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White Plains Singer Pens Album from 'Raw Emotion'

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For a few years, Jessica Antonette, 23, considered producers’ suggestions that she sing more R&B and pop music because she lacked the hallmarks of an alternative rock artist, namely, tattoos and piercings. However, Antonette, a Utica, N.Y. transplant, decided to bring “something different” to the scene when she began working on her first album last November.

“It’s a man’s world in music," said Antonette, who moved to White Plains two weeks after graduating from high school. "I was so young and people would tell me how to look and how to sound. You have to fit this image that they think is almighty, and it’s not. I’m going to bring some femininity. I’m going to rock sneakers and heels.”

Antonette said she let her mom convince her not to do “the whole starving artist thing” after high school. Instead, she counted up her scholarships from beauty pageants and decided White Plains was the next best thing to paying for the cost of attending college in New York City. While studying fashion merchandising and marketing at Berkley College, Antonette built her J. Antonette brand where she markets her music and sells lyrics and melodies.

Last November Antonette held off on booking gigs and decided to focus on writing her first album and learning piano. Between juggling bartending gigs, teaching voice lessons, and joining a new cover band, Antonette tries to inspire new tracks by putting herself in weird situations.

“I pull from emotion completely, so I’ll go somewhere I feel completely alone and write about that or pull  from my past,” said Antonette. “It’s really therapy.”

The “ Skyline ” track on her demo, J. Antonette, emerged after a friend brought Antonette to a rooftop venue in New York City where guests lounged around the pool in their underwear. After years of not speaking to her father, Antonette dropped by his home, and was inspired to produce her “Can You Hear Me” single.

Autobiographical lyrics are an asset, according to Jami McGraw, a producer at Rain Music Group who helped Antonette with her demo.

“The way she just put it all out there was impressive,” said McGraw. “A lot of artists write in third person, but she has sort of a personal take. When artists do that they make themselves vulnerable, but in a good way, so you can relate to them.”

Antonette has four songs on iTunes, four tracks ready for her record, and one in the works. She now hopes to finish up four other tunes for her self-titled album due out this winter.

“There’s a song for every emotion. It’s a spectrum of sad, happy, flirty, fun, and just raw emotion.”

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