When I first came across Antia, I was captivated by her voice. When I sat down with her, her story captivated my heart. Her story is one of God’s never ending pursuit of each of us; her story is one that shows God will always use love to open up our hearts to Him; her story is one of divine intervention. Her story, involves a man; a man that changed her last name but not before he exposed her to the Man that would change her life. A love story wrapped inside of the greatest love story of all time. A songstress, who now sings, songs of worship and love to God, ultimately captivating God’s heart.
O. Almaroof: Oprah once said, that one of the hardest questions she had to answer was “Who is Oprah?” Who is Antia today?
Antia: It’s funny that you ask that because I am at a point now where I feel like I’m finally coming into myself and who I am. I would say … I am just morphing into this being, that I know God has called me to be; as far as knowing what I’m here to do, who I’m here to speak to, who I’m here to touch, move, relate to. So I would just have to say that Antia is growing and she’s still discovering things about herself that are already there but I’m learning to look at myself through God’s eyes.
O. Almaroof: We all have a story, a story that most people wouldn’t believe from just looking at us. What is your story?
Antia: My story involves… learning to forgive. I’ve dealt with hurt, disappointments, broken trust. People in close proximity, who have access to those intimate moments, who know you on a deeper level and kind of like dealing with disappointments of that trust not being honored. And having expectations and those expectations not being met. I know I’m speaking very vague but those have been the hardest things in life to kind of …yeah. I only really learned how to forgive and move forward, once I had Christ in my life. It was like I wanted to be forgiven but wasn’t willing to forgive people. We say, “you need to forgive, you need to forgive”, but it’s the hardest thing to do, that’s why it’s repeated over and over again in the bible, because it’s really not easy.
I realized that forgiving wasn’t saying it was okay, forgiving was releasing me and allowing myself not to be bound by those things anymore. So I guess I would say one of my biggest, most unique struggles about myself was really exercising forgiveness; big things and small things in life because its also the “small things” that we think are insignificant that add to the difficulty of exercising forgiveness.
O. Almaroof: You mentioned that you really didn’t grasp the art of forgiveness until you built a relationship with Christ. What is your Christ story and how long have you been saved?
Antia: Well, I love telling this story. I was introduced to Christ, maybe around 18. I would say 19/20 I started taking it seriously. There were times in my life that I was an atheist. There were times in my life when I was like, “Oh there’s a higher being, the stars”, and eventually I was like why worship the stars, when you can worship the one who created them. I feel like I did this song and dance and eventually realized, there is a God and He has a call for your life. People see me now and they cannot believe that I am Christian. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and I’m like, you love Jesus! Do you realize that you love Him like this (laughs)? It’s so crazy. Like none of my family members are Christian.
O. Almaroof: So who introduced you to Christ?
Antia: He’s going to love this (rolls eyes). My boyfriend is one of the key reasons as to why I was introduced to Christ. Now, we always make fun of me in the beginning. He recalls conversations where I would be like, “I’m never going to be one of those church girls, you guys are hypocrites.” I mean straight out dogging the church, like we hear people do now. So we kind of make jokes and it’s so funny to see now, my progression.
I had a mutual friend in high school and she knew my now boyfriend. I met him the night of my prom. We were at a diner and from then we got to know each other. Turns out his father is a pastor, so you know I had a field day with that! Jokes on a thousand. Eventually he got me to go and something just… I sound so cheesy but something just clicked. I’m not saying it was immediate but it clicked.
O. Almaroof: It’s always progressive. It’s a journey. It’s never like an event.
Antia: Exactly. But I can definitely say that day it was planted. I can remember the moment when it clicked in my head, like I kind of understand and now I want to know more. Ever since that, I kind of took the initiative just to learn more about Christ. I think it’s been like six years now.
O. Almaroof: I’m only like two years in the game and I’m like sold out!
Antia: Two years! That’s amazing. I feel like you have such an advantage, you know. Not to rub it in the face of people who were brought up in the church, but we got to choose. We are coming from the other side. There are people that we can talk to, that they can’t. When I wasn’t saved and when someone who went to church would come to me, I’m like right…get out of here. We come from the other side into, so it’s people that we can reach, that they can’t reach. There’s people that they can reach, that we can’t reach.
