Tonette Jeanine is the grand-daughter of a Baptist preacher from Houston, TX and as the daughter of a preacher’s kid, gospel music was and is the foundation of her music. Her earliest musical memories began at the age of 5 when attending church every Sunday morning where she would see and hear her mother sing in the church choir. It was always understood that when she was old enough, she, too, would follow in her mother’s footsteps and sing in the choir. Her father, who grew up on the East Coast, would teach her about harmonies from his early years of quartet singing. There was always music being played at home…every thing from Jazz, to Motown to Gospel and R&B. She heard Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Bassey and, of course, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight.
Although Tonette knew pretty early that she did not want to be a jazz singer per se, she enjoyed listening to the legendary jazz vocalists for the phrasing of their lyrics, their musicality and their ability to sing soft and sexy one minute and then loudly with control in the next. Another major musical influence for her was the theatre, as she had the joy and honor of seeing Stephanie Mills, Patti LaBelle and Eartha Kitt in live stage performances at a very young age. She saw firsthand how their music and their interpretation of a song could make someone smile, cry, and laugh all at the same time! Theatre encompassed all of the things that she truly loved...singing, dancing, acting —performing.
The combination of various styles of music is what led Tonette to become a professional musician/singer. For Tonette, music is supposed to touch you...your heart, your mind, your soul...something! It is the ability to use song to touch someone that she has never met that inspires her and keeps her involved in the music world.
“I thank God every day for all of my blessings and feel truly honored to have the ability to touch people on a personal level. The natural high I get from a live performance is unexplainable and absolutely 100% spiritual.”