Antoine L Collins, lawyer turned jazz singer and entertainer, was born on the outskirts of Chicago in Gary, Indiana. Although raised in the state’s foster care system, he managed to escape the merry-go-round of foster homes that many children endure. As a young attorney, he prosecuted child abuse and domestic violence cases for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office, before returning to his artistic roots by pursuing music and theatre full-time.
Antoine’s 2015 debut album “Somewhere Along The Way” has won acclaim in the jazz world, delivering soulful, R&B-inspired takes on traditional standards such as I Put A Spell On You, Orange Colored Sky and Summertime. In addition to Jazz, he has an impressive theater resume which includes: Ragtime, A Chorus Line, RENT, Little Shop of Horrors and Hairspray.
This fall Antoine released his second full length studio album “Nature Boy: The Music of Nat King Cole”. This project delivers inspired reinventions of some of Cole’s top-charting hits. “The project is more than a tribute album it’s a celebration of an outstanding musician who left an everlasting mark on the world of jazz. Nat King Cole songs often awaken powerful emotions of passion, pleasure, and sometimes melancholy, the songs on this record address universal, as well as deeply personal, struggles, hopes, loves, regrets and fears”.
For Antoine, “NATURE BOY is my effort as an artist to share again with the world these intimate insights on life. These songs are imbued with such emotion and spiritual feeling that the stories they tell will resonate deeply among a new generation as well as veteran jazz and Nat King Cole lovers.”
Currently, Antoine is based in Ottawa, Ontario and is looking forward to upcoming 2018 live jazz and festival appearances to promote his new album. Whether recording in the studio, performing musical theatre or live jazz concerts, Antoine’s exudes positive energy through his personality, style, warmth and romantic baritone vocals.
A modern-day crooner with a baritone register Antoine draws inspiration from many jazz, blues and soul greats: Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Chet Baker, Joe Cocker, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis Jr., Count Basie, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Mel Tormé, Van Morrison, Michael Bublé, Harry Connick Jr., Steve Tyrell – the list goes on and on.
Many people don’t realize that the Jazz music genre originated in the African-American communities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The genre ranges from ragtime to present day jazz stylings with its heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, swing note, blue notes, brass, European harmony and American popular music, and continues to develop a sound and feel all of its own.
Antoine’s distinctive vocal style is perfectly complemented by a very talented group of musicians: double bassist Guy Levi, Saxophone player Kobi Salomon, drummer Roi Oliel and jazz pianist Asaf Finkelstein. The group’s tremendous creativity, interaction and collaboration really brings to life Antoine’s 2015 debut album “Somewhere Along The Way.”
Antoine is very passionate about his sophomore project Nature Boy – The Music of Nat “King” Cole. “Because NKC was such a masterful storyteller, the songs featured in this project address universal themes, as well as deeply personal, struggles, hopes, loves, regrets, and fears. I tend to take the listener on an emotional and spiritual journey through the experiences of life. These songs are imbued with such emotion and spiritual feeling that the stories they tell will resonate deeply today among a new generation as well as veteran jazz and NKC lovers.” He hopes to share, through NKC’s music, the awe he experiences whenever he listens to songs such as My Funny Valentine or Nature Boy. For Antoine, expressing these stories musically is what being a jazz singer is all about and in retelling them in his own voice he strives to bring them to life for a new generation!
Conceived as a celebration of the incomparable Nat King Cole, Antoine’s new recording, Nature Boy: The Music of Nat King Cole, is far more than a tribute album. Produced by acclaimed Producer/Arranger Phillip Victor Bova, Antoine’s new album refreshes the powerful emotions of passion, pleasure, humor and melancholy in Nat King Cole’s most beloved songs, and revisits his many deeply personal messages of struggle, hope, love and regret. Fittingly, Antoine chose to salute the late Nat King Cole on his 99th birthday with a sold-out album release party on March 17, 2018!
Antoine recounts: “As a singer, I try to interpret classic songs using my own personality and inner compass to make them live again for new generations of listeners and musicians. For me, that is what recording Nature Boy was all about. As a musician who has faced my own personal challenges, I always turn to music to find the awe and insight from our human experiences to help me carry on. Whenever I sing, I try to offer this kind of inspiration to others. I loved these songs even as a young man, and in recording new arrangements with Phillip Victor Bova, I sought to breathe new life into them for a new generation, while still conveying the essential emotion and joy of Cole’s original works.”