O. Almaroof: One hundred percent because everybody has people they are called to.
Antia: Exactly, which is what I truly believe. I wasn’t a big partier; I wasn’t a big clubber. I definitely had my things that I did. I was leader, so anything I did, I could never put on anyone else. I was too much of a, ‘I’ll do what I want to do type of person.’ I had my ways but God is amazing! I love my story and wouldn’t change anything that happened looking back. No way!
O. Almaroof: Same. I believe that everything I went through had a purpose.
Antia: It really does and people say it sounds cheesy but I really believe that with my whole heart. It all has a purpose. The pain, everything.
O. Almaroof: Speaking of pain, what was your greatest pain in life, how did you overcome it and the greatest lesson you learned from it?
Antia: It’s crazy because there were things BC (before Christ), and then things after I got to know Christ. I would separate it into two. One of my biggest struggles was opening my heart to people and feeling like I wasn’t getting the same in return, family members and friends; and realizing that people didn’t hold me in the same place.
I guess just being let down. Having the expectations for people and being let down. It sounds like such a light thing and sometimes I feel guilty because it’s not like molestation or anything that heavy, but there was a weight there that you –kind of carry and you apply it to other people without knowing.
O. Almaroof: As you’re speaking, what I’m hearing is it’s like a form of betrayal? I put my trust in you, I invested my love into you and you betrayed that.
Antia: Betrayal! I need to carry you in my pocket, 24/7 because that’s exactly what I was trying to say in the perfect form. The way you just said it was exactly what I mean.
O. Almaroof: And that’s why forgiven was so hard?
Antia: There we go! Giving your love to someone and really wholeheartedly trusting that person to keep you safe and be that shelter and be that person for you, and kind of being let down sucks. Expectations for people and being let down. Without knowing it, I kind of developed this –this I’ll just do everything on my own thing. I’m just going to make things happen for myself and I kind of lost the beautiful experiences you get from working with and building with people. We can get places quicker if we work together. So even in life, breaking that, it’s still there and trying to chip away at that which has been embedded so deep in me has been a struggle.
Part of it is having to humble ourselves too. I tend to have the attitude that if I don’t do it myself, it’s not going to get done right. You have to trust people; you aren’t the only one that knows how to do stuff right. I still go back and forth with myself now over that. I can laugh about it now but it was really a tough thing to break.
And a struggle now, my grandmother was diagnosed with something called scleroderma, it’s an autoimmune disease. This is recently within the last couple of months. She’s always been known as that vivacious, super young looking woman… I know that God is working even through this. So that has been another life struggle too but it’s funny that this came at this point in my life. I feel like I am handling it way better. I don’t feel like I want to walk away from God. I don’t even think I’ve asked why throughout this whole process.
O. Almaroof: I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be praying for her.
Antia: Thank you.
O. Almaroof: My next question is what is the best life advice, you ever received.
Antia: From a person or the bible?
O. Almaroof: Hmm, I’m curious, so give me both. I’m curious what the bible one is because I meant a person.
Antia: It’s lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will direct your path. I forgot what scripture it is but that’s something that always rehearses over and over in my mind. Again that goes back into our struggle, leaning not into our own understanding and trust somebody else, even if it’s a higher being. That can be struggle with your relationship with Christ too. That, I don’t need you –kind of attitude.
As far as life advice, I feel like I am getting more life advice at this age than I have ever have. I would say one of the best life advice I’ve received was… I feel like they are so cliché but, stay true to who you are; don’t allow criticism or the opinions of others to sway your decisions because that’s not what you should be basing your decisions off of anyway; and the biggest one because I tend to be the biggest procrastinator is don’t work at a low level and expect to see a certain level of return, if you’re not working at that high level of what you expect to see. And invest in yourself because how do you expect to get someone else to invest in you, how will other people want to pour into your life, if you haven’t.
O. Almaroof: Loves those! So social media, I see a lot of women breaking what I call to be ‘lady codes’ and I’m always like come on sis, do better! So what is like one of your life codes or girl codes you see a lot of women breaking and you want us to tighten up! So when the readers, read this you’re saying, this is girl code. I’m shutting the opposite of this down!
Antia: You’re going to get into disputes and you’re going to get into arguments in your life. I don’t like when people kind of post it out there for the world to know when you’re having an issue. I just feel like you don’t assassinate someone’s character because you guys have had a falling out. I see that a lot, even with celebrities, they do that a lot. And I get it, I get where it’s coming from but I don’t think it’s ever right to pull someone else down publicly and open a space for people to be cruel to them as well. Whatever happens, just let it be between the people that it needs to be between.
