Anissa "Big Sexy" Hampton gravitated toward performing at a young age, singing in front of the mirror when she was 2 years old, so says her mother. After a career singing background vocals for artists such as Willie Clayton, Calvin Richardson and the Keeshea Pratt, she elected roughly four years ago to stand centerstage as a soloist and as of two years ago lead Anissa Hampton and the H Funk band. Born in Chicago, she and her family moved to Jackson when she was about 10 years old and have remained in the area ever since.
Growing up, Hampton was surrounded by music. The household had a collection of several dozen vinyl records, encompassing a number of genres like blues, soul and more. Her father Charles Hampton Sr. was a country music fan, so she grew up hearing artists like Shania Twain, Randy Travis and Dolly Parton. Hampton herself, however, loved artists like Whitney Houston and Anita Baker, and she owned all of their releases on cassette tapes. As a group, Anissa Hampton and the H Funk band primarily describes itself as playing within R&B and southern soul genres, largely thanks to her upbringing. "I've been exposed to all these genres, so I feel that I should play those genres in my performances and (have them) in my repertoire of music," she says.
She graduated from Provine High School in 1990 and then attended Tougaloo College, where she began pursuing music more actively. After a hiatus from school, she enrolled in Jackson State University, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2011 and a Master's degree in Technology Education in 2014. She currently works as an Administrative Assistant in JSU's graduate studies department, while she works toward a second Master's in Hazardous Materials, which she is set to receive this December.
In her spare time, Hampton enjoys attending the live performances of fellow local artists. "I really like to be laid back, listen to their shows, see how their crowd gets happy and excited. It's pretty much supporting them as well," she says. "... A lot of them have started coming to my shows, so it's like us showing them support when they show you support. We're trying to keep that up locally so that we can let each other know how we appreciate them and they appreciate us." Hampton notes how the local music scene in Jackson is a community and that she is thankful to be a part of it. "To me, it lets me know that I'm not out there by myself. It lets me know that people outside of family are supporting me, and a lot of the artists in Jackson need that because there are so many of us in this type of genre of music, in R&B and blues, and it's a lot coming up. So it's just something that's very comforting to have," she says.
Anissa Hampton's next performance will be at Johnny T's on Oct. 18 starting at 10 p.m. For more information, find Anissa Hampton on her Facebook page under Anissa Hampton Plus.
By: Nate Schumann
Wednesday, October 2, 2019