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Jamaican shines on 'The Voice'

Published:Thursday | November 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

IT MAY very well be another Jamaican win on this season's staging of the United States singing competition, 'The Voice' as Jamaica-born singer/songwriter Anita Antoinette advanced to the next round of the competition.

Many persons are well aware of the fact that Antoinette is Jamaica-born, but what they may not have known is that the singer spent the early years of her childhood in the community of Duhaney Park. Despite migrating to the United States at age eight, she still has vivid memories of her childhood and said she holds those memories very close to her heart. "I grew up in Duhaney Park. I used to attend the George Headley Primary School, and I remember crossing the gullies to go to school and the conversations with childhood friends on the five-minute journey to and from."

She also told The Gleaner that she takes her culture seriously and that showcasing her roots on the 'Voice' stage is very important to her. "I am Jamaican, that's the core of who I am and music is more than just something I do, it's a part of me." She then went on to reveal that her roots in music go much deeper than just being Jamaica-born.

Many may be familiar with the name Clinton Fearon and, if not, they may be aware of the reggae group the Gladiators that rose to prominence in the 1970s with songs such as Hello Carol, Jah Jah Go Before Us and Roots Natty. The lead singer and bassist for the group was Fearon, who happens to be the father of Antoinette. "My connection with reggae goes way beyond the surface, it's in my blood," she declared.

Following her perfect 'four-chair turner' run in the audition stages early last month, the singer delivered two amazing performances in the knockout round to gain her spot in the top 20. On Monday night, she had the judges grooving to her rendition of MAGIC!'s Billboard topping song, Rude. It was a performance many are still talking about. Not only did it gain the attention of numerous Jamaicans, including popular media personalities Dahlia Harris and Nikki Z, but her standout performance also managed to catch the eyes of the members of the group MAGIC! themselves. Taking to social media to let the world know they saw Antoinette's performance, the group posted a snippet of the performance to their Facebook page with the caption "shoutout to Anita Antoinette. You killed it last night (Monday night) on 'The Voice'." Having seen that post, the singer said the moment made her day. "I saw it and I took a picture and reposted it," she said. "It was really cool to have the original artiste themselves take notice. It made my day."

Her recent success aside, the singer said the entire 'Voice' competition has been a blessing. "It's a dream and I'm very blessed. I'm also still in shock about it all," she said. "In competitions like these, you just never know what to expect and I'm just happy to have reached this far. It's amazing."

Making it known that she is not daunted by the comments about her being the competition's underdog, Antoinette said she is just focused on impacting as many people as she can using the competition as her platform. "Of course I'm an underdog, my whole life is an underdog story. It's been a struggle, but what's important is that, at the end of the journey, you get to leave people with a message," she said. "One thing my dad taught me was to always be an advocate for giving people something to think about. It's all about singing from the soul and not just because you can."

Jamaican songbird Tessanne Chin won the competition last year.