Matthew 18:20, the Bible reads, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” This verse simply means when people come together in name of God, we call that church. When Inspirational artist, Antoinique’s voice comes together with her extraordinary writing gift, over the soulful essence of musical accompaniment, we get the glorious wonder of her debut album, “Church In The Park.”In her own words, Antonique’s new album “is the culmination of life events, a roller coaster of emotions and feelings, the passion for music, the Power of God, life and death, great times, hard times, and lots of hard work!”
With two powerful singles, “I Need You” and “Only You” leading the way, the road has been paved for Antoinique to step into the light as the future of inspirational music. With an amazing journey that includes the trials and tribulations of being a preacher’s kid, a stint in the military, and having a daughter born with a serious ailment, Antoinique’s story is truly one of tested and renewed faith.
Her awe-inspiring sound moves you to laugh, love, cry, smile, rejoice, and get lost in the groove. it was a joy to speak with Antoinique to get a glimplse into her world. Let’s just say we had a little church as we got into the “Church In The Park” experience.
When listening to the album, I really enjoyed it. I loved the infusion of jazz and r&b. Was that the intention of the project to give it more of that soulful feel rather than a traditional gospel album?
Antoinique: Absolutely. I just wanted to make it a really good album. I wasn’t focused on whether it would be gospel, jazz, or neo-soul. I was writing from the heart. I’ve had that in my heart and on my mind for the last twelve years.
Speaking of the last twelve years, what lives within you that made you want to pursue music in the first place?
Antoinique: My first inspiration to do music came from the church. My father is a pastor and my mother is a phenomenal singer. My first introduction to music came from my mom. Just being in church and listening to her sing was such a great inspiration for me.
Sometimes growing up as a preacher’s kid can sometimes come with certain limitations or expectations. Did those expectations ever lead you to rebel in any way?
Antoinique: I totally rebelled against all of it. Being a PK, they like to put you under a perfection umbrella where you had to say the right things, do the right things, and be the right thing and that puts a lot of pressure on you as a child. I remember going into the military at the age of 17 and mother had to sign a waiver.
That was freedom for me, so I did rebel, however I found my way back to God. I’m not perfect and I’m still a work in progress. There is a song on my album that I wrote called “I’m Enough” where I talk about not being perfect and I’m still a work in progress.
Is that an overall theme you want to convey to fans, that we are not perfect and as long as we aspire for perfection we are ok?
Antoinique: I want to convey to fans that God loves you right in the space you are in and he will meet you where you are. For me that is one of the most important things I want to convey to my fans.
Going back to the album for a bit, is there a favorite song you have on the album and why?
Antoinique: That is a really hard question to answer but I think one of my most favorite songs on the album is “My Prayer.” The reason why is because this song shows a bit of my vulnerability as a writer because this song is an actual prayer. I wrote it in my closet, in my home, on my knees praying. I carry a journal with me everywhere I go. When I was praying I started to write those words down and that is why this song is one of my favorites.
Speaking of writing, what is your normal writing process? Do you prefer to write only when inspiration hits you?
Antoinique: It is when inspiration hits, but a lot of this album was written when I was in the hospital with my daughter. I talk about her a little bit in my bio. She was born with a congenital heart defect. She’s had a long medical journey so spending a lot of time in the hospital I had nothing else to do but to reflect, write, pray, and reach out to God.
The trials and tribulations in life often test our faith but sometimes they renew our faith. If you don’t mind me asking, how has the situation with your daughter aided in restoring your faith?
Antoinique: She was born with a congenital heart defect, which means she was born dying. This was the first time my family had dealt with anything like this. I didn’t know it would be a 12 year journey with 14 surgeries and 5 near death experiences.
I tell you going through that made me call on Jesus. I had no choice but to rely on faith, pray, and study to find out what that was for myself. It was paramount in my faith walk in how I reconnected with God and established my relationship with him on her behalf.
You have a song on your album entitled, “I’m A Believer,” which has a nice little groove to it. How important is it for an artist to capture the audience with the groove of a record and not just the lyrics?Antoinique: I know in this day and age, you have to do more than just have really good words, you have to capture the heart and the ear of these young people. You have to catch their attention with the beat and then romance them with some Jesus.
Speaking of romancing people with Jesus, do you think there is a battle or a push against Jesus or the church right now?Antoinique: I agree with that statement. I think there is a struggle and a battle to believe in God, have faith, and stand firm in his word. I think there is a struggle and war going on especially with this political and social climate we have going on right now. I also believe that when you come to know God on your own, your faith won’t be waivered as easily. There will always be trials and tribulations that you have to fight but you won’t have to fight on your own.
Do you think artists have a responsibility to speak to social issues and injustices and not just make music for the sake of fun or making money?
Antoinique: I think we all have a responsibility on every platform in life. With music I think sometimes artists don’t think about what they are doing. Many times they want to put out music just to make money. I can’t really speak on those individuals.
I can only speak for myself when I say that I focus on my purpose and just the career of music. The purpose can take you further while the career of music only keeps you in that lane. My purpose is to change and to have an impact on lives.
Lastly, is there anything you would people to know about you or the album that we haven’t discussed?
Antoinique: I would really encourage all to be open when listening to “Church In The Park.” It is not a traditional gospel album but it is a powerful, content-driven album. Open up your mind and heart because this is a really good project, not because it is mine, but this project was given to me by God. I feel like I was destined to do this to impact and change lives.www.antoinique.com
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