Call Hal Linton just another R&B act and you’re simply not listening. While rooted in traditional R&B sensibilities of Motown’s halcyon days, the multi-talented, 24 year old singer/songwriter’s modern take on the genre means he is carving his own musical lane.
Hal Linton, whose musical styling cannot be boxed in or contained, was born in Barbados to classically trained musician parents, soaking up the music of sounds of musical geniuses including Al Green, Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye. Coming up in the local music scene, Linton would release an independent album, Spirit:Life:Love, to critical acclaim. In 2007, said album won multiple Barbados Music Awards including Pop Artist of the Year (which he would win again in 2008), Song of the Year (“Cardiac Arrest”) and Songwriter of the Year.
After moving to New York to pursue his music career dreams stateside, the sweet voiced Linton aligned with SRP Records, the same team that discovered fellow Bajan artists Rihanna and Shontelle, and was signed by Universal Motown Records President Sylvia Rhone in late 2008.
Since then Linton has been crafting and perfecting his debut album, Return from the Future. Rocking a stage is also one of Linton’s greatest gifts and he has gained fans the last year touring the U.S. with Estelle and Solange Knowles. There have also been star launching performances that include electrifying renditions of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” at the 2009 Soul Train Awards and a Motown dedicated NFL halftime show (on Thanksgiving Day), and a talent revealing showcase on BET’s Rising Icons.
With his vocals likened to a seamless mix of Maxwell, D’Angelo and Prince, it goes without saying Linton’s musical back will be up to par. Return from the Future’s production fits the bill with contributions from Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, The Fugees, Jazmine Sullivan), Jim Jonsin (T.I., Lil Wayne), Bruno Mars and SRP’s Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken.
One of the Return from the Future’s standout tracks is the Remi and Jonsin produced “Southern Hospitality” which was written by Rico Love (Chris Brown, Beyonce, Usher) and Robin Thicke. Other notable tracks, which also demonstrate his versatility, include the vibrantly bumping “Lock My Heart Down”, “Mind Control” and the beautiful, key laden ballad “Abandoned Heart.”
“Mind Control” is the new single from Hal Linton!
In this exclusive interview for our Black Music Month ‘Interview Series,’ Hal speaks on his new album, growing up in Barbados, Working with Sylvia Rhone, his influences and more!
UrbanBridgez.com: What was the best part about recording your new album?
Hal Linton: The ability to give each song TLC [Tender Loving Care].
UrbanBridgez.com: What is the theme of your album and what will people walk away with after listening to it?
Hal Linton: Something familiar, but yet from the future. Something sensual and sexy.
UrbanBridgez.com: Name the top three songs that you feel when people hear they will want the whole album?
Hal Linton: “Southern Hospitality”, “Mind Control”, and “Abandoned Heart”.
UrbanBridgez.com: How do you think growing up in Barbados prepared you for a career in music?
Hal Linton: It made me the most chilled person ever and having a chilled head is needed in this fast paced music industry. That peaceful state is imprinted in my personality. It helps me deal with pressure.
UrbanBridgez.com: How is it working with Sylvia Rhone?
Hal Linton: Hard, beautiful, educational, and inspiring.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are your influences?
Hal Linton: Take 6, Prince, Raphael Saadiq, Mark Ronson, D’Angelo, The Fugees, The Beetles, and James Brown.
UrbanBridgez.com: Where do you see yourself and career in five years?
Hal Linton: I’m yet to discover that, buy my objective is to go on a journey. I’m just trying to be open-minded.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for you outside of music?
Hal Linton: Definitely, film and hopefully directing and acting.
Any last words for your fans?
Hal Linton: If there was a word better than Love, I would use it. Thank you for all the support. Keep listening and watching.