The Voice from Duhaney Park

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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RESIDENTS of Duhaney Park in Kingston are in a jubilant mood. One of their own, 24-year-old singer Anita Antoinette Fearon, is in the Top 10 of the popular American television talent show, The Voice.

When Splash caught up with Fearon on Wednesday following Tuesday night's show, she was excited about her progress.

"I feel honoured, grateful, inspired, and excited to show more of myself and my talents as an artiste. I can feel the love coming from my supporters worldwide and I am truly thankful for this," she said.

According to Anita's cousin, Tameka Thorpe, her performances to date have been closely watched by Duhaney Park residents.

"The love and support in Duhaney Park for Anita is very good. Her brother has been spreading the word about her involvement in The Voice and the support has grown significantly," she said.

Fearon and Thorpe's mothers are sisters. Her success in The Voice does not surprise her.

"I was around Anita up to the time when she left Jamaica for the United States. I remember her being a very jovial person, very observant though she didn't speak much. From an early age, around six, she displayed a natural love for music and singing," Thorpe recalled.

Fearon and her family lived at Baldwin Avenue, near the foot of the hill in Duhaney Park, a working-class area that has produced a number of top artistes including Cham and Konshens.

Moving to the US, Fearon settled in South Boston, then moved to New Britain, Connecticut, where she still lives. A singer and guitarist, she began writing music as a teenager, inspired both by her father Clinton Fearon and Bob Marley.

Fearon graduated from the prestigious Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in 2008, and was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music.

Thorpe says Fearon's background is like most persons who grew up in Duhaney Park.

"Contrary to popular belief, Anita was not well off. She attended the George Headley Primary School and she lived in a board house with her mother and her two brothers and sister," she said. "When my aunt left for America, she left Anita and her brothers and sister in the care of relatives. She later filed for them but her father was always on the move because he was a musician."

Clinton Fearon was co-founder, bass player and singer with revered roots-reggae band The Gladiators. After leaving them in 1987 he formed The Defenders, a short-lived outfit which disbanded in 1992.

This is her second attempt at The Voice, Thorpe said.

"I spoke to my aunt and she told me that Anita was going to enter The Voice again and we have been very supportive of her. I went to Connecticut to visit her and she had her band in the attic rehearsing quite often. The last time I spoke to her was about a month ago after the blind auditions."

Fearon is coached by Gwen Stefani, lead singer of the Grammy-winning pop/ska group No Doubt, which has collaborated with Jamaican acts like Lady Saw and Bounty Killer.

Anita Fearon is bidding to become the second Jamaican to win the NBC show. Tessanne Chin won last season.


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