Fantasia Monique Barrino (born June 30, 1984) commonly known as Fantasia,
is an American R&B singer, Broadway and television actress
who rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality
television series American Idol in 2004. Following her victory,
she released her debut single, "I Believe", which debuted
at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, she released
her debut album, Free Yourself, which went on to be certified Platinum
by the RIAA and garnered Barrino three Grammy nominations in 2006.
In 2006, she released her second album, Fantasia, which featured
the single "When I See U" which topped the Billboard Hot
R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eight weeks. The album was certified
Gold by the RIAA and received three Grammy nominations in 2008. She
then played the part of Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple,
for which she won a 2007 Theatre World Award. Her third studio album,
Back to Me, was released worldwide on August 24, 2010 and features
the single "Bittersweet," which peaked in the top ten on
the R&B chart. The single won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B
Fantasia Barrino was born and raised in High Point, North Carolina,
to Joseph and Diane Barrino. The Barrino family traveled and performed
in the Carolinas and elsewhere in the American South and recorded
the CD Miracles for a local label.
Despite the travels, Barrino attended Andrews High School in High
Point, North Carolina. After she was raped by a classmate, she
was left feeling harassed and embarrassed and dropped out of high
school. She became pregnant at 17, and on August 8, 2001, gave birth
to her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino. Barrino then briefly moved
to neighboring Greensboro, North Carolina before trying out for the
American Idol Auditions in Atlanta.
 Music career
 2004: American Idol
Barrino's audition version of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" made
her an early favorite in the competition. Her standout performance
during the course of the show was a heartfelt staging of the Porgy
and Bess standard "Summertime" that left her in tears from "feeling
the song" and earned praise from the judges - Randy Jackson
has called it the best performance in the show's
history - and was named amongst the AOL's 2004 list of greatest television
For the final performance of the season, Barrino offered a second
performance of "Summertime" that again drew praise from
the judges; Simon Cowell remarked that she was the best contestant
to ever compete in any competition, including the more than seventy
Idol champions crowned nationally and internationally since the show
began its first global incarnations. On the finale, over 65 million
votes were cast in order to determine the winner on May 26, 2004,
up from 24 million in 2003. It was the highest finale vote in
the show's history until the May 23, 2007 season-six finale.[citation
needed] Barrino defeated runner-up Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million votes.
At age 19, she was the youngest American Idol winner until May 23,
2007, when the 17-year-old Jordin Sparks won the title.[citation
Barrino participated in the U.S. tour with the other American Idol
finalists and appeared in the 2004 Christmas special, Kelly, Ruben
and Fantasia: Home For the Holidays as well.
Barrino's brother auditioned for the eighth season of American idol
but failed to make it to the Hollywood round.
Barrino is one of only three winners, the others being Ruben Studdard,
and most recently, Kris Allen, to have landed in the bottom three
or two, which she did twice, making her the only winner of the series
who landed in the bottom group on more than one occasion.
Week Theme Song Artist Order Sung Status
Semifinals Semifinal Group 1 "Something to Talk About" Bonnie
Raitt 8 Advanced
Top 12 Soul music Week "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours
Stevie Wonder 6 Safe
Top 11 Country music Week "Always on My Mind" Willie Nelson
Top 10 Motown Week "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" Marvin
Gaye 9 Safe
Top 9 Elton John "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" Elton
John 1 Safe
Top 8 Cinema "Summertime" Abbie Mitchell 5 Safe
Top 7 Barry Manilow "It's a Miracle" Barry Manilow 7 Bottom
Top 6 Gloria Estefan "Get on Your Feet" Gloria Estefan
Top 5 Big Band "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" Queen
Barbra Streisand 5
Top 4 Disco "Knock on Wood"
Holding Out for a Hero" Eddie Floyd
Bonnie Tyler 3
7 Bottom 2
Top 3 Idol's Choice
Clive Davis's Choice "Chain of Fools"
A Fool in Love"
Greatest Love of All" Aretha Franklin
Ike & Tina Turner
George Benson 2
Finale Contestant's Choice "All My Life"
I Believe" K-Ci and Jo-Jo
Fantasia (Idol Single) 2
 2004–2005: Free Yourself
After winning American Idol, Fantasia signed to J Records with 19
Entertainment and began work on her debut album. In June 2004, she
released her debut single, "I Believe", which later debuted
at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This number-one debut made
Fantasia the first artist in history to achieve this with a first
single. On the sales chart, the single spent eleven consecutive
weeks at number one, giving it the longest consecutive stay on top
of that chart for an American Idol contestant. The CD single, "I
Believe", went on to become the top selling single of 2004 in
the U.S., and has since been certified double platinum by the CRIA.
Barrino also won three Billboard Music Awards for the single.
Fantasia released her debut studio album, Free Yourself, in November
2004. It debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200, selling 240,000
copies in its first week. To date, it has sold over two million copies
worldwide, and was certified Platinum in the U.S. The singles "Truth
Is" and "Free Yourself" became R&B hits, reaching
number two and number three respectively on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop
Songs, while the controversial "Baby Mama" - which critics
accused of romanticizing single motherhood - reached the top twenty.
Barrino did even better on the Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay,
where she was the first artist of any kind to simultaneously hold
the top two spots of the top three, and "Truth Is" spent
fourteen weeks at the number one position. Barrino was named the
number-one artist of the Adult Urban Contemporary format for 2005
according to the December 13, 2005 issue of Billboard magazine.
Through the spring and winter of 2005, Fantasia made many television
appearances to promote her album. She played Aretha Franklin in an
episode of the series American Dreams, singing "Respect",
guest voiced on The Simpsons episode "A Star Is Torn",
and guest starred as herself in a cameo role on the sitcom All of
Us. She appeared three times as a musical guest on The Tonight Show
with Jay Leno. On March 25, 2005, Fantasia performed at the thirty-sixth
NAACP Image Awards in honor of Illinois Senator Barack Obama after
winning the award for Outstanding Female Artist. In May 2005, Fantasia
went on her first tour with her own live band, with soul singers
Kem and Rashaan Patterson. She also appeared as a headliner at several
music festivals including the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival and the Reggae
Sumfest in Jamaica. In October 2005, she received good notices as
an opening act for Kanye West's Touch the Sky Tour.
 2006–2007: Fantasia and The Color Purple on Broadway
In 2006, Barrino was nominated for three Grammy Awards for her debut
album. Though she didn't win any of them, she performed at the 48th
annual telecast with several artists including Aerosmith, Joss Stone,
John Legend, Maroon 5, and Ciara in an all-star tribute to Sly and
the Family Stone during the Grammy Award show.
In August 2006, Fantasia played herself in a Lifetime Television
film based on her autobiography Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. The film
was directed by Debbie Allen and debuted on the women’s cable
network on August 19, 2006. The movie received nineteen million viewers
throughout its debut weekend. Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia
Barrino Story has also become Lifetime's