I’ve had disagreements with people who were really close to me. Wait! This is another thing, no matter how much you’ve fallen out, those secrets you told that friend you were going to keep, please keep them! Over the first thing I just said, that’s my biggest thing. I’ve had fallen outs with friends, do I hate them, no. We had a disagreement that went a little longer than a normal disagreement but I will never, even to my other groups of friends, who were in our same circle, I will never go to another person and say well, so and so use to. Any of your secrets you ever told me, one hundred percent they’re going to stay with me, I’m not going to run around telling people your dirt.
O. Almaroof: That’s a really good one, especially for young women.
So, what is the greatest misconception about you and what would you like to say to that?
Antia: I have so many sides to me, I’m really goofy and silly but I also have a serious side too. So in my circle, I know they think I’m the harsh one, and straight to the point, like I don’t have feelings but I am super sensitive. Sometimes when people see you as that “strong” person, you don’t get the chance to express your sensitivity. Sometimes people assume that I never go through anything when the truth is you really just handle things in a different way.
O. Almaroof: Okay now that we’ve had some girl talk, let’s shift gears to more of the business side of things. As a professional, what is your line of work.
Antia: Singing is my number one thing. It’s like this ancient proverbs that says “Jack of all trades but master of none”, I tend to be that person. Just because I could do things, I would do them, I was capable of doing them but not really focusing on that one thing and really keep it going. As a creative person, I use to do photography, which was fun and profitable but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to spend my life doing. Now I’m finally at this place and it’s such a blessing, where I know what I am supposed to do. I know music is that one thing.
O. Almaroof: And your singing is so good! I was like stalking your Instagram and tagging one of my friends in your videos. I just fell in love.
Antia: Thank you so much. It really means a lot to hear that. But yes singing… there’s no way I would be able to function if I wasn’t able to. Just looking back, even though I wasn’t an active singer until a couple of years ago, I see how that was always an outlet for me in many stages of my life. Whether it was singing in the shower, or in my room singing or writing. I think because of the things we’ve been though and the stories that we have, what better way for me to tell those stories than through music. The way I see music affect people is just beautiful. It’s such a powerful form of communication, people don’t even have to know English and you’ll see how that song will cause them to have the same reaction as someone who understands. I really believe I’m meant to encourage people who have been where I’ve been or have questions. Reach those people that I am just meant to reach with Christ as my main message. I don’t want to be one of those people who are like, the Christian industry is lucrative, I should just go mainstream because it’s not just music for me. It is a bigger than here, you don’t have to show me love for me to say stay encouraged, to do what I am here to do. So yes! Music!
O. Almaroof: How did you discover your gift and purpose? Did you transition from secular music to doing Christian music? What did that journey look like?
Antia: I use to do occasional background gigs at clubs, at jazz bars and stuff like that. Two years ago or maybe a year and a half ago, I started to say, ‘I really want to pursue this and take it seriously.’ Even though I haven’t sung in those place in years, I was still in a group and even in my group I never saw myself individually as an artist. After getting feedback from people and after I stopped being weird about taking compliments, I realized within the last few years this is where I want to go. I want to eventually quit my job.
O. Almaroof: Amen! That’s the dream!
Antia: Girl this job is like a monkey on my back! That’s how I know we are getting closer to where we are supposed to be because it’s becoming unbearable. Like I can’t keep doing this, there’s no way!
O. Almaroof: What would you say to dreamers pursing their passion?
Antia: Don’t you ever give up! Make sure you’re being prayerful about your dream. Make sure it coincides with what you’re meant to do because God is never going to give you a purpose you’re not going to enjoy or feel fulfilled by. Just keep at it, don’t give up, work and work hard. Stop pressing the snooze button, get up and go!
O. Almaroof: You really convicted me when you said that!
Antia: I convicted myself! That’s why my eyes got wide when I said it. I’m talking to me because I’m a dreamer too. Just really stay focused and whatever you want to see, you have to work at the same level, as what you’re reaching towards. You have to think where you want to be, act where you want to be, you have to really put yourself there already. Work, work, work. Some many people just give up, they feel like the flame went out and they just give up. I get so mad, it doesn’t matter how hard it is, if you know this is what you want to do, why would you ever give up. Don’t let nothing dim your light and just keep God first! And really keep Him first, not just in your bio it says you keep Him first, really keep Him first!
