Songwriting is truly the art of telling your story through music. Artists and songwriters are the first to imagine the bones of a new song based on personal experiences. Those first elements are near and dear to an artist’s heart and message. When these details of songwriting resonate with a broader audience, they create a feeling of mutual understanding between the artist and the listener. Today, Nashville country artist J. Antonette shares her story and collaborative insight behind her emotionally raw hit single “Drunk on Me.”
// Introducing J. Antonette //
J. Antonette started her music career as a background singer for the well-known country-rock artist Melissa Etheridge. She then went on to back up Grammy Award Winning Artist Michael Bolton and open for a variety of country artists, including Jordan Davis and Tucker Beathard. Originally from NYC, Antonette has since relocated to pursue country music in Nashville. She currently releases music as well as collaborates with other artists as a songwriter.
We are excited to have the opportunity to speak with J. Antonette about the making of her recent single, “Drunk on Me,” which addresses the difficulty of a relationship that you know may not be good for you.
“He drives my heart like he stole it”
PoetryDansLaRue: I love the rawness of “Drunk on Me.” The clarity of the vocal and ballad-like style paints a clear picture. Can you tell us about the early stages of the song?
J. Antonette: “Thank you so much! While writing a different song with my friend Lyndee, she mentioned that she and another writer, Colleen Francis, had an idea that would be a great fit for me. Lyndee and I spoke about what I was going through in my personal life. When she sent me the work tape, I immediately knew I had to be a part of this.
At the time, I was with a person who displayed addictive tendencies. It felt like I was living the exact idea of the song. I loved it when he was drunk on me. The highs and lows. The thrills and the crash. I think I tend to get into these toxic relationships and cling to the good instead of all of the red flags. Many of us can relate to being love drunk at one point or another.”
“The ladies were so wonderful to let me join in on the creation of it. I took some time sitting at a coffee shop with tears in my eyes. I wrote in some details from my relationship that I was in the process of leaving. This time allowed me to put my spin on it.”
PDLR: I enjoy hearing how multiple perspectives combine to create a song that felt perfect for you at the time. How do you usually go about songwriting? Do you often work with other songwriters?
J. Antonette: “My process ranges from writing alone, in my apartment in the darkest hours of the night, to weekly scheduled co-writes. I have about four writing sessions a week with different writers whom I admire or respect. I never want to be the best writer in the room. When I work with others who push me and are extremely talented, it helps make me a better writer.”
“When it comes to how I write or what I write about, I usually pull from experiences that I’m going through at the time. If I feel passionate about a topic, that may inspire me as well. I love collaborating with other artists. It forces you to work harder instead of settling for what you believe is “good enough.”
“Young, reckless, and free”
PDLR: I agree that working with others can only benefit you as an artist. Who else do you work with on your songs as far as instrumentation and production go?
J. Antonette: “For each of my songs thus far, I’ve worked with different producer friends! I’m blessed to be surrounded by incredible talent both in L.A., Nashville, and NYC. “Drunk On Me” was produced by Johnny Dibb with additional instrumentation by Tyler Tomlinson.”
PDLR: Since you moved to Nashville, what opportunities have shaped you as a musician?
J. Antonette: “I think when you move to Nashville, you have to step up your game. Not just as a singer but as a writer AND performer. You have to work harder than the person next to you. This town is home to the most talented musicians in the nation! I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world performing with musicians and write with new artists whom I admire. I’ve joined the community and performed at some amazing writers’ rounds in town. It’s been a beautiful experience! My very first gig in Nashville was the well-known showcase, “Whiskey Jam.”
PDLR: Do you have new songs coming out soon?
J. Antonette: “I have been writing my butt off! I do have plans to release new songs in 2020, but right now, I have not decided on which to release. I’m trying to push myself to write my best work and then pick from them!”
“I love when he’s drunk on me”
// For the Listener //
“Drunk on Me” is our take on a breakup song before you bid the final goodbye. The listener can feel the pull of the relationship where you know it’s not right, but you stay anyway. There is a bittersweet side to the song when the singer shares the story from her point of view, “He doesn’t look good on paper, I know his record shows, he’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s different when we are alone…”
We can picture this song being played in the car when you are questioning if something feels right or wrong. “Drunk on Me” by J. Antonette can be your next breakup song, comfort song, power song, or even love song. It is up to your interpretation of what the song means to you at a particular moment. The beauty of music begins with the songwriters’ and artists’ personal experiences but transfers wide and deep across endless barriers.