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Jessica Antoine Has No Time to Waste in New “Intentional” EP

Jessica Antoine’s soul glows with national pride. Her upbringing taught her that nothing is to be taken for granted. “Being Haitian and the first generation American experience has absolutely shaped my perspective on life,” she reflects. “Truly having limited resources, humble beginnings, and starting from the bottom has really made me appreciate the small things in life. And when you appreciate the small things in life, you are so, so, so, so grateful. I have so much gratitude for anything. I attack any opportunity like it’s the biggest or my last. This made me never forget where I come from. My perspective on life is to enjoy all of those small moments. It’s also to appreciate all people from all walks of life and different cultures. The world is so huge and in this huge world, this is character building. We need great human beings. I think this is the recipe for creating great humans. I’m a good person and it’s because I know what it’s like. l know the marginalized area. I truly see life as a blessing. I’m just super, super grateful to be here.”

This outlook was only deepened by her infinite respect for family. “My resilience came from my mother. She’s an immigrant from Haiti, my native island. She was one of her many siblings to come to America in pursuit of the American Dream. They were coming to a country that has so much more opportunity than their own could offer. I’ve seen all her adversities. To this day, she’s not able to speak English fluently. I see her navigate this new world, this new space which has such limited information and limited resources, while barely speaking the main language of the land. Just knowing that and helping her along the way as best as I can, I watched her resilience. That’s why I’m the way I am.” Additionally, watching her motherland endure countless hardships further compels her to persevere. “I want to also speak towards the resilience of my native island of Haiti. Our country has been shaken up time and time again since being the first Black republic. We’re condemned for that. When we’re faced with political turmoil or the natural disasters you guys see in the news, there’s still a smile on our face. There’s still a lot to celebrate. Our country is so resilient, and so it’s in my blood. It’s in my DNA, coming from a place where there’s always revolution.”

The richness and vibrancy of Haitian music can be attributed to its unique sound and eclectic origins. “Kompa is the genre of the land. It has traditional elements of Haitian merengue, influences from jazz, funk, Latin music, and fast-paced African drumming. There’s all these different influences from the Native Taino and US French. Kompa is just everything. I want to shout out the two creators of the Kompa style, Nemours Jean Baptiste and Weber Sico.” Songs are megaphones of resistance as well. “Our lyrics are politically charged. Our music tells our story, a story that needs to be told, a story that doesn’t need to continue to be kept about these mixed misconceptions that lie within America. Our music tells our story and it is beautiful.”

Jessica finds herself at a crossroads, wanting to approach her future with boldness and definitively deliberate steps towards love and purpose. Enter her new EP. “The title is just so, so very important. The title is Intentional. This is a tell all. This is a storyline that any woman can relate to,” she laughs. “It’s so poignant. Whether it’s your past dating experience or your current dating experience, you can be at a point in your life where you are finding yourself, choosing yourself, and choosing yourself is a form of choosing your person. We’re all looking to find our soulmates and the love of our lives or our person in life, whoever that may be. They’ll tell a different story in all walks of life, depending on what walk you are in your life, they can speak to you. I want to leave it up to interpretation. I’m currently in a part of my life where I am becoming more intentional. I’m 26 and this is all about growth too. I want to be intentional when it comes to dating, and I expect people to be intentional when it comes to dating me. I’m really looking forward to telling this story in an artistic way. And I think people are going to really love it.”

Naturally, Haiti is front and center. Jessica pens a love letter to the diversity of the island. “The EP has Kompa all over it. I’m excited to take everybody on a cultural experience. One of the songs, “Never Let Go,” even has Caribbean steel pans in it. It’s super exciting to highlight more sounds of our culture and the diaspora. You can also hear me singing in three different languages, two of which are spoken on my native island of Haiti – French and Haitian Creole. I’m excited again that people are listening to this and learning more about our culture and our languages and they’re going to be repeating the lyrics and singing the songs. I think that’s super dope.” She is steadfastly determined to be sunshine among unrelenting storm clouds. “In the current state of the world, I need to be the light. My why is spreading love and positivity, my why is my family, my why is solidifying my legacy. I do it for my people of Haiti. That’s where I’m from, that’s what I love. I want to see a better Haiti in my lifetime. So that’s my why, and it keeps me going. As much as you want to stop and as much as you want to complain, no matter how hard it is, all the trials and tribulations, the hardships…we all go through it. It’s a flame that just keeps burning inside. You have to keep going and this is your motivational factor. And it’s huge. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than us.”

Her adoration for her homeland keeps the blood running through her veins. Faith is her compass. “I think Haiti just needs all the love right now. It’s important that I continue repping my country. We’re really proud of where we’re from and if you know any Haitians, we really wear our pride on our sleeves. I can’t lose sight of who I am and where I started. My identity is a huge part of my life. It’s apparent for me to remain grounded and it’s also apparent to keep my faith in God and continue my journey and my walk. I’m supposed to be here. It’s evident.” 

Giving back to others is an extension of her cultural advocacy. She invites us all to make a difference. “I definitely want to shout out all the humanitarian work that I’ve been doing thus far. I’m super, super proud of this work on the ground. If anyone wants to be a part of these organizations, they totally can. I’ve had a wonderful time working with them and continuing to work with them. Travel & Give is a nonprofit organization that works directly in Kenya and on the island of Haiti to promote literacy amongst youth. I’ve personally been a translator. I translate documents from English to our native language so that adults and children on the ground can understand them. I’m also an advocate for immigration reform, without a doubt. Haitian Bridge Alliance advocates for fair and humane immigration policies. They’re a really great nonprofit organization doing grand work at a refugee shelter in Mexico on the border, where Haitians have traveled far to get the opportunity for asylum to this country. Everyone deserves a fair chance at a better opportunity at life in the event that they don’t have those certain resources that their country can provide them.” 

Stream Jessica’s debut single, “Kremas,” on all platforms now and look out for Intentional! Follow Jessica on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and twitter.

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Jessica Antoine Has No Time to Waste in New “Intentional” EP. Photo Credit: Desean Black.

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