Carmela Antonio (born October 10th, 1984) is a Canadian singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada. As a child, she listened to The Beatles, Billy Holiday and Nat King Cole—a fact she credits to her grandfather, who would play Nat King Cole tirelessly. "My family wasn't necessarily 'musical,' but there was always music playing. Somehow, my grandmother would have the radio on." She started singing at the age of three, during a cousin's birthday party. While other toddlers were still trying to pronounce most words, Carmela was learning show tunes. "I remember my aunt teaching me, 'I Don't Know How To Love Him,' from Jesus Christ Superstar. I didn't even know how to read." And it was this early exposure that paved the way for her natural thirst for music.
Carmela released her debut EP independently in the fall of 2008, entitled Slow Me Down. An independent distributor, Indiepool, based in Toronto, digitally distributed the record. It was a pop/soul/jazz inspired collection of her early works. The record did not do well, and after the release, Carmela felt a strange detachment from it. "It was a bizarre feeling. Truthfully, during the production of it, I wasn't completely honest with myself. I was too eager, and I just really wanted to put myself out there. Little did I know, I really wasn't ready." The failed attempt, combined with a series of life-altering events, including a break-up, and a major falling-out with her family, highly called for a two-year hiatus.
During this break, Carmela sought refuge in music. "Music sort of found me, in a manner of speaking. All these wonderful bands and records kept coming my way, and I just let it infiltrate me. I fell in love with it [music] all over again." She immersed herself in different sounds, the sounds of Miike Snow, M.I.A., Julian Casablancas, Gil Scott-Heron, Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Janelle Monaé, Friendly Fires, and her list could go on and on. And so she started writing again, but this time, she did not hold back. With newfound inspiration, Carmela departed from the "Slow-Me-Down-image" and took on a completely different musical direction. In this short EP, Paper Dolls, Carmela tells the story of a girl finding herself in the midst of chaos. Producer Diego Las Heras, captured the very essence of the subject matter and allowed Carmela's true creativity, and true colours to grow. The growth in both her lyrics and delivery is evident. There is a marriage of sounds that boasts alternative, pop, rock, grunge, electronic, and soul. The title track, "Paper Dolls," is a fun, cheeky female rant about cookie-cutter beauty, declaring that most guys "got no depth perception, only d!*% perception!" "Don't You Worry" is a cool, Caribbean-inspired tune, that talks about the hollow reality of relationships gone wrong, and picking yourself back up again and learning from your mistakes. "Fame Whore" is about the excessive desire to be noticed and the aspiration to become something that isn't quite real. "The truth is, 'Fame Whore' is loosely about me. There was a point in time, where I confused what success meant to me." And "Blindside," is a powerful and honest confessional of being completely lost and alone, and finding any reason "to feel alive."