Anthony Hamilton on what’s missing in today’s R&B: Where’s the romance?

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has just finished a performance at Soul Train Awards Music Fest in Las Vegas, and he’s all smiles.

Walking into his dressing room backstage, he takes off his signature round black hat and throws on a colorful baseball cap with “POWER” embroidered on the front, then has a seat to rest his feet.

“Power” is word that makes sense for Hamilton: He’s got a powerful signature voice and plenty of staying power in a business that is always looking for the next best thing.

Asked what has helped him stay in the game for so long, Hamilton said, “I think being consistent with the quality and having quality work.”

In March, Hamilton released his fifth studio album, What I’m Feelin, and has been on the road with his infamous ‘Put Some Respek On It’ crew The HamilTones promoting it all 2016.

Hamilton purposely recorded the album in Nashville to give it a special sound. His last studio album, Back to Love, was in 2011 and he’s watched R&B music undergo plenty of change since then.

“The positive thing is it’s still around,” Hamilton told earlier this month. “It has longevity, and it still has life, and it’s still important in people’s lives, and they want to hear it.”

“The thing that’s missing is passion — and romance. I think that’s a big part of what’s missing in R&B.”

One look at the Billboard R&B charts reflects a shift: “One Dance” by Drake, “Fade” by Kanye West and “Do You Mind” by DJ Khaled and friends all have a place on the Top 10, next to more traditional R&B hits by Solange and John Legend.

But Hamilton still embraces change and recognizes a variety of talent.

“I like what’s happening,” Hamilton says. “ I like that new cats who are doing it, putting a new twist on it.”

His favorites include: Bryson Tiller, BJ the Chicago Kid, Anderson Paak, Ro James and Jazmine Sullivan.  

Many of these artists will take the stage at the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards, which airs November 27th on Centric.

Hamilton’s sound has always kept true to his soul roots, and he says he’ll keep delivering to the fans who have stuck with him over the years.  

“Over and over again, people start to trust you and they allow you to have a platform. And I just keep feeding them, and we keep eating and just keep loving on each other.”

Check out more of theGrio’s interview with Anthony Hamilton backstage at Soul Train Awards Music Fest and catch the 2016 Soul Train Awards on Centric, November 27th, 2016, at 8pm EST/7pm Central.