All genres, all styles
Born in Washington, DC and raised “inside the beltway”, singer/songwriter Wayne Hamilton started working in rock & roll bands as a drummer in the early 1960s, singing lead and banging out R&B rhythms for dance audiences all over the DC Metro area. In the days before electronic samplers and synthesizers, he learned the value of a steady beat and a strong voice.
When he entered college in the Appalachian mountains of southwestern Virginia, “soul” music was all the rage, and the lessons learned in his high school years helped him put together a blue-eyed soul group with powerful horns and tight vocal harmonies. Surrounded by string-pickin’ Appalachian musicians, he was exposed to traditional, old-time and Bluegrass music, so he picked up the guitar and enjoyed playing the sounds of the then-popular folk movement. He met Pete Seeger and Elizabeth Cotten, who inspired him to begin writing his own songs. He also received formal training as a tenor and sang in the college’s touring choir.
Wayne later earned an MFA degree from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, where he worked in what was then (early 1970s) the only 16-track tape recording studio in the state. He sang radio jingles, did voiceover work and wrote backup vocal parts for many commercials.
After finishing his degree work, he began a career as a college theater professor and actor/singer, performing in and directing a wide variety of musical productions. Wayne taught at VCU, in the Music Department of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland and at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was later on the theater faculty at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities before he left the teaching profession. Throughout those years, he performed and directed professionally when his teaching schedule allowed.
In 1998, Wayne released his first CD. Since then, he has released three additional CDs and three EP collections. Another CD is scheduled for release in 2021. FREE downloads of over 50 of Wayne’s songs are available at waynehamilton.com. Most of his collections include co-writes.
Wayne served as President of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters from 2007-2015. He is a member of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the Songwriters of Wisconsin (SOWI) and the Minnesota Music Coalition. Wayne has also served on the boards of the Twin Cities New Folk Collective, the Minnesota Blues Society snd Minnesota Bluegrass (AKA MBOTMA).
In December of 2008, Wayne was named by FolkAlley.com as that month’s “Folk Spoke” for his community support for and involvement in acoustic music. He founded the local Twin Cities chapter of Just Plain Folks (JPF), an international, online music-networking organization, in 1999. JPF named the Twin Cities Chapter as “Chapter of the Year” and Wayne as “Coordinator of the Year” in its 2000 JPF awards. JPF nominated Wayne’s debut CD, Lucky That Way, as “Best Traditional Folk CD” in 2001; the title cut was also nominated as “Best Traditional Folk Song.”
Wayne was a finalist in the New Folk Songwriting Contest at the Minnesota Folk Festival for three years running (1999 – 2001), in the 2001 UNISONG International Songwriting Contest, in the Highway 61 Folk Festival for two years running (2001-2002), in the SOWI songwriting contest in 2014, in the Great River Folk Festival in 2015 and in the Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series in 2016. In addition, his song titled “Lucky That Way” was featured in a 2005 commercial for Holland Casinos on television stations throughout the Netherlands.
Wayne currently performs in an eclectic Americana duo called Two Tone with co-writer and fellow MAS member Doug Millaway. Released in March of 2021, FREE downloads of 10 new songs by Doug and Wayne are available at twotoneduo.com. Please visit twotoneduo.com to learn more about this award-winning group.
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