Ramone Hamilton is a force! He's an actor, voice actor, and singer. Ramone is from a family of entertainers and artists, but he's definitely forging his own, unique path. The 16-year-old is known for playing the leading voice of George in the Dreamworks Animated series "Captain Underpants," Coop in Disney Jr.'s "The Chicken Squad," AJ in Nickelodeon's "Blaze and The Monster Machines," and Crash Watkins in Ludacris's animated Netflix series "Karma's World." He can also be heard as the voice of young Joe Gardner (whose older version of the character is played by Jamie Foxx) in Disney's Academy Award-winning animated feature "Soul." Ramone additionally was cast as Axl in Universal Pictures' "The Grinch" and, most recently, in "Minions: The Rise of Gru."
Ramone was born into a long line of entertainers. He began his career in the footsteps of uncle and jazz icon Chico Hamilton and grandfather and actor Bernie Hamilton, also known as Captain Dobey from the popular 1970s series "Starsky and Hutch." At age 5, Ramone recorded an anti-bullying CD with jazz icon Patti Austin and, by seven years old, had performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. He went on to perform in Las Vegas with Michael Jackson Tribute artist Scorpio, at various iconic venues across Los Angeles, like The Troubadour and Whiskey A-Go-Go. He also appeared on air for "Good Morning Atlanta."
Recently, Ramone performed at the Coronet Theater with actress Megan Mullally, whom he met while working on an episode of the hit NBC comedy "Will & Grace." He can also be seen in "Devious Maids," "Hot in Cleveland," and "Modern Family," and heard in "Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure" and Cartoon Network's "Summer Camp Island."
We had the fantastic opportunity to catch up on the release of his Christmas single, "Don't Forget to Send a Christmas Card." We talked about his inspiration, the roles he's played so far, and what is coming up next. So, let's get started.
Have you always been super creative? It definitely runs in the family.
Yes, I have. I grew up surrounded by a lot of music and artistic expression and I wanted to do the same thing with my life. I was always putting on different costumes as a kid, dressing up as a firefighter, Batman, and always performing. I’ve always loved doing it.
What has it been like taking on so many voices from various characters? And does one character in particular stand out?
Playing all the different characters has been a blessing and a lot of fun. Growing up, I was a big fan of cartoons and I watched a lot of animation. So providing the voices and being a voice actor has really been a dream come true for me. One role that stands out would have to be my role of George Beard on “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants” on Netflix. I was a fan of the books growing up and I really enjoyed the movie that came out prior to the series. That was a character that I really had a lot of fun playing.
Tell us a bit about your training in voiceover acting.
“The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants” was my first voiceover role I’d ever gotten. But prior to booking that role, I’d been auditioning for voice overs for probably around 3 years and never booked or got a call back for a single voiceover audition. So one of my greatest teachers was experience. After that I took a voiceover class with Kristi Reed, a very well-known and successful voice director in the animation world. And she would later direct me on a show I did called “Summer Camp Island” on Cartoon Network. I also took a voiceover class from Carroll Day Kimble. And right after that I started booking a lot of animation.
Currently, you are focusing on music and acting. How would you describe your passion for both?
My passion is very deep for both. Music was always just as much a part of my life as acting was. I really love them both. They’re both different but they also have some of the same qualities with performance and handling nervousness. I like music because I can express myself in different ways. And in acting I can sort of detach from my reality and become someone other than who I am.
"On the surface the message is the title of the song, “Don’t Forget to Send a Christmas Card.” But deeper than that, it’s really a message about spending time with family, reconnecting with loved ones, and making sure you cherish the quality time you have with them." (Ramone Hamilton)
What are you learning about yourself through all your creative endeavors?
I’m learning the qualities of hard work, perseverance, and also that things take time. You don’t always get what you want, but if you work, you can achieve your goals.
What was the creative process like making a "Don't Forget to Send a Christmas Card?"
It was really fun. I had a good time. The song was written by grandfather, Bernie Hamilton who was an actor for over 50, most known for his role on ABC’s “Starsky & Hutch.” I really wanted to record a song for the holidays. So we went back into the “vault,” so to speak, and came across this song that my grandfather had written so long ago. I wound up re-recording it. We did new music to it, new production, and really just expanded upon the idea. And after we recorded it we also did the music video, which I wrote, edited, and directed. It was really fun.
Does the song have a special message?
On the surface the message is the title of the song, “Don’t Forget to Send a Christmas Card.” But deeper than that, it’s really a message about spending time with family, reconnecting with loved ones, and making sure you cherish the quality time you have with them.
Any special plans for Christmas?
We’re going to be traveling to New York to see some family. And I’m also going to be going back into the studio to record some music to be released in 2023.
How was it to film the music video for the single?
The process was really cool. It was the first music video that I’d ever done. So that was a different experience. I’ve directed short films, but this was different. It took a lot of organization and planning, trying to find locations and coming up with the concept of how I wanted to tell a narrative story within the song. But honestly, the song already tells a story so it kind of did that part of the job for me because of how good the lyrics were and how the lyrics painted a clear picture. So all I really had to do was come up with a few ideas and let the song do its job.
Can we expect more music in 2023?
Yes. I’m going to be going into the studio and recording 3 new songs to be released in 2023.
Im excited and looking forward to it!
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