O. Almaroof: I love it! So what’s your proudest accomplishment to date?
Antia: Man I don’t feel like I have one until this EP gets done! So just working towards where I want to be is my biggest accomplishment. Finally heading into that direction without fear. Beating fear! It’s still there, it’s still knocking at my door but I just don’t care about it so much anymore. I think that is my biggest accomplishment so far.
O. Almaroof: Who or what is your biggest motivation in life?
Antia: Christ of course, the original OG! I am trying to be more like Him. Definitely my mom, my mom always –she gave me room to dream and have dreams. Even though it took me a little longer to feel like I could, she definitely did. Her parents were more like be a bus driver, get a government job, do something that is going to secure your future. But she kind of instilled in me, do what you want to do, you are able to do anything. She always told me you have the capability to do something creative and be creative. She always taught me to embrace that. I didn’t really appreciate that until I got older and realized how many people had parents who stripped dreams from them without even knowing that they’re stripping dreams. So I’m definitely thankful for my mom. Now, my boyfriend is definitely one of the most annoying but one of the most encouraging, he really pushes me to be focused. The worth ethic I have now and how hard I’m going was definitely something that was contagious from him. He does music full time and that’s how he pays all his bills, that’s my dream. So definitely he’s one of my biggest inspirations too.
O. Almaroof: I’m not trying to push you guys into anything but one of my sisters always says, when he’s your husband, of course you guys are supposed to make each other better but as the head, he’s supposed to push you to be your best self. And she also says that when he’s your husband and it’s God ordained, your purposes will always align.
Antia: Probably! We have a story. If you want to do a separate interview, we can set that up. We have a crazy story! (laughs) Definitely I would say he’s one of my biggest inspirations right now, just to see how hard he is grinding.
O. Almaroof: When it comes to your business, what keeps you up at night?
Antia: My mind, having goals and feeling like every time I’m sleeping, that is more time I could be spending focusing on my goals. That’s it really, nothing really haunts me –anymore, to the point where I can’t sleep. She’s so past that –that’s so like five years ago. She definitely sleeps, probably sleeps more than she should.
O. Almaroof: What do you want your legacy to be?
Antia: A legacy of how possible it is to change and be better. I truly believe that change is one of the biggest –the thing that kind of sticks with me. I’ve changed a lot, like real change, so I would never say “this person will never change or that person can’t change.” I want to give the people that want to change hope that they can change. I want to be known as someone who spoke through music and encouraged people, uplifted people and gave people a sense of hope. I feel like a lot of people are hopeless and if they could just get an ounce of hope, things would be different, better. I want to be a big source of encouragement for young woman from Brooklyn and places like Brooklyn, where you’re told you can’t do these things. You can and I’m going to show you that you can; as long as you work hard, stay focused and keep God where God is supposed to be. Let Him use you at your fullest potential.
O. Almaroof: Nice! Thank you so much for agreeing to sit and chat with me. Where can people reach you for business and to support you?
O. Almaroof: So I want to complete our interview with ‘Olayinka’s Seven’. Seven quick questions, that require a one-word response. Just a fun way for readers to get to know a little more about you.
(bursts into laughter) Tia, I was going to say Pork Chop but… nah. Actually Chicken is my nickname, Gary calls me that.
Top beauty regiment?
Exfoliating. Take that dead skin off! Take those old problems off you!
Beyoncé or Rihanna
If I must choose, I don’t really listen to them… Beyoncé. Only because I admire her work ethic, she really goes hard, not saying Rihanna does it but you know.
Coke or Pepsi
Introvert and extrovert?
I am actually ambivert, which is a combination of both.
Who’s locked in your music player right now? Your current music obsession?
for King & Country
Your favorite book?
Reframe by Brian Hardin
What makes you laugh?
(Antia and I agreed not to share what makes her laugh lol)
Since the recording of this interview much has changed in Antia’s life. Most noteworthy, she married that young man who exposed her to Christ at 18 years of age. They wed on September 9, 2017. Toasts to the newlyweds!
Well there you have it. Great interview with one of the stars of the next generation. Keep your ears to the street for our next WCW!
Until next time, I wish you..
Love & Happiness