The premiere jewel of unsigned artists, Anthony Antoine is taking his music and mission to another level with the independent release of his new CD Songs From My Closet. Newark, New Jersey native Anthony Antoine, which is his birth-given first and middle name, embarks upon his fifth CD release with an innovative and provocative blend of pop, dance and hip-hop music. Is the music industry ready? Is millennium mainstream ready for the first openly gay, black male pop artist?
On Songs From My Closet, Anthony Antoine, whose multitude of influences include the songwriting talents of Babyface to the musicianship and courage of Me'Shelle Ndegeocello, tackles a host of issues and boldly promote experiences often unaddressed in popular music. Appreciation of diversity, taboo discussions and relationships and gay sex are prevalent themes within Anthony's music which has been described as a voice for a silenced and often times silent community, a substantial record buying community who want to hear songs that reflects the morale and spirit of which they live.
Having been recording and producing music now for over fifteen years and writing lyrics and melody even longer, Anthony has had time to develop his craft while establishing an internal integrity that now reflects in his songs. In the hip-hop era of "keepin' it real" and against scores of new artist that are reproductions of what's already selling, Antoine "keeps it real" by molding a niche in the industry like few artists before him. Anthony Antoine has found his audience by self producing and distributing his own music without record label dollars and support. The result is an unfiltered truth and innovation of music clearly ready for major label distribution and sales.
The self-proclaimed child of the eighties and eighties music began his industry career after a gutsy move to London, England at the age of seventeen. "I remember listening to Janet Jackson's Control while riding on the plane to England. I wanted to create a story to tell for my life similar to young Madonna's move to New York." Immediately, his move, what Anthony considers his college years placed him in the heart of London's music scene where Anthony became a top session vocalist and rapper, working with some of London's best including Paul Hardcastle, producer of the Billboard top 20 hit "19". After winning a talent show judged by the top producer by singing Bobby Brown's My Perogative, Paul Hardcastle produced Anthony's first release Swing by The Deff Boyz featuring Tony Mac, one of Anthony's pseudonyms derived from the players of the European music industry insisting that the American boy with the American accent in London should rap. Swing, Anthony's first release became an instant international dance club hit charting Top 40 on Billboard's Dance Chart and broke top 40 on numerous European music charts.
Over the next few years, Anthony lived much of his dreams of pop stardom becoming a recognizable artist in Europe releasing two more singles, his first self-headed effort titled What's Goin' Down and the jazz influenced Under Your Spell with London born international jazz artist Ronny Jordan, both under the pseudonym Truth Anthony. With songs in radio rotation, videos on MTV and a strenuous European tour schedule, Anthony landed a gig as opening act for C&C Music Factory on their European tour. Anthony considers these years of his career as laying the foundation for his home in the music industry today.
Moving back to America to be closer to family and regroup, Anthony attended then graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Dallas obtaining a Music and Video Business Degree. More importantly, Anthony took advantage of the much-needed side bar to a demanding career to come to terms with his sexuality. "I realize now that if I had achieved the level of success that I wanted in London, I would probably be a very closeted and unhappy person now. That level of success, regardless of any amount of money I could have made would have prevented me from coming to terms with my sexuality, the single most profound "self-work" that fuels my happiness today." Anthony wanted to capture this sentiment, his achieved inner peace and his triumph in the face of adversity within his music.
The initial capture of this new outlook and the culmination of his "college years" in London living his dreams of stardom, graduating from The Art Institute of Dallas and the ongoing process of "coming out" was Anthony Antoine's fourth CD release and his reentry into the music business. Similar to the spirit that energized James Brown, Aretha Franklin and so much music that paralleled the Black Struggle in the 60's, Anthony's fourth release plays like a soundtrack of triumph in the face of his experienced adversity. In 1999, Dante's Got A Man Too, a title motivated by the Chante Moore hit Chante's Got A Man became a gay club smash and Anthony's proudest project to date. Independently produced and released, the success and more imperative the feedback that Anthony received from Dante's Got A Man Too made it clear that he was on to something, Anthony had found his niche in music and the music industry.
Dante's Got A Man Too and now the latest release Songs From My Closet are all a part of a mission for this music pioneer and activist spirit. Utilizing the universal language of music as his vehicle, Anthony Antoine educates with his entertainment, what he calls EDUTAINMENT - a word he coined for his music, work and life's mission. Anthony considers his music an intervention for social change especially with reference to the respect and acceptance of gays and lesbians and honors the intervention that music has motivated in his life.
Today, Anthony Antoine lives and works in Atlanta as a HIV/AIDS educator and activist for AID Atlanta, the largest non-profit AIDS service organization in the Southeast Region. His work for the organization allows him to facilitate discussions and workshops for issues that his music addresses and has established Anthony as an icon in Atlanta's black gay community. He has been featured as an educator and activist on Atlanta and national radio and print which all supports his career in music. Partnering with his line of business in music and his career in sexual health education, Anthony Antoine also completes the trio The Adodi Muse - A Gay Negro Ensemble - a traveling poetry performance group performing in-your-face edutainment that utilizes poetry, music and performance to entertain and facilitate social change interventions.
"I understand now that everything happens for a reason. Then was not my time. Now is my time. I'm grounded and happy, happier than I've ever been in my life." Anthony defines a degree of happiness, as "being paid well, well enough to sustain your desired level of living for something that you would do regardless, something you would do for free. I breathe, live and eat music. It's in me. Music makes me happy and I'm ready for the success that I've worked so hard for." Is the music industry ready? Anthony Antoine's biography and accomplishments articulate that the industry cannot afford to not be ready. Is millennium mainstream ready for the first openly gay black male pop artist? The answer still remains to be seen however what is ever apparent with this groundbreaking artist is that Anthony Antoine's talent, music, and intervention coupled with his drive and persistence are all forces that has not and will not be denied.