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Davis musician Antoinette Clinton, who goes by her stage name, Butterscotch, is releasing her first EP this fall called “Perfect Harmony.” A music video directed by Robyn Twomey for the album’s title track is going to released online in a few weeks.
Butterscotch, who is known for her incredible beat-boxing, will be doing a lot more than just recording music. She will also be performing at the fifth annual Davis Jazz and Beat Festival on Oct. 22. The event will include her along with many other performers and will be located at 521 First St. in Davis.
In recent months, she has traveled to places as far away as Hong Kong and Germany.
“A lot has happened lately,” Butterscotch said, referring to her recent whirlwind of activity.
Growing up, Butterscotch lived in a musical household.
“My mother was a piano teacher, so I grew up playing piano,” she said. The rest of her family was also into music, exposing her to a variety of genres.
But despite having music all around her, Butterscotch didn’t fully immerse herself in music right away.
“I always loved music, but sports were No. 1 in my life,” she said. She played many sports, including soccer and basketball.
A knee injury in high school caused a shift in her focus toward music. After the injury, Butterscotch began attending Natomas Charter School, where she got involved with theater, visual arts and music, which she said changed her life.
Her first show was an open mic at the True Love Coffee House on K Street in Sacramento (now closed) during her junior year of high school.
“Anytime you do something for the first time, it’s a little nerve-wracking,” she recalled. Although not yet beat-boxing, Butterscotch was able to sing and play the piano and guitar.
Butterscotch began beat-boxing during her senior year after seeing local beat-boxer Leejay Abucayan. She turned out to be a natural and quickly became a beat-boxing sensation.
Starting in 2005, she won a string of beat-boxing competitions in the United States and Germany that started to raise her visibility and earn her respect in the beat-boxing community. Since then, she has been making her way up the musical career ladder.
In October of 2006, Butterscotch tried out for “America’s Got Talent” in Los Angeles after a friend suggested it to her.
“I never really watched reality TV shows,” she said, “but someone told me that I should do it. I thought, ‘What could be the harm in trying out?’ ”
After several months, the show responded to her and wanted her for the televised auditions. When she got there, she said, she had no idea what to expect.
“I don’t think I have ever been that nervous before,” Butterscotch said. But despite her nerves, she delivered what judge Sharon Osbourne called a “brilliant” performance and was given a place on the show.
After having performed several songs, from “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music,” Butterscotch ended up coming in third place on the show.
“I think it definitely gave me a lot of confidence to pursue my ideas,” Butterscotch said about how the show changed her as a musician. “It got me back into piano, because I had kind of gotten stuck in a beat-boxing mode.”
She also said that the speed of the show “forced me to consolidate my ideas and come up with new things.”
After the show, Butterscotch became the subject of considerable attention.
“I would go to the grocery store and everyone (would start) saying something to me and start recognizing me,” she said.
She also said that she was frustrated with how the show had portrayed her.
“It made me out to be very very quiet and shy, so people would come up to me and be like, ‘You came out of your shell!’ and I would think, ‘You don’t really know me!’ ”
But this fame has also brought Butterscotch many new musical experiences. She has performed with a variety of famous musicians, the most noteworthy being Earth, Wind & Fire. She said that the performance was “one of the highlights of my life.”
Butterscotch’s numerous musical influences are eclectic. She said that while her mother and father listened to classical music and Motown, respectively, her siblings listened to hip hop and R&B. All of these styles influenced her growing up. In her “angry” teenage years, rock was also added to her repertoire.
All of these styles are apparent in her music.
“It’s kind of like my head is a just a music box,” she said. “I put things in through my ears, and whatever gets computed in my brain comes out in my mouth or my fingers when I play.”
While an official release date has yet to be set for her new EP, Butterscotch said that it should be out in October or November.
To stay up do date on Butterscotch, visit her website at butterscotchmusic.com.
Below is a video of Butterscotch playing the piano while beat boxing at the same time.