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fantasia barrino

Early life
Barrino began singing in her church at the age of 5. She was a member of The Barrino Family, a group that travelled and performed in the Carolinas and elsewhere in the American South. The group was popular but was taken advantage of in bad business dealings.



Barrino has a young daughter, Zion, whom she had as a teenage single mother around 2001. She dropped out of high school at the time.



American Idol
Barrino made an immediate impression on American Idol with her stylized, gospel-influenced sound and her unconventional diction. Her audition version of John Fogerty/Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" made her an early favorite in the competition. Her standout performance during the course of the show was a prone, heartfelt staging of the Porgy and Bess standard "Summertime" that left her in tears from "feeling the song" and earned raves from the judges, as well as landing her on the Emmy Awards's 2004 list of greatest television moments.



Nevertheless, Barrino's rise to the final two on American Idol was plagued with controversies including accusations of racism (when she and the two other well-praised African American female singers all landed in the bottom three, guest artist Elton John labelled the outcome racist), concerns over her being a poor role model, and charges of rigged voting and busy telephone signals. In the final performance of the season that formed the basis upon which America voted, Barrino offered a performance that drew effusive praise from the judgesincluding Simon Cowell's remarks that she was the best performer among the over 70 Idol champions crowned internationally since the show began its global competitions. Sixty-five million votes were cast in order to determine the winner on May 26, 2004, up from 24 million in 2003. In the end Barrino beat out Diana DeGarmo by a margin of 1.3 million votes.



Barrino participated in the U.S. tour with the other American Idol finalists and appeared in the 2004 Christmas special.



Post-Idol career
Now billed as just Fantasia, she released her first single in June 2004 on the RCA record label. The single includes "I Believe", which Fantasia performed on the finale of Idol, the Aretha Franklin hit "Chain of Fools" (released before on an American Idol compilation), and her signature version of "Summertime". The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number one, the first female artist to do so with her first record. On the sales chart, the single spent 11 consecutive weeks at number one (10 weeks in Canada), giving it the longest consecutive stay at #1 for an American Idol contestant.



She released an album, Free Yourself, in November 2004. It debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart, selling 240,000 copies in its first week. Just two months after its release, it sold over one million copies and went platinum. To date, it has sold over 1.8 million copies in the U.S. The singles "Truth Is" and "Free Yourself" became huge R & B hits, reaching #2 and #3 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart, while "Baby Mama" reached the top 20. Fantasia did even better on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay, where she was the first artist of any kind to simultaneously have two of the top three songs, and where "Truth Is" set a record stay at #1 by a female with 14 weeks. However, none of these singles has repeated "I Believes success on the more-pop-oriented Hot 100, where "Truth Is" reached the highest at #21.



In Winter and Spring 2005 Fantasia made many television appearances to promote her album. She played Aretha Franklin in an episode of the series American Dreams, singing "Respect", and guest voiced on The Simpsons episode "A Star is Torn". Fantasia appeared three times as a musical guest on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show.



In May and June 2005 Fantasia went on her first tour with her own live band, supporting soul singers Kem and Rahsaan Patterson. She also appeared as a headliner at several music festivals including the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival and the Reggae Sumfest on Jamaica. In Fall 2005 Fantasia will be touring with Kayne West's "Touch the Sky" tour.



In the late summer of 2005, Fantasia collaborated with Lyfe Jennings on his single "Hypothetically".



In September 2005, Fantasia published her memoir (which she dictated to a freelance writer), Life is Not a Fairy Tale. In it she reveals that she is, in fact, functionally illiterate. She discussed this in an interview on ABC's 20/20: she hadn't been able to read contracts, and she simply memorized the songs she was told to perform and sing on her records. She also revealed that she was raped when she was in ninth grade. The boy who raped her was suspended from school.



As of 2005, she is being taught to read by tutors, so she can read to her daughter and read contracts. She is also pursuing her GED.



Barrino has received critical lauds from a variety of respected and noted individuals including Donna Summer, Dallas Austin, India Arie, Anita Baker, Ellen Degeneres, Elton John, The Pointer Sisters, Patti Labelle and Ghostface Killah.



Next Album?
It is rumored that while Fantasia is performing on tour with Kanye West this Fall, she will be going back to the recording studios to work on her sophomore album. In recent radio interviews, she stated that she would like to write some of her own songs, on her next album. She also stated that, on the next album, she would like to experiment with more genres of music such as rock and country, reminding fans that "she loves all music". She has stated that while she is not performing on Kanye West's tour, she will be working on her next album. Pretty ironic seeing that she did the exact same thing for her first album, "Free Yourself". The only difference is, this time, its Kanye West's "Touch the Sky Tour", and not the "American Idol Tour". Theres speculation that her sophomore album will be finished by summer, or fall of 2006.



Awards
2004 Billboard Top selling single of the year, "I Believe"

2004 Billboard Top selling R&B/Hip-Hop single of the year, "I Believe"

2005 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Female Artist

2005 Billboard-American Urban Radio Networks Top R&B/hip-hop single (sales), "I Believe"

2005 American Music Awards- Favorite Soul/R&B Album- Nominated

2005 American Music Awards- Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist- Nominated

2006 Grammy Awards- Best Female R&B Vocal Performance- Nominated ("Free Yourself")

2006 Grammy Awards- Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance- Nominated ("Summertime")

2006 Grammy Awards- Best R&B Song- Nominated ("Free Yourself")

2006 Grammy Awards- Best R&B Album- Nominated (Free Yourself)




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