Early Life of Fantasia Barrino:
Fantasia Barrino was born June 30, 1984 in High Point, North Carolina. She began singing in church at the age of 5 and developed her passion for music listening to artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Brandy, and Aerosmith. Fantasia was born into a musical family. Her father and grandfather were gospel singers. Her brothers Ricco and JoJo formed the group Infinite 3, and her cousins Cedric and Joe Hailey are founding members of the group Jodeci.
Difficult Teenage Years:
Fantasia Barrino was the victim of sexual assault as a teenager and dropped out of high school. She later became pregnant and at age 17 gave birth to her daughter Zion Quari Barrino. The relationship with her daughter's father did not work out, and Fantasia began the difficult life of a single teenage mother.
American Idol Winner:
Fantasia Barrino made an immediate impression on the judges and audience of American Idol season 3 in 2004 with her audition version of Ike and Tina Turner's classic "Proud Mary." Later in the season she performed "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess in a rendition that was so emotional it left Fantasia in tears. It is still seen as one of the top moments of all time on American Idol. With over 65 million votes cast, 19-year-old Fantasia Barrino won the competition by just over 1 million votes.
Fantasia - R&B Star:
Despite some complaints about her status as a single, teenage mother, Fantasia had instant success on the r&b and pop charts. Her first single "I Believe" became the first single ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Fantasia's debut album Free Yourself was released in November, 2004 and sold over a million copies within 2 months of release. The album generated 3 top 20 r&b singles, and Fantasia was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards.
Fantasia's Top Hit Singles:
- 2004 - I Believe - #1 Pop
- 2004 - Truth Is - #2 R&B
- 2005 - Free Yourself - #3 R&B
- 2005 - Baby Mama - #16 R&B
- 2006 - Hood Boy - #21 R&B
Collaborations With Other Top Artists:
- 2006 - Blame It on the Rain w/ Sam Moore on Overnight Sensational
- 2006 - I Wish w/ Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams on Happy Feet Soundtrack
- 2007 - Let Me Put You Up on Game w/ Aretha Franklin on A Woman Falling Out of Love
Bestselling Book and TV Movie:
In September 2005 Fantasia Barrino published a memoir titled Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. The book became a top 10 New York Times bestseller, and it included the revelation that Fantasia was functionally illiterate which meant she had been unable to read her own contracts and simply memorized lyrics to songs she was asked to sing. The book was turned into a TV movie on the Lifetime network in 2006 and became the second most watched program ever on the network.
Self-Titled Second Album and Future Projects:
In the summer of 2006 Fantasia severed professional connections with American Idol and 19 Management. She signed up with Violator Management, the management home of 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, and other top r&b and hip hop stars. Fantasia's second, self-titled, album appeared in December, 2006 and included production contributions from Missy Elliott, Swizz Beatz, and Dre & Vidal. The lead single, another r&b hit, was "Hood Boy."
As 2007 began, Fantasia was scheduled to open concert dates for Jamie Foxx and appear in a duet with Aretha Franklin on the album A Woman Falling Out of Love.