Josephine Antoinette’s smooth vocals have been blessing the Portland soundwaves from the backup mics of powerful female artists like LaRhonda Steele, Moorea Masa and Sonny Hess. Now, it’s time for her to step into the limelight.
Antoinette’s love for music began at an early age, like many musicians. What shapes her unique style of songwriting, however, can be attributed to the boundaryless pool of genres that inspire the sound she creates. As a young girl, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were no strangers to her family’s household speakers in North Portland. She nurtured her passion into talent at Ethos with piano and voice lessons, where she has returned as a teacher to share what she’s learned with the future musicians of the world. Her love for jazz was born in her middle school days with Billie Holiday and Jaco Pastorius. From there it was everything from Faith Evans and Tupac to Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. More than anyone, though, Stevie Wonder sets the stage for Antoinette’s inspiration:
“I love how he writes about big topics, like politics and race, but still makes his songs grooving while getting people to think. His music is so genuine and that’s what I try to strive toward.”
Her multifaceted taste in music shines through on “It's Enough” as the trio plays a groove with an air of ’40s jazz and ’60s Motown, all wrapped up in a package of lyrics reminiscent of timeless country songs. What makes it mindfully relevant to today is the nuanced love story Antoinette shares: “I wanted ‘It’s Enough’ to be a simple love song, but it’s also a critique of traditional gender roles and marriage.”
As times change, music is the narrator that lives on to tell the tale. Thanks to a myriad of cultural establishments including, but not limited to greeting card corporations and holidays marked by a demand for heart-shaped chocolates, romantic relationships are riddled with expectations shaped by idealistic gender roles. Our culture in Portland has the ability to sit outside of this mold and is unafraid to own a more honest representation of the people, and specifically the genders of the people, who create it. In “It’s Enough,” Antoinette sings about the genuine love that exists when you peel back these unnecessary layers:
“You don’t call me honey. I don’t call you baby. We don’t say sweetheart. But I love you every day. And it’s enough, oh it’s enough. For me love.”
“It’s Enough” was mixed and mastered at figure8sound by Pyata Penedo, who is also featured on percussion. The savory guitar solo is provided by Samuel Eisen-Meyers while Kirk Kalbfleisch (World’s Finest) sets the rhythm on drums. Antoinette takes both the lead and backup vocals, and plays the keys and synth bass as well.