Being in Anthony Hamilton's presence is an experience. He's not at all what you might expect from a soul-filled man whose voice seems transported from an era before his time. The Grammy Award winner is a chameleon - morphing from personality to personality during his interview, but in an endearing way that makes him interesting and fun.
The potential impact of his fourth studio album, Back To Love, hasn't escaped Hamilton, who knows today's prevailing R&B landscape isn't filled with much music like his. The imagery and lyrics of the subgenre have been reduced mainly to overt overtures about seduction, sex, and...strippers, and when asked about a recent CNN editorial on the topic, Hamilton gets serious, agreeing with a look that says he will try his hardest to steal back the love via songs like the title track, "Back To Love" and the Babyface-produced(!) "Woo":
Hamilton is in a good mood while promoting Back To Love, which hit shelves recently to tremendous critical and fan praise. The 16-track work (if you have the full Deluxe Edition) doesn't veer far from his signature sound and style. Thankfully, the buttery, grainy, gospel- and blues-infused voice is still there (especially on ironic, bluesy songs like "Mad"), along with the familiar focus on topics that real people can relate to - love, loss, and even loving lost. In this clip, he breaks down the album and its themes - then breaks into spontaneous holiday glee! - followed by a defense of...Keri Hilson?:
In Anthony Hamilton's world, love also translates as a deep appreciation for women ("I like your hair"..."That dress and boot ensemble is working for you...I like that"). He's playfully flirtatious, as if he knows that women need to be flattered and fawned over, and he tells so on tracks like "Fair In Love" and "Woo." In recent years, he's found a love (and musical partner) that fulfills him, added twin babies to his growing family, and is working on a little-known side hustle that he hopes to bring to fruition soon.
Christmas is also around the bend, and Hamilton says he's looking forward to selling albums and focusing on "the reason for the season" with his loved ones. The singer has never been shy about his greatest love - God - and he doesn't forget to include some food for the soul on songs like "Pray for Me." In the clip below, he offers a melodic holiday message for the fans, a little spiritual inspiration, and some details on a community cause that's near and dear to his heart:
In this hustle and bustle world, where imaginations are at a minimum, and love equals lust, Anthony Hamilton offers a welcome escape - and hopefully, a blueprint for the future of urban love music.
Anthony Hamilton's Back To Love is available now in stores and on iTunes.