R&B groups may be few and far between these days, but the young men of Hamilton Park show promise. The four young men from the Atlanta, Georgia area are signed to Andre Harrell's label, Harrell Records, and they've been setting many a young lady's heart a pitter-patter with their heartfelt lyrics and sweet, sweet melodies. After releasing their first single "Thing Called Us," the guys have hit the road with the Scream Tour.
Mr. Marcus, Royce P, Chris and Anthony spoke with Bark + Bite before shortly before their single dropped earlier in year, and we had the opportunity to catch up with them again at the Washington D.C. stop of the Scream Tour. The guys were polite, friendly and approachable. Above all else, they appeared grateful for the gifts they've been blessed with and expressed their desire to seize every opportunity they could, in the hopes of fulfilling their dreams in the music industry.
For those just getting acquainted with Hamilton Park, they say they've got a few surprises in store for fans in the new year as well.
Read our interview with Hamilton Park below
Q: What's the latest with you guys? You're on the Scream Tour and you released your first single "Thing Called Us." What's the response been like?
A: (Royce P) The response has been pretty good. We like the fact that since we've been on the road, the record has been growing with us as far as the fan base and just being known.
(Anthony) It's just been a steady pace with the single. A lot of people have been picking it up, a lot of stations have been picking it up, so we're grateful and thankful. As we continue to tour and see different places, the response has been tremendous.
Q: "Thing Called Us" has a real throwback to '90s R&B sound to it. Like something Blackstreet or Jodeci would make. What made y'all go with that sound for the first single? Especially in a climate where dance music seems to be dominating R&B?
A: (Marcus) That's what we are. It's not like we chose this, like, 'Oh, this is what we're gonna do for music.' Naturally, that's the field of music we are, because we're soul singers. But still, we're young. So it comes across more youthful. People say it's familiar because of that conviction.
We got a record with Gucci Mane called "So Icey," and it's nowhere near Jagged Edge or New Edition, it's more like a Chris Brown-type of energy but even though we talkin' bout "she's so icey," it still has that conviction.
(Chris) To touch on that, we weren't trying to fill a void. We weren't trying to catch up to anything, we really were just waiting on the world to catch up to us.
Q:What's it been like working with Andre Harrell? He's a legend in the industry, so being groomed by someone of his stature must be an amazing experience.
A: (Anthony) It's just a wonderful experience. He's a legend, he brought us Jodeci, Guy, Mary J, Robin Thicke, Diddy, and the list goes on. He's created superstars and just having him as a mentor is phenomenal cause he's like coach. We call him coach, and we're like the players on the court. And he's giving us the handbook. So it's a wonderful thing.
Q:What's your schedule on the tour like? How do y'all get pumped up? How do y'all wind down? What's your routine like?
A: (Marcus) There's never a dull moment, never. It's to the point that we have to remind people that we need to eat! So it's a lot of fun, a lot of cameras, a lot of screaming. I see why it's called the Scream Tour. It's energy, it's very energetic.
Q:Tell us some more about your new music. What else can we expect to hear?
A: (Royce P) We got the EP coming up, October 11. It's got "Piece of My Love" on there, and "Hard IN the Paint." Everybody's looking for that "Hard In the Paint."
(Anthony) And we did the Jermaine Dupri remix of "A Thing Called Us." We had to get JD on that. We shot the video and it was like a party. Set was dope, JD hopped on the turntables and it was fun. So there's new music.
(Marcus) It's a lot of surprises coming! We not gonna tell y'all everything, but just off the Scream Tour, the doors are opening like this.
Q:Does that mean some pretty big collaborations are on the horizon?
A: (Marcus) Don't tell him nothing! We won't expose. It's a big field of surprises.
Q:As 2011 comes to a close, what does 2012 look like for Hamilton Park?
A: (Chris) Right now we've got the EP, after that we'll be doing the mixture, sometime in 2012, and then the album will be dropping. The fanbase will be growing, multiplying and still doing our thing all around the States.
(Marcus) A lot of these deals we're talking about now will be solidified, so you'll be seeing us.
Q:It's interesting that you guys are talking about dropping an EP, then a mixture and THEN an album. The recording process has changed so much. Before, artists just dropped a single and then the album followed. Do you think this shift is for the better?
A: (Royce P) I think that's a significant part of artistry, as far as being able to have the opportunity to grow. When you think of Jackson 5, they grew, and of course Michael did his thing. But when you think of certain groups, you had the chance to see them go from here to there. I think we have a special story and people are gonna hear it.