Official Biography (courtesy of Antoinette Manganas)
Sometimes your time comes when it comes and there's not much you can do but be open and ready. That certainly applies to Pittsburgh-based vocalist Antoinette Manganas, whose music encompasses contemporary adult pop, jazz and R&B. After years of being discouraged from following her dream of a music career, Manganas took a deep breath and jumped in four years ago, making a commitment to making her dream come true.
Manganas grew up around music and always dreamed of singing. She recalls her father listening to Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, Sammy Davis Jr, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, her sister playing the Beatles and Chicago. Her own tastes ran to Gino Vanelli, Earth Wind and Fire, Frankie Beverly and Chaka Khan. She soaked it all up. But in her traditional Italian-Argentine family, she says, "My parents were always, â€˜keep the peace; do what you have to do and keep other people happy.' My father was protective and didn't want me on the road."
Four years ago, divorced and working in the deli she owned, she felt like she'd reached a dead end. "I was paying everyone else and I was taking home $10 a day. One day I was making a gyro and someone came in and said, â€˜Antoinette, with a voice like yours, you should be singing.' I said, â€˜You know, that's right. I should. I'm outta here.'"
Manganas contacted a Pittsburgh booking agency, put together a band and a set list, and started playing around town. Word spread quickly and soon she was playing choice shows in the Western Pennsylvania area.
"It all started at a little place called DÃ©jÃ vu in the Strip District in Pittsburgh," she recalls. "We played there regularly and people were loving it. People were hungry for this music. There was this woman Donna Ambrogi, that used to live near me and we sort of knew each other from the neighborhood. Donna came in one day and said she heard this voice - (we have speakers outside) - and when she heard it was me, she was amazed. She came to me like an angel, invested in my career. Together we worked hard and started our own company, Milestone Entertainment."
Manganas began recording, putting together a release called Angel Eyes. She recorded a tune she'd penned called "Where Do We Go From Here" recorded as a duet with former Shalamar vocalist Howard Hewett from nearby Akron OH. Its R&B flavour caught the ear of an Atlanta promoter who brought Manganas down there to perform at an R& B festival in front of 3,000 people. There she made contacts that led to work with name R&B producers and artists from bands such as Lakeside and the SOS Band.
But setbacks followed. She was ripped off by people who had promised to help her, Angel Eyes never got proper release, and a new recording that combines Angel Eyes tunes with new material was picked up by an indie record company, but they couldn't follow through on release due to lack of funding. Now signed with Miami based Pyramid Records, Manganas' music will finally be readily available to the public.
"I know in this business you don't become an instant star," she says realistically. "But I'm willing to do whatever it takes."