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Kidsday interviews Hamilton Park

425) The music group Hamilton Park (from left)

425) The music group Hamilton Park (from left) Royce P, Anthony, Chris Voice, and Mr. Marcus Lee with Kidsday reporters (from left) Alex Young and Christina Young and Joelle Wellington, all from Brooklyn. They were backstage at the Best Buy Theater in Manhattan, Nov. 19, 2011. Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We had the best night ever when we went backstage at the Best Buy Theater for the Scream Tour in Manhattan recently. The concert featured Hamilton Park, Diggy Simmons and Mindless Behavior.

We were able to talk with the four members of Hamilton Park.

You started out singing in church. Do you have a favorite church hymn or song?

ROYCE P.: I like to sing "I Won't Complain" because sometimes you have your good days and your bad days but through it all you just thank God seeing you through. So my favorite song would be "I Won't Complain."

ANTHONY: My favorite gospel song or hymn would have to be "I Need You Now." That's also my mother's favorite.

CHRIS VOICE: I would have to sing "I'm Encouraged" because it gets hard out there sometimes

MR. MARCUS LEE: Mine would have to be "Create In Me". I have to be renewed every morning, I have to pray every morning.

How did you meet?

CHRIS VOICE: We pretty much met playing basketball at Hamilton Park, which is a recreational center on the eastside of Atlanta, Ga., where we used to spend a whole lot of time as young men. We just started practicing our singing there as well as in church.

Tell us about Hamilton Park.

CHRIS VOICE: Hamilton Park could be whatever place.

ANTHONY: What we have learned while traveling around the United States is that almost every city has a Hamilton Park. It could be that place where you want to go -- you've got to work things out mentally.

ROYCE P.: Our HP was real special.

Are you in the studio working on a new CD?

MR. MARCUS LEE: Currently we are not. We are enjoying on the tour now. Most artists go on tour and record. We just want to focus right now on the music we have. We are focusing the EP that we have out which is self-titled "Hamilton Park."

ANTHONY: As soon as we get off the road, we'll get to the studio and right back working.

CHRIS VOICE: We'll be supplying out with a mixed tape -- I will say that.

What is the one unique thing about each of you that your fans don't know?

ROYCE P.: They have an interesting way of finding out stuff.

ANTHONY: I would say for me, I don't know, I like gummy bears.

MR. MARCUS LEE: For me, a lot of people don't know I know how to play the keyboards.

CHRIS VOICE: A lot of people don't know that I miss my hair. I miss it badly.

ROYCE P.: A lot of people probably don't know that I'm extremely, extremely goofy.

As a group do you always agree when you make artistic decisions?

MR. MARCUS LEE: No but the disagreements sometimes make another pain. Sometimes disagreeing on something makes us challenge and get something better. It's a plus sometimes and it's a bad thing.

How did you come up with Hamilton Park as your group name?

CHRIS VOICE: We just pretty much decided to go with the name because of the time that we spent at Hamilton Park. We always used to meet up there whenever we weren't doing anything to play basketball, but we also use to meet there to talk. Just talk about things. We could have been named anything. We could have been named Those Guys Over There Singing. But at the end of the day Hamilton Park was, that name was valuable to us and we wanted to give what we got at Hamilton Park. We wanted to bring it to the rest of the world.

MR. MARCUS LEE: Hamilton Park is more than just a name for us especially for Chris and me. We were heading down the wrong path, but music pulled us back and focused and gave us a decision to do. So Hamilton Park is more than just a name.

What was it like working with Jermaine Dupri on a "Thing Called Us" video?

ROYCE: Wow, that was cool man.

MR. MARCUS LEE: JD actually brought his own girl to the video shoot.

CHRIS VOICE: And on the screen tour in Atlanta he came out to perform but we didn't really know. We had seen him there on the stage in the middle of the choreography. We'd just seen a guy coming out, , "Who's that walking on the stage?"

ANTHONY: I would say it was definitely a pleasure working with him and people such as Andre Harrell as well. As you know, we also sang with Andre Harrell. They're legends in the game, especially Jermaine Dupri. Just being able to work with him, we looked up to Jagged Edge. We still look up to Jagged Edge. At the EP release party, Jagged Edge was there and they really pour into us. Just a wonderful thing. Just somewhere from a group that you look up to, be there on a very special day. That was great.

What are your major inspirations for your music?

ROYCE P.: I would start off with the major inspiration. It would have to definitely be my mom. She stuck with me through a lot of trouble. But she's definitely one inspiration and I think I can speak for everybody to say our moms.

ANTHONY: I would say the faces that we see right here. Bright, just the wonderful smiles. I think that's inspiration enough to know that our music or the music that we make can actually put a smile on someone else's face and I think that's one of the most important things for us.

MR. MARCUS LEE: Earlier we were driving up the street. Anthony rolled down the window to throw something, that's illegal, and there was like a group of girls and they said, "There goes Hamilton Park" and they started screaming and that's good that people appreciate you and the stuff that you do.

CHRIS VOICE: But I think our story is just the thing that keeps us going with our goals and things. At the end of the day, there's a story, a beautiful story amongst the four of us. Like single-parent homes, close calls with the law, stuff like that. At the end of the day, God prevails. We come to our stage and pray at all times, like we said we sing in church all the time, so it's definitely inspiration right there, too.

Behind music, what is your favorite activity?

ROYCE P.: Basketball.

MR. MARCUS LEE: I like to get on my video games. Oh, my new pastime is Skype.

CHRIS VOICE: I like watching zombie movies. I don't want to be a zombie, I want to be the dude who kills the zombies.

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