Artist of the Issue: Antoine DeRosa ’19

From poetry bard to songwriter, Antoine DeRosa ‘19, has contributed much to the arts community as a whole. Antoine started writing poetry in Dr. Tift’s English class during his ninth grade year when he was assigned to write three original poetry pieces. After producing and performing his piece in front of the class and receiving immense support from his peers, Antoine started to write poetry more frequently. Although taking a break from this art for a few months, he began again composing poetry from the tenth grade and on inspired by the encouragement he received in Dr. Tift’s creative writing class for his outstanding voice in his poetry. Since then, Antoine has been writing poetry very often both for himself and for his class audiences.

Antoine has experienced many situations that sparked his interest in poetry. However, the experiences that stuck closest to him are his experience on the school trip to Germany and interactions with his two close friends Jordan and Mitchell. In Germany, Antoine explored Germany’s vibrant pre-war Jewish community and its annihilation during the Nazi era. These experiences triggered strong emotions within him. After imagining these horrors, he started to write in a notebook the emotions manifest inside him, thus creating many of his favorite pieces. Antoine’s two close friends Jordan and Mitchell, both people outside of school, offered him constructive criticism concerning his work, often encouraging his many forms of poetry. Antoine also credits Dr. Tift saying, “She has supported me since the beginning of my writing career and has guided me in the correct direction.”

Antoine creates poetry to express his feelings on paper, using it as a means of personal therapy, noting “Sometimes, I need to get my thoughts off my chest and put it on paper.” Antoine specifically writes about friends and relationships with people. He does not like to be influenced by well-known artists and wants to be “maverick” in terms of his written pieces, without being derivative of other poets’ styles.

Most recently, Antoine surprised the school community with his talents as a crooner; at the spring Coffee House he performed an amazing cover of Billie Eilish’s “idontwannabeyouanymore”, wowing the crowd. Crediting his family’s love for singing, Antoine remarks, “Art is in our blood, whether it be music or writing. I know that both sides of my family love to sing, especially my mother, who sings at the choir at my church.” From singing gospels at church to singing covers of pop songs in his own room, Antoine enjoys expressing his love of music both in public and in private.  We hope to hear more from him in the weeks before graduation. Reflecting on his decision to perform at Coffee House: “For many years, I wanted to share my style. And recently, I took the chance, because it was my senior year, to perform in the coffee house and share what I have to offer.”

Currently, Antoine writes and sings for fun with no specified purpose other than to express his internal thoughts. He has performed various Woodbury’s for school, his proudest achievement in terms of demonstrating his writing, Coffee House, and the recent Poetry Slam. Although he does not know where his art is headed for in the near future, Antoine says that this talent is a very personal extracurricular. This near-daily activity has molded him into the talented artist that he is today.

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