with Deya Mensche

What do you do when a renowned Grammy award winning R&B singer from Charlotte, North Carolina wants to explore your island?

You take him on a road trip and show him your neck of the woods, besides the many captivating sites and romantic beaches. Then you sit down and enjoy a scrumptious lunch at Jaanchie’s, Banda’bou, followed by an spontaneous jam session with some local musicians to later relax under trees of the West punt Highflying Park and talk about life. Previously, Hamilton has performed at the North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam at least four times, but this marked his first time performing in Curaçao. After completing his performance at the 2016 Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, Anthony Hamilton was ready to tap into our feel good energy that epitomized the Curaçao people. “The people are very welcoming and it’s a beautiful place and everybody has a laid back personality… It kind of reminds me of home”, he exclaimed.

Born as Anthony Cornelius Hamilton on January 28, 1971, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hamilton comes from an environment where everybody greets each other. “Where I’m from, everybody is laid back with that Southern hospitality”, Hamilton explains. Due to family situations, he was adopted at the age of 15, which shaped him into the man he is today. “I realized that as long as you have love, and love that feels comfortable, that is the most important thing. It’s a blessing where God selects angels to take care of you”, he explains.

While in Curaçao, Hamilton also took advantage of our beautiful scenery and recorded his latest single ‘Ever seen Heaven’ on our island. The latest single is from his ninth studio album ‘What I’m Feelin’, which was released in March 2016. On this album, Hamilton collaborated with Mark Batson, who did ‘Charlene’ and ‘Coming from I’m from’, and also worked with James Poyser and the incredibly talented Salaam Rem and produced hits like ‘Amen’ and ‘What I’m Feelin’.

Black Lives Matter and raising sons

Last September, Anthony Hamilton wrote a poignant article on The Root website about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, especially after his home town of Charlotte, erupted in protest and violence when Keith Lamont Scott was gunned down by police. As a father of six boys that range between the ages of 4 and 27, and having a brother that is a detective, he expressed understanding for the recent outbursts of anger against police brutality, however cautioned not to feed into generalizations against cops or white people. Hamilton often speaks about these matters in his songs or discusses these subjects during his live shows and thinks it’s brave that athletes, artists and performers are taking a stand for the movement. “I tell my older boys that the key is to make it home safe, every day”, he emphasizes. “Ego doesn’t determine your manhood, but to be smart and choose which battles to fight and decide when to walk away. It’s disheartening to even have that conversation with my sons”, he concludes.

Finding Inspiration

His advice to any upcoming artist is not to think local, because you can take it wherever you want to go, as long as you are passionate about sharing it with the masses. Although Hamilton doesn’t come from a musical family, he was surrounded by music. Hamilton got his first record deal was in ’93 with Uptown RCA, yet his journey wasn’t without any setbacks and during his career he went through six more record deals. “I learned a lot, and I was around a lot of interesting people, like Puffy, Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and Jodeci. Hamilton still enjoys an illustrious career and collaborated with artists like Tupac, Jay Z, Carlos Santana, Shirley Caesar, Jill Scott, just to name a few. “When you love something so much, you can’t get away from it, and music is who I am”, Hamilton concludes.