect to God and things that are breathing and that are positive. Being a father of six can be stressful. The worry of I want them to make it home safely. I want their friends to make it home safely. It's not just my children that I worry about. I worry about all the kids. Especially with the things, the conversations I have to have with them now. I equipped my boys pretty early to know that we're not taking no mess. We know who we are, we know whose we are, and we know we're able and capable of anything. Some white people are not going to see you the same. Some Blacks may not see you the same. The world doesn't owe you anything. Your job is to be sure in your walk and the steps and be comfortable being your true self.


So many different people who have influenced my music. I'm a big longtime fan of Bill Withers, his writing style. It's so matter of fact, it's so visual. Al Green, the church of Al Green and Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin, and then moving on up to the Jodecis, Boyz II Men and I'm influenced every day. Even with what's going on with the new cats. Some of it's bullshit. Some of it's pretty good. They just gotta put a little romance back into music. BJ The Chicago Kid, I love him and Ro James and Luke James and Eric Bellinger is dope. H.E.R., just so many.

Then vs. now:

The different experiences from the old days of music business and record deals and now, back then there was a lot of patience in developing artists and developing sounds and albums, and certain things that record companies, they dared to not do. 
I think it's now more numbers driven. Back then it was more music driven. It's what we get when people are not nurturing real music, we get a society of quick fix and turnarounds.

That single, it's important. Three years out, to be back I wanted to come back with something that felt new. Got in the studio, 9th would start playing this "Fire and Desire" and I went in the sound booth and free styled the first line and when Rick James fell in that place, I was like, this is gonna be a feature. This can no longer just be a song with a sample. I'm featuring Rick James.

Up next:

What's next for me, short term is to finish this album then I'm back in the studio working on. You know, today's climate and the things, my pen has gone another direction. I've been writing about what's going on now, like there's a song that feels almost like a "What's Going On" jazzy rendition. It's a blues, like “Strange Fruit" it's powerful. So I'm making a good blend of where we are and the get away.

His record label, My Music Box:

My Music Box, I came up with it. It was very important for me to team up with someone who knew who I was, who knew my struggle and had seen where I came from and where I'm trying to go, and BMG felt like the right home. It feels good. I can put out new artists, I own masters, I'm a partner and I have say so, and I've worked my tail off to get to a place to where I can say this is me in control of the journey, this musical journey.
My legacy is one that's steeped in deep, dark, rich, chocolate soul from North Carolina that transcends time, place, space through music.
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Last updated: 5 Aug 2020, 02:03 Etc/UTC