Personnel: Anthony Hamilton (vocals); Dolo Pichino, Macy Gray, Sunshine Anderson (vocals); Kelvin Wooten (guitar, organ, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards, vibraphone, bass instrument, drums); Erick Walls (guitar); Ron Feemster (strings, piano); Jacques Schwarz-Bart (horns); Ron Feenster (piano); Jimane Nelson (Fender Rhodes piano, organ); Erik "Baby Jesus" Coomes (bass instrument); Billi Redd (percussion, background vocals); Swiff (programming); Eric Krasno, Shawn Cruise (guitar); Adam Deitch (drums); Mark Sparks (programming).
Audio Mixers: Doug Mayhem; Claudio Cueni; Douglas Coleman; Mike Caren; Manny Marroquin; Bruce Irvine; Mike Shipley.
Liner Note Author: Hua Hsu.
Recording information: Chung King Studios, New York, NY (1999-2001); Larrabee North Studios, North Hollywood, CA (1999-2001); Mama Jo's Studios, North Hollywood, CA (1999-2001); Ocean Recording, Burbank, CA (1999-2001); Reflection Sound Studios, Charlotte, NC (1999-2001); Right Track Studios, North Hollywood, CA (1999-2001); Westlake Studios, Hollywood, CA (1999-2001).
Photographer: Josh Rothstein.
Despite a remarkably soulful voice somewhere between Teddy Pendergrass and Bill Withers, and a knack for penning breathtakingly original songs about love and life's misdirections, North Carolinian Anthony Hamilton spent almost a decade toiling in music's backlots. His critically hailed MCA debut, XTC, foretold the neo-soul movement, but came years before the genre's explosion in 1996. Seven years later, Hamilton finished his dues-paying and sold millions of records for Arista with the excellent COMIN' FROM WHERE I'M FROM.
In between, Hamilton landed at the independent Soulife Records. As evidenced by the recordings collected and remixed in 2005 on SOULIFE, the relationship agreed with the young singer-songwriter as he honed his singular style. Tortured love odes "Ol' Keeper" and "Love is So Complicated" show off Hamilton's malleable, soul-drenched voice, which has become famous for playing off others as he does here with Macy Gray on the sultry "Love and War" and with then-labelmate Sunshine Anderson on the old-school "Last Night." His storytelling skills are on full display on "Georgie Parker," which glides right into the exquisite island ballad "Day Dreamin'." SOULIFE captures an artist on the precipice of long-awaited success, bringing to deserved light some beautiful compositions.