I'm charting my own course - Anita Antoinette
When Tessanne Chin entered vocal competition, 'The Voice' in 2013, the entire country watched with immense pride as one of our own commanded the international stage and captured the hearts of millions worldwide.
Then, when she ultimately won the competition, the nation experienced a joy that many said could only be compared to watching Jamaica win gold at the Olympic Games.
Anita Antoinette, a Jamaican by birth, entered the competition the year after Chin copped the title, and though Jamaicans knew little about the singer, she gained a huge local following.
The thought of another Jamaican winning the US competition was enough to immediately catapult Antoinette into the local spotlight. Antoinette managed to advance to the top 10 before her 'Voice' journey came to an end.
Her 'early' exit sparked conversations in the local sphere on whether she had the talent to make it all the way to the top or merely riding the wave of being Jamaican and piggybacking on the successes of Tessanne Chin.
On her first trip back to Jamaica since she migrated at eight years old, Antoinette sought to lay all those claims to rest.
The 27-year-old singer told THE WEEKEND STAR that when she entered the competition, she had nothing to prove to anyone, and was, therefore, not daunted by the Tessanne comparisons.
CAN BE DISCOURAGING
"I have never in my life felt like I had to prove myself or try to be something or someone that I'm not. When someone comments on your life and your experiences without knowing who you are and what you are about, it can be discouraging and so I don't focus on negativity," she said, adding that she got support from Jamaicans, including Tessanne Chin.
With that said, the singer told THE WEEKEND STAR that she could have chosen to take the easy way of making it in the industry by establishing links through her father's connections as a musician, but chose to chart her own course. Her father, Clinton Fearon, was a member of The Gladiators, a Jamaican roots reggae band, most popular during the 1970s.
"I am not trying to go after the shadow of someone or ride the tail of somebody else's success," she said.
Antoinette revealed that she is currently working on her debut EP to be released in June, and as she gets ready to transition to the next phase of her career as a musician, she felt the need to return to Jamaica to reconnect with her roots.
"I love reggae, and so I had to come back to my home, which is also the home of reggae, to get myself immersed in the culture again," she said.