Anthony Hamilton on being the father of six sons: ‘I’ve seen it all’

theGRIO REPORT - To millions, Anthony Hamilton is recognized as an award-winning singer with a soulful voice and arresting vocals – but to his six children, he is simply 'dad'...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

To millions, Anthony Hamilton is best known as an award-winning singer with a soulful voice and arresting vocals – but to his six children, he is simply “dad.”

The Grammy-winning performer, who has released five studio albums, is the father of six boys.  Yet, despite his busy schedule – which currently includes work on a Christmas album and collaboration with Drake on an upcoming song – Hamilton puts his family on the forefront.

As the patriarchal leader of a clan of young boys who range in age from 1 to 24, Hamilton only hopes to continue to provide the proper support and guidance to rear his six sons into strong and respectable men.

“I’ve seen it all,” Hamilton tells theGrio in a phone interview. “I’ve experienced every level of fatherhood you can imagine. And along the way, I’ve instilled the right type of fear and morals, it’s been beautiful.”

The lessons, importance of being a father

For Hamilton, fatherhood has been a blessing – a journey that he says has taught him how to be a better man, father and husband.

“I’ve learned to have a lot of patience, I’ve also learned where I lack as a man and a father and where I’ve matured with each child,” he says. “I’ve seen my growth. Understanding myself and them is the most beautiful thing.”

Hamilton says that fatherhood has exposed him to many lessons that have helped to make him the man he is today– a dad who understands the importance of the influence he has on his children and how that will help shape the men they will one day become.

“The best part of fatherhood is seeing someone who resembles you and watching them sleep and be with you for however long God allows and we’re connected the whole time. It’s so beautiful to see, just watching them grow,” he says.

Aside from the experiences fatherhood has exposed him to, Hamilton says he hopes his children also pick up a few key lessons along the way.

“I hope that they learn that anything is possible and that they have faith in God and themselves and that that alone can help them exceed any expectations,” he says. “I hope that they learn that love is always available and that they should always seek it. I hope they learn balance in working extremely hard and learning how to take time out to enjoy it.”

From fatherless to fatherhood

Growing up in Charlotte, NC, Hamilton discovered his talent at a young age and began singing in his church choir at 10 years old.

He built a strong connection with music and religion during this time – but admits that his bond with his biological father was not as strong.

“Most of his attention went elsewhere instead of focusing on me like I really wanted to,” he says. “For close to 12 years I didn’t even call him. I ended up getting adopted at 15, into a family with a mother and father who were really loving and nurturing and from there I was able to heal a lot and have that father figure show me and guide me.”

After not being present for much of his childhood, Hamilton says his adoptive parents more than filled the void of his biological father’s absence.

More than a decade passed since Hamilton communicated with his dad – and while his mother encouraged him to reach out, he says he never felt the need to do so.

It wasn’t until he met and married his wife in 2005 that Hamilton was finally convinced to reconnect with his father.

“My wife wanted to meet my biological father,” he says. “She wanted to identify where I came from, so I called him.”