“My dad is a gospel singer. He still sings gospel but not as much. I guess [he] inspired me to say, ‘Wow, if my dad can go out there now, at almost 50 years old, and make music, what’s stopping me?’ It was definitely a part of what pushed me. I actually ended up using one of his engineers for some of my earlier music.” Rocky Road The beginnings of this wild, improbable run go all the way back to when he was born on April 9, 1999, in Lithia Springs, Georgia, a small city of roughly 18,000 residents that is about a 25-minute drive west of the state capital of Atlanta. The youngest of six, his parents Robert Stafford and Shawnita Hathaway named himMontero Lamar Hill. From the get-go, his life was challenging and complicated. Hill’s parents divorced when he was six, and the years that followed were spent bouncing from home to home, rarely feeling safe and secure when his head touched the pillow each night. While in elementary school, Hill spent time living with his mom and grandmother in Bankhead Courts, one of a string of housing projects that popped up around Atlanta in the 1970s and ‘80s. Constructed on top of a former landfill, it was a notoriously dangerous area filled with one-parent homes mired in poverty and offering bleak futures to the people living there. Individuals harboring bad intentions lurked everywhere, and it’s not a slice of his childhood that has happy memories attached to it. Hill eventually escaped the housing projects, moving in with his father, who later gained custody of him. Austell, Georgia, was his new home and represented a new beginning to a life that had been draped in hardship. His father was a gospel singer, so music was imprinted on Hill’s life early on, and he soon displayed a gift for singing and songwriting. He discovered comfort and creativity in his bedroom closet, hunkering down in there to write songs.


a star is born

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