New Jersey native Antonique Smith began honing her acting and singing skills in the church choir and in school plays, though her voice didn't begin to develop until her teens. Still, Smith had her sites set on being a star even before her physicality caught up with her ambition -- which it eventually did. As Smith entered her teens, her voice matured, finally reaching a level of strength and control where she was able to achieve the kinds of vocal heights demonstrated by her heroes like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.
With her instrument in full bloom, Smith embarked on a career in show business, beginning on Broadway, where she first caught public attention with the role of Mimi in Rent. Following her stint with the musical, she then moved onto the screen, appearing in films like Across the Universe, and as R&B star Faith Evans in the 2009 Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious.