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DORiS 8.34 | Antone Ennels | Embered Soulz | 9.23.21

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Today on DORiS we sit down with Antone Ennels. Antone is an artist, multi-instrumentalist and member of Embered Souls We discussed his career in music, Eastern Shore Outlaws, Iron Army and exercise therapy. See him live at the Art Bar with Embered Soulz.

Antone grew up a comic loving gym-head with a musical family. Raised by his grandmother Rev. Agatha Chester, a trailblazer in her own right; breaking ceilings for women and people of color in ministry and business. She instilled in Antone the core values and lessons that have gotten him through many trials in his life. As for music, "This is in our blood.", says Ennels, many of his family members being musically inclined or involved in the industry. As a child he was serenaded by the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix. Legends both for their vocal ability and incredible instrumentation. The love and respect for the craft of music by his family and role models seeped into him. So naturally upon joining Sinclair's 4th grade band he took to it immediately. He calls music "the ultimate translator", and began learning multiple instruments at once, and using them to communicate the things he wasn't able to say. With music as a base he soon began writing poetry which led to rapping. He recalls seeing the rap duo Criss Cross as a student at Maces Lane Middle School and the profound impact it had on him, pulling him into the burgeoning hip-hop scene.

"The zone is the same no matter who's in it."

In the beginning "anger was a motivation", says Ennels. Music and weightlifting are two healthy ways of transmuting his anger. Poetry taught him how to articulate his thoughts in new and creative ways, while the urgent and rebellious nature of rap reflected his personal inner turmoil. However, as he's gotten better at controlling his temperament he says it's become less about self-management and more about understanding those around him, "I think understanding is more important than communicating". Since birth music has been exposing him to people and customs outside of his own immediate culture. As a professional musician he's travelled far and wide meeting and getting to know new people. Those connections have impacted him in ways that have changed his perspective about a lot of things. "When you know the struggle of a person it makes it easier to connect with them".

"Music stops being yours the minute you play it."

Over the years Antone has been apart of several musical groups, one being a country band called Eastern Shore Outlaws. He says his time in that band taught him a lot about how to relate to others, often playing in venues where he might not necessarily fit in, but winning the crowd over by the end of the night. Country music being a white dominated genre of music he knew that his presence in that band on those stages was important for the culture. He got to play music he loves while also being in a genre where children who look like him don't often see themselves represented.

He is currently a founding member of Embered Soulz, an incredible lineup of musicians and vocalists who are the resident house band at Art Bar 2.0 in Cambridge, MD. I had the opportunity to sit in on one of their rehearsals and it was a truly magical experience. The entire band was just jamming and riffing off of each other and my jaw was on the floor the entire time. The group is made up of seasoned musicians who are all apart of other groups, so the ease with which they melded their styles together was just so natural you would have thought they'd been playing together their whole lives. Accompanied by Janelle Thomas' beautiful vocals the whole ensemble is can't miss act.

Throughout our conversation Antone was dropping gems that I will keep with me. Pressure makes things precious, We ain't supposed to be normal, I'm Possible! Phrases spoken with a sense of earnest that shows it's more than just words. They are verbal adrenaline shots for himself an all around him. In line with our theme of mental-health awareness, I asked Antone how he's developed and maintained his empowering mindset throughout his life and career. Reflecting back on his weightlifting journey he sees how his strength was a major part of how he defined himself as a person. So, when he suddenly lost his ability to workout due to complications with Type-2 diabetes he found himself in a place of deep depression and self-doubt. He went from benching 500lbs to being bed ridden. He says that time forced him to rethink and reshape his perspectives of himself once again.

"Exercise is the best example of the Law of Equivalent Exchange."

After regaining his health Antone dedicated himself to re-training himself while training others. Taking what he learned from his own healing process and using it to inspire and motivate others. That is the mindset he brings into I'm Possible Fitness and Iron Army where he and his core group of trainers help people to change their bodies from the inside out. They have a focus own connecting the mental, spiritual and physical sides of weightlifting. I hope you enjoy the interview and that his words inspire you like they inspired me. You can listen to our conversation below. Enjoy.