Antonique Smith: From Broadway to Hollywood

By Robert Frezza

For those who don’t know, singer and actress Antonique Smith, most well known for her role as Faith Evans in the movie Notorious, has also starred on Broadway for two years.  The love she had for the stage in Rent has prepared her for movie stardom. Now, Smith is ready for the crossover from acting to music. “Acting is helping me make the transition to singing,” says Smith.

Smith had much to discuss about her upcoming role in the music industry including a chance to record on the infamous and long awaited Dr. Dre album, Detox, her relationship with Nas, and a compliment that Whitney Houston gave her that made her ecstatic.

Do you believe the role of Faith Evans helped your career?

I have no complaints about Notorious. I enjoyed playing Faith Evans. I was a fan of everyone there. I believe it helped me tremendously. I always wanted to do both acting and singing. It helped me so much now that I want to go into music.

I actually met Faith Evans before Notorious and I talked to her by phone a lot when I was in New York while she was in Los Angeles. I tried to soak up everything.

What do you think was more difficult—the stage or movies?

The repetition of the stage got me ready and prepared for Notorious. If something happens on Broadway—the show must go on—so that, alone, prepared me for the camera.

How did you fall in love with acting in the first place?

That’s funny that you ask that. I was four years old and I would use a tape recorder creating shows, singing, talking, and acting on it. I would even make commercials. It was something I enjoyed doing. I didn’t know what exactly I was doing, but that’s how it all got started—at my grandmother’s house. That’s how I fell in love with acting.

Tell us more about your new movie, Yelling to the Sky.

It should be out sometime next year January or February.  It went to South by Southwest, Berlin Film Festival, and among other festivals. It’s about a teenage girl that has a troubled family environment, who eventually tries to make a life for herself.  For those who saw me in Notorious, this is a whole new role for me.

As far as your music career goes, “Take a Chance” is your first single?

No, it’s more of a teaser. That should give the public a good direction of what my album will sound like. The album should be completed next year. I am collaborating with some crazy people right now. One of my favorite songs, “Higher” is a song Dr. Dre gave me. It takes a while to find out who you are in the music marketplace.

How was it working with Dr. Dre? Is he the perfectionist everyone thinks he is in the studio?

He was so cool! He is the coolest person. He let’s you do your own thing when it comes to your own craft. I did a song for him on his Detox album and he did a song for me for my upcoming album. He has like 400 songs or more since he’s been working it on for years now.

Do you have any major influences in the music industry?

Whitney Houston. I always wanted to sound like her and she told me my voice reminded me of hers when she was twenty-one years old. I demoed a song for her on the Whitney album. That was an amazing experience and she is my main influence. I also listen to Mary J. Blige and Coldplay. I like everything, really.

What is the deal with Nas? Will you two be collaborating on any music soon?

Nothing is going on with Nas! We are cool and we are not dating—we just went to lunch and talked about music. We might do collaboration down the road, who knows?