'The Voice' winner Cam Anthony on Detroit: 'It feels like home'

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

It's been one year since genre-defying singer Cam Anthony won it all on the 20th season of NBC's hit singing competition, "The Voice," beating out Romeo's Rachel Mac along the way, and the dynamic young singer is eager to show people what he can do.

Luckily, Detroit will get a front-row seat. The Philadelphia native, 20, releases his debut single, "Keep It Between Us," on Friday and will perform it the same day as part of a 7:15-8 p.m. set Friday on the Ford Main Stage at the African World Festival, which returns this weekend to Detroit's Hart Plaza. 

"I'm so excited," said Anthony, who also will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," aka the "Black National Anthem," during the festival's opening ceremony which begins at 4 p.m. Friday. "This will really be my first show since the release."

Cam Anthony, who won Season 20 of "The Voice," is scheduled to perform Friday at the African World Festival.

Anthony has significant ties to Detroit with most of his management team based in the city and he travels here often. He said he loves Detroit because it reminds him of home. 

"It has a very creative feel to it," said Anthony. "I got to really explore DIME (Detroit Institute of Music Education) when they were open and running. I was able to just see the diverse minds and the creatives just at work, learning and working on their craft. It made me very excited. And I've been able to perform there a few times. I really got to get a feel for the people. It feels like home."

Anthony wowed audiences on "The Voice" last year, singing everything from Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy" to "Feeling Good." Mac, the teen from Romeo, made it to the finals but finished fourth.

But when it came to picking one genre for Anthony's sultry new single from Republic Records — an EP is to follow — Anthony said it actually wasn't that hard. 

"I don't think it's too complicated to necessarily figure out a way to go," he said. "Music is so diverse. You're able to jump across different genres and reach out in many different ways. I wanted to start with R&B because R&B is where my roots are but I wanted to definitely explore and EP will definitely show that."

For "Keep It Between Us," which has a definite funky vibe, Anthony worked with producer Black Monday among others.

"We wanted to make sure it was something personal and unique after the win on 'The Voice,'" he said.

Anthony was just an adolescent when his managers discovered him. Danny Love found Anthony on YouTube and showed his video to music manager Toya Hankins, who also manages renowned singer, Kem. They had an upcoming show in Washington, D.C., and needed an opening act.

"I got to open for that," said Anthony, who also is managed by Dawn Foster. "At first, they were a little hesitant. Danny just made sure, 'T, I promise this will be a great fit.' That was my first performance ever. And that's where I really started. They didn't become my managers until three years later but it was destined. You can tell it was meant to be."

Anthony has come a long since then. After winning "The Voice" in spring 2021, Anthony, who is now based in Los Angeles, has had to adjust to being recognized much more. But he's ready for what's next. He'll perform with his brother, Carter, a Philadelphia rapper, during his set Friday night at the African World Festival.

"I've got a good few things coming," said Anthony, who turns 21 later this summer. "...I'm really excited. I just can't wait. It's ready to go."


Cam Anthony at the African World Festival

7:15-8 p.m. Friday on the Ford Main Stage in Detroit's Hart Plaza.

Go to https://www.thewright.org/programs/wrights-39th-african-world-festival.