Anthony Hamilton is an artist who proves soul music has no expiration date. Fifteen years after Hamilton’s breakout hit, “Charlene,” Hamilton continues to find a way to be part of online conversations. He’s gone viral in singing gospel-style covers of pop songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with his backing group the Hamiltones. Hamilton’s enduring presence in the music industry reveals that people will always be hungry for raw vocals that express the heart of love and pain.
This weekend, the Grammy award-winning singer will be making a tour stop at The Event Center at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, for concerts on Friday and Saturday. Hamilton will likely bring a revival if his Hollywood Casino concerts are anything like his past performances. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native gained much of his musical lessons in church. Hamilton’s albums, including his latest, 2016’s “What I’m Feelin,’” interweave sensuality and spirituality.
We caught up with Hamilton about a variety of topics before his two Hollywood Casino shows. While Hamilton is mostly known for what he does onstage, he’s also a father who is concerned about the world in which his children live.
What are you up to now?
Just coming off spring break with the kids. I’m about to start doing more spring dates. I’m waiting to see what our next move is for the Hamiltones; a few other artists that we’re excited about. A greeting card line. We’re working on a hat line. I’m just trying to diversify my brand.
There seems to be so much joy when you’re singing with the Hamiltones. How do you cultivate that joy in the midst of all the things that are happening to black men in this society?
I make the choice to be happy. I don’t only focus on what’s negative. I focus on the growth of us as black men and us as a culture. And just know that my God doesn’t make mistakes … You know, it can all be used for good. I got six boys. Three young men, and three young boys that I continue to raise and kind of show them that there’s life that they want to live.
How do you raise six boys on the road with the crazy schedule that you have?
Their amazing mom. My co-parent. And prioritizing.
What lessons have you learned as you are raising your kids?
I’m still learning every day something new. But not to just talk at your children but to listen to them … allow them to have a voice … and to be considerate.
You sing a lot about rock-bottom moments. In your experience, how did you get out of that place?
I sing about love, which is not rock bottom, but I’m not afraid to sing about the struggle and those times when things don’t seem to be as perfect as we would like. I think there is a power in knowing that even in the darkest, lowest moment, you can come out of it and create something better. I experienced it, lived it … I’ve seen people overcome it … no matter how hard it gets, we can make it out of this but it’s going to take a lot of love and perseverance and dedication.
When you were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, you said that you wanted to use Charlotte’s Anthony Hamilton Day to do acts of service for causes like early depression and homelessness. Why are these issues important to you?
Because these are the people we run into every single day. Our children face depression. They face being bullied. And everybody is one or two jobs away from being homeless and hungry anyway. If we can help people sustain the mental ability to take care of themselves by addressing early depression, we’ll be better off … It’s something simple. People want to be heard, loved, and felt.
This Q&A was edited for brevity and clarity.