Anthony Hamilton talks new music, battle with COVID-19 ahead of festival in uptown Charlotte

The struggle of this pandemic is something Anthony knows firsthand. The virus hit him in January.
Before he headlines Saturday’s Welcome Back Fest in Charlotte, Grammy award-winning artist Anthony Hamilton talks to WBTV's Jamie Boll.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 8:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Let’s just say this is a pretty cool way to start your day: In the recording studio, listening to Anthony Hamilton.

On Saturday, you’ll get to hear him when he headlines Novant Health’s Welcome Back Fest at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.

Jamie Boll talked to him about why the opportunity was a no-brainer.

Jamie: When they called and asked you to do this? Was there any doubt in your mind you wanted to do it?

Anthony: No, I’m about being there for people and making sure I expose people to things that they need, like good health and a good time. So, I was all in.

Jamie: And a live show again, to have people, to have that feedback. Boy, it’s something you can kind of take for granted that we all sort of learned about, didn’t we?

Anthony: Yeah, learned it pretty fast and got put in our place too. But it’s good to be back, man, and see people out there having a good time and smiling.

The struggle of this pandemic is something Anthony knows firsthand. The virus hit him in January.

Anthony: I had it, was in the hospital two weeks at Novant and they helped me come through it. And with my faith in God and the right doctors, we came through. But it took a lot of faith and a lot of praying.

Jamie: When you get it, how scary is it? Because you don’t know which way it’s gonna go.

Anthony: No, you see the fatalities and you see the lives that are lost to COVID every day. Just laying there, not knowing, just like hey, your body’s not able to pull in enough oxygen.

Jamie: Did you start to think to yourself, ‘Boy, am I gonna have long-term effects? Am I going to be able to do what I do for a living?’

Anthony: Yeah, I did. One night, maybe like a week into it, I sang Charlene really soft. I was like, (sings) “Woke up this morning, found a letter she wrote, she said she’s tired.” So I didn’t have a lot of wind, but I was able to do that. I said, well, I could probably do it acoustic if I had to (laughs). But that made me feel good and gave me a little hope.

Now, fully recovered, he’s been back in the studio recording a new record.

Anthony: It felt so good to be in here to hear the speakers and see this board and engineers and everybody.

Jamie: And the new record’s coming.

Anthony: It’s coming, man. September the 24th. Yeah, Love is the New Black.

Jamie: Is it a theme? Is there a message you’re trying to get through with this one?

Anthony: You know how everyone is comfortable wearing black and feel good? And it’s like, you know, this is it. It’s confidence, it’s - want to make love the first thing you put on every morning.

The first single, “You Made a Fool of Me” is already out. It’s already cracked the Top 10 on R&B radio.

“Just a couple guys sitting around reminiscing on dating and relationships and things. We’ve all been made a fool of one way or another, and we’ve been on the other end as well. I wanted to talk about something that people needed to revisit. Now, here we are rethinking our lives and gathering what’s the next move and trying to decide what we’re gonna do with ourselves” he says, “The album actually had a lot more songs that were themes around the social injustice and things that happened. Once things started to open up, I took a lot of those off and just gave people something just to breathe again.”

As for this weekend’s concert.

Jamie: You got a setlist together, you know what you’re going to do?

Anthony: Man, I’m coming through. I’m gonna come through, come through stomping

Jamie: What do you start with, do you know?

Anthony: I can’t tell you.

Jamie: No? Come on. Nothing?

Anthony: You gotta come man, I can’t tell you the show.

Jamie: Not a hint? Nothing?

Anthony: No, man. Come through, you gotta be there. Be there. Come check us out. We’re gonna be there and it’s gonna be a great, great set.

Welcome Back Fest will be at Romare Bearden Park is Saturday, July 24th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is rain or shine.

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