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Hamilton released his debut LP, 'XTC,' in 1996, but it wasn't until years later when he'd see his hard work pay off. On the rap group Nappy Roots' 2002 breakout hit 'Po' Folks,' the Charlotte, N.C., native conveyed a level of depth and sincerity that the R&B genre was lacking in those early years of the millennium. He used that feature to his advantage and released his second album, 'Comin' from Where I'm From,' the following year and his popularity grew exponentially as he proved to transcend genres. The singer touched many with his heartfelt lyrics and velveteen voice, collaborating with both rappers and songstresses alike. Hamilton, a vocalist, writer, father and husband, had finally created his own lane.
With the release of his fifth studio album, 'Back to Love,' last moth, Anthony Hamilton is set on reminding listeners that he still has a way with words. His writing is as strong as ever and his voice remains the key component -- as it always has. He spoke with The BoomBox recently about releasing his first country album, why he doesn't want to listen to Tank's music and the biggest mistake artists make in their career.
Why title this LP, 'Back to Love'?
Hopefully it reminds people of what to go back to, and what we as a people should be doing as far as spending quality time with your loved ones. Building relationships with family and friends. And just truly loving themselves and the people around them. Plus, the song itself is banging [laughs]!
So the title came after the song?
After I made the song, I was just like, "This is the perfect one. This is it."
I heard about you wanting to do a country album at some point in the future. Is that still in your plans?
Yeah, actually I have most of my blues record finished and the country one is next. I have maybe two or three of my country tracks done. I think if planned strategically and the placement is at the right time, I think people will get it, if it's something that makes sense. So it could be now, it could be midway between this album and the next, it depends on the setup.
A lot of people who listen to soul may not understand your reasoning behind doing a country album. What will it be about your work in that genre that will bridge the gap?
My vocal delivery is honest and it's real. People know when I sing something I mean it. It's believable, so I think I have that... That and a loyal fanbase that will ride with me and ride for me.
You and your wife don't have many quiet moments together, I presume, with your hectic schedule. But when you do, do you play music to set the mood?
No. We don't wanna hear anything. In the most intimate moment, I don't wanna hear anyone singing. I don't wanna hear myself, I don't wanna hear her singing, all I wanna hear is some good breathing. I don't wanna hear Tank, Raheem [DeVaghn], I don't even wanna hear Anthony [Hamilton]!
With five children and one more on the way, how do you balance your career and staying active in their lives?
You have to have some great people on your team to prioritize certain things for you, most things are important but... You know, you have your nanny and the whole team to help you out and you know, the kids are gonna go where you are, and they'll be alright wherever you are. So if you're on the road touring, it's fine, or if we're at home, either me or the wife will take the kids so the other one can work. It's just a team. It's a lot of work. A whole lot of work and sometimes it's overwhelming but you know, that's the beauty of it all I guess.
What business ventures would you like to move into?
I want to have an amazing barbershop where we men can come and get a haircut, get catered to... Whether it's getting your nails done, just a really nice place you can come to and watch the game. A good place where a young king can come and get some knowledge from the older cats. I definitely want to start in Charlotte but I'll do the research first to see if Charlotte is going to be condusive to what it is that I'm trying to do. But it could even be Atlanta, or maybe L.A.
What are your plans for 2012?
I just finished a promotional tour for five weeks. We did 29 shows and at the top of the year I'll start another one. Once we put together the right package, and figure out the dates that everybody agrees to [we'll start].
After years in the industry, is there anything that you would say still surprises you?
When people still think that artists are dumb enough to not understand publishing and people try and steal from you. One of my first record deals, they definitely wanted my publishing. I didn't really know about all that at the time. I was trusting somebody else that it'd be OK. I didn't know nothing about [getting] a lawyer.
Would you say that's the biggest mistake you see new artists make?
Not knowing the business. Yes. Being so gung-ho about being successful, without even setting up success.