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Fresh, femme and fierce: the self-manifested motto that Antonique Smith lives, works, and conducts herself by. Her first album, Love is Everything, boasts the work of eminent songwriters and producers like Dr. Dre, Toby Gad, Danja Handz and Jukebox.
By Amber Zhai
It’s been quite a journey to get where she is now — a relatively new but already promising music career. After all, in order to get big names, you need some hefty credentials – and Antonique definitely has a resume that fits the bill. She is probably best known for her role as Faith Evans in Notorious, the autobiographical Fox feature film depicting the life and murder of Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G. “Everyone knows me as Faith Evans,” she laughs. “Some people still come up to me like, ‘Hey Faith! I loved you in Notorious, Faith!’ More people now know me as Antonique, which is really cool, but I still get that Faith love.”
Before that, Ms. Smith even graced the hallowed stages of Broadway, as Mimi in the iconic musical production, Rent – a role that’s essentially every aspiring Broadway star’s wet dream. “Playing Mimi was amazing because she’s such a meaty character. She actually is fresh, femme and fierce…but she had this vulnerability to her.” Antonique reflects on her character as one would an old intimate friend. “She was an exotic dancer, she was sexy. You just thought she had it all together, but she really didn’t. She was broken inside, she was scared, she had AIDS, she was strung out on drugs, so…she had a lot of turmoil going on inside.” “To be able to play somebody who had that many layers was just amazing. Amazing. I cried real tears onstage…Playing Mimi was awesome training ground for everything I’m doing now.”
As Antonique puts it, everyone has had those ‘Hold up wait a minute’ moments. “It can really be anything, big or small, just something that’s not right, something that’s just disrespectful, or just so completely wrong that you don’t want to accept it.” In the end, it’s not about anger but about feeling: “I want people to feel things with my music. One of the reasons I love Pharell’s song ‘Happy’ so much is ‘‘cause if you feel upset or sad, [when] you hear that song, it really makes you feel happier. And music can do that. I heard a saying once: music is what feeling sounds like.”
“Hold Up Wait a Minute” is probably the most aggressive song on the album. The rest of her songs focus on,the dynamics of the female transformation—it’s about breaking through brokenness with love, acceptance and feminine power. Antonique is so excited about her EP that it’s infectious: “[The album] is going to be called Love is Everything…because it is. The message is about true female confidence, which isn’t ‘I don’t need a man.’ It’s not male bashing, because we need each other. It’s about elevating each other. It’s about knowing who you are, where you are, understanding what works with you and being able to tell a man, I’m not trying to change you. I see you. I think this could be good. Let’s elevate each other.” When asked for a closing statement about love, something we Love- Storians just love to milk, Antonique answered with thought and heart. “Love plays a major role in my life. I’m just looking forward to the rest of my life just giving more love, and hoping to receive it back…but not expecting it. I want to be better at just giving it.”