Following Alicia Keys, NPR Music caught up with celebrated soul singer Anthony Hamilton for the latest episode of their ‘Noteworthy‘ mini documentary series.
Host Jason King, curator of NPR Music’s R&B stream “I’ll Take You There,” uncovers new insights behind the singer/songwriter’s creative direction, inspiration, and early development.
Anthony takes King to the house where he grew up; the barbershop where he cut hair and found stories for his songs; and the church where he sang his first gospel solo. Hamilton says his whole family played a role in the initial steps of his career. “Grandmother, granddaddy and aunts and uncles and everybody else [said], ‘Boy, you better go down there. You gonna do something. You need to join the choir because you need to serve the Lord,'” he says.
Before he got the record deal that would bring him to New York, and then to millions around the country with the release of his breakthrough album, Comin’ From Where I’m From, Hamilton cut hair in a Charlotte barber shop, and credits the atmosphere there for helping to shape his voice as a songwriter. “Children come in and older folks come in and women come in. And you have all this conversation,” he says. “It’s like the information station. The sound manages to have a bunch of people talking about the same subject, but everybody has their own point of view. And even though they’re all talking at the same time, you can hear them all clearly. Then it all starts to make sense. You hear the things they desire, their dreams. It creates songs.”
Check out Anthony Hamilton’s Noteworthy below.
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