Anthony Hamilton speaks of fatherhood and music

American R&B singer Anthony Hamilton says demands for excellence in parenthood and music has forced him to make a lot of compromises on both sides, just to try to keep a balance. / SUPPLIED
American R&B singer Anthony Hamilton says demands for excellence in parenthood and music has forced him to make a lot of compromises on both sides, just to try to keep a balance. / SUPPLIED

"The combos are communicating," is the catchy hook on DJ Speedsta's hit song.

The spirit of the song is the first thing that I and American superstar Anthony Hamilton bond over during our Zoom video call.

Speaking from his Atlanta home, Hamilton, 49, points out that our tonal mustard tops are matching.

It's freezing cold in Johannesburg - so next we connect about the cold front in both cities.

"It's summer here, but for the past two days it has been chilly," Hamilton mentions.

The climate in America has been sombre over the last few weeks with protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police violence.

The father of six boys says he has always had "the talk" with his older kids explaining how to deal with the police.

"We had the talk with them for years now. My thing for my older three who are 31, 29 and 23, is that you get home safely," Hamilton mentions.

"You hold your head up but you don't have to battle with anyone's ego. Your job is to get home safely and once you get home, we will work out the rest.

"Know your rights and that not anyone is on your side. Put your ego aside and get home safely. The younger three, I let them know that no matter what anyone says to you on the playground - the kids that don't look like you - when they talk down at you, you talk up. You take the high road and know that you are beautiful."

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Hamilton was quarantined with his younger three children.

"Every morning I wake up we do breakfast, then lunch and cook dinner. We were also doing school work so I was being a teacher for a while."

While he admits that on the business side it has been challenging during the period, he says he has found creative ways to connect with his fans.

He has had performances on Instagram Live and Zoom.

"I have missed my fans and being on stage - and just touching people. Just going to my favourite restaurants and seeing the world."

Hamilton has just released new upbeat single Back Together featuring the late soul and funk icon Rick James.

"The song is encouraging people who want to get back together with those they love and miss - including lovers, friends or family - during this pandemic. Just get back together and encourage them to dance - and make life beautiful again."

Hamilton has toured SA many times, and one of his fondest memories is the soldout show at Sun Arena Time Square in Pretoria.

He also recalls visiting Nelson Mandela's Houghton home. Hamilton's favourite chill spot is Moyo restaurant that specialises in unique African cuisine. He's also a huge fan of pap and seafood prepared with African spices.

"South Africa is home for me just seeing people who look like me everywhere is just powerful," Hamilton says.

"America is the opposite because they are more people who don't look like me. There [in SA] you get a sense of pride and ownership."

Hamilton is open to collaborate with African musicians Cassper Nyovest (SA) and 2Face (Nigeria).

"I get a lot of requests for rap songs through direct message on social media. Like 'OG I wanna do a song with you'," Hamilton recounts.

"It makes me feel honoured. I'm years ahead of them in terms of age and experience - but there is a fit for me in their lives musically."

Renowned for his classics Comin' from Where I'm From and Charlene, Hamilton holds being nominated at the Grammy Awards 17 times - and winning once - as his greatest career highlight.

"My greatest obstacle has been making sure that I'm the type of father that I know I should be and being the best artists that I know I could be.

"Sometimes you have to sacrifice in both lanes. I've worked hard to have that balance."

Hamilton is currently working on an album he plans to release in August or September.

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