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Hamilton Park


Hamilton Park may have honed their vocal skills while singing in their church choirs, but they are much more than just four guys who share a love for singing. They are a brotherhood born on the basketball courts of Hamilton Park Recreation Center in Atlanta. Hamilton Park, which is made up of Anthony, Mr. Marcus Lee, Chris Voice and Royce P, turned to both music and basketball as a way to avoid trouble in the streets of Atlanta, and remain on the path of following their dreams. Never once did H.P., imagine that the endless time spent playing basketball, or singing for hours on end, would later lead to being discovered by legendary music mogul Andre Harrell through his partnership with Radio One’s “Superstar Soul Search,” becoming the first group signed to his label, Harrell Records.
In 2010, Andre Harrell and Radio One launched the “Superstar Soul Search” in Atlanta, with the grand prize being a recording contract with Harrell Records. H.P. unfortunately missed the registration deadline, but fate would soon bring the four another chance to perform in front of Harrell. While on a radio promo tour for the competition throughout Atlanta, Harrell heard more and more about H.P. from every radio station he visited. After a visit to Atlanta station WHTA, Harrell learned that the Southeast Regional Manager for Atlantic Records, Yancey Richardson, who had been with him throughout this promo tour, was actually one of the managers of H.P. Harrell reached out to Yancey to set up a meeting with his partner Frame and the group for an impromptu performance. “They reminded me of Jodeci,” said Harrell, who then collected their music and decided to allow them to perform the national anthem at the finals. They were church boys, but they were masculine. I liked their relationship with each other and the way the blended in and out. They looked like a superstar group to me. … They’re like four heads thinking as one.” After H.P.’s rendition blew the entire audience away, Harrell realized they deserved a recording contract more than the other contestants, knowing that with his musical genius combined with H.P.’s potential, the outcome could be extraordinary. “They were better ready to come out with a record than any other contestant who was there,” said Harrell, who was responsible for discovering Diddy. “They had their production team in place. They were ready to go. They were like, ‘Let’s go.’”

Legendary record breaker DJ Smallz speaks bluntly regarding his feelings on R&B quartet Hamilton Park. “They are the future,” he says.

Given the killer-bee-buzz surrounding members Royce P., Anthony, Chris Voice and Mr. Markus Lee, Smallz’s opinion of the four Georgia native friends could be considered confirmation rather than prediction. “We have four lead singers,” says Chris Voice, “whatever the record needs that’s what the record is going to get. You’re not going to get one of us singing a whole song. With our four leads we know how to blend them. We’re not just screaming at you on a track, we’re not all screaming at you during our shows. Everyone is blending real nice. I feel like that’s been missing in R&B these days.”

“These days” could be in for a change. The first act signed to Harrell Records, the newly minted imprint from iconic record executive Andre Harrell, Hamilton Park has the opportunity to follow the success of other Harrell finds such as Mary J. Blige, Guy, and Jodeci.

More importantly, they follow a lineage of quartets dating decades before their professional and physical existence. The four-piece set, more often described as four-part harmony, grew in popularity during the World War II era thanks to pioneering groups like The Four Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots. Their groundwork in vocal layering paved a road directly to mid-1950s doo wop, which saw hit makers The Turbans drive up the charts. As demand for this style grew more four-member groups emerged.

By the 1960s a change was in order. A catchy hook with well-placed shoo-bops paired with croon-heavy harmonizing was no longer a guaranteed sell, especially once listeners got wind of the sultry hot front of rhythm and blues being blown across the country by The Famous Flames. The yet uncrowned Godfather of Soul, James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Lloyd Stallworth, and Bobby Bennett were edgier, sexier, with a heck of a lot more wop than doo. The same could be said for Motown’s own foursome, The Four Tops. The dazzling Detroit natives mixed pop sensibility with gospel-influenced R&B; they and the Flames set a fruitful trend that carried over to groups like Blue Magic in the 70s and The Whispers in the 80s. Their fast records turned dance floor dwellers to jelly while their ballads ushered in spreadable slow jams.

Their 90s descendants were well-groomed to carry the torch, and none held the flame higher than Boyz II Men and Jodeci. Both sets of four utilized the 1940s to 1980s eras’ fundamentals while adding sound variations of their own, each style ripe for their new-jack, hip-hop-inspired time period. The four-piece set reached higher than ever. In the years following the rise of Jodeci and Boyz II Men not many others had the strength–vocally nor in terms of marketability– to climb up after them. When Harrell discovered Hamilton Park in 2010 he immediately noticed these four young singers possessed no fear of heights.

Frame, Harrell Records’ Vice President, says their vision with Park was “to develop a group of boys that would use music as a tool to learn life lessons and agreeably contribute to the commentary of the American music experience with fearless, unrestricted expressions from the heart. Enable themselves to enhance the quality of life for their families and gain influence to put ‘love back into the universe,’ as Andre Harrell would say.”

How Chris describes himself and his group mates: “I’m the crooner. Anthony is the sincere one; he’s got that seasoning voice. Mr. Markus has got that freak nasty, it’s-time-to-do-it voice. And Royce P. is going to just bring down the heavens. Period. And those four tones make up Hamilton Park.” Frame adds, “Hamilton Park is the singing group of this Generation.”

Hamilton Park’s tones have made their singles “Computer Love,” “Thing Called Us,” and “Derriere” must-play hits, building anticipation for whatever their future holds while also honoring the generations of singers who came before them.

Hamilton Park may have a promising career ahead, but how does their past play into this potential? In closing, each member tells SoulTrain.com why they decided to become singers– the beginning of the future.

Hamilton Park, which is made up of Anthony, Mr. Marcus Lee, Chris Voice and Royce P, turned to both music and basketball as a way to avoid trouble in the streets of Atlanta, and remain on the path of following their dreams
In 2010, Andre Harrell and Radio One launched the “Superstar Soul Search” in Atlanta, with the grand prize being a recording contract with Harrell Records H.P. unfortunately missed the registration deadline, but fate would soon bring the four another chance to perform in front of Harrell
While on a radio promo tour for the competition throughout Atlanta, Harrell heard more and more about H.P. from every radio station he visited
After a visit to Atlanta station WHTA, Harrell learned that the Southeast Regional Manager for Atlantic Records, Yancey Richardson, who had been with him throughout this promo tour, was actually one of the managers of H.P.
Harrell reached out to Yancey to set up a meeting with his partner Frame and the group for an impromptu performance
They were signed immediately after that performance
For the next four years, the four members spet time at the Hamilton Park Recreation Center & Park in Scottdale, Ga., where they spent vigorous hours learning their strengths and weaknesses as a group, building camaraderie and teamwork during pick-up games on the basketball court
The four named themselves Hamilton Park, paying homage to the area where their bond progressively became more intact

 

Hip Hop/RNB

Thing Called Us

Members of this Group


mistyn12

paula_elaine

EuroGirl

Goldenboy


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