Born in Brooklyn and raised in the cosmopolitan Caribbean island of Trinidad, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Angela Hunte has always been surrounded by music from different cultures and generations. On Trinidad’s radio stations in the ‘80s and ‘90s she heard American and British pop acts including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Robert Palmer and Sting; Angela felt a deep connection to Sade and the legendary Shirley Bassey while her grandmother listened to The Andrew Sisters, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
The genre-blurring soundtrack of Angela’s formative years fueled her ambition to become an artist while laying the foundation for the broad-based sonic spectrum that characterizes her professional versatility. One of contemporary music’s most celebrated and sought after songwriters, Angela’s songs range from country to jazz, alternative rock to hip-hop, reggae to EDM and include tracks for the music industry’s biggest names: Rihanna (“Tip Pon Toe”), Britney Spears (“Do Somethin’”), Nas (“I Can”), Snoop Dogg a.k.a. Snoop Lion (“Here Comes The King”) and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes who gave Angela her first break as a vocalist: she sang the hook on Lopes’ song “True Confessions.” In 2009 Angela’s career reached dizzying heights when JAY-Z recorded a song she had co-written, “Empire State of Mind,” featuring Alicia Keys on the song’s hook. “Empire” sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, won two Grammys (best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration), has sold nearly 6 million copies in the U.S. and remains a beloved New York City anthem.
Within her across-the-board success as a songwriter who has helped so many music luminaries express their identities, Angela always knew that she too would become an artist. Her long held ambition became a reality in early 2015: Angela wrote lyrics to a soca rhythm created by Miami based producer DJ Buddha, recorded her vocals on it then sent the song, “Party Done,” to Trinidadian soca superstar Machel Montano and asked him to be on the track, too. Machel not only added his vocals, he invited Angela to perform the song with him at his annual carnival concert extravaganza Machel Monday. There, before 30,000 soca enthusiasts in Trinidad’s capital Port of Spain, Angela delivered her debut performance. The popularity of “Party Done” created a demand for Angela at various Trinidad style carnivals across the Caribbean and North America. Although her heritage and early strides on stage will always be associated with Trinidad’s popular music form, labeling Angela a soca artist misrepresents her category-defying career trajectory. “I said from the beginning of this journey that I am a genre-less artist, people have tried to pigeonhole me as a soca artist but I don’t want to be put in a box,” Angela told Billboard in an interview in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. “I am just an artist, and I am going to do what I feel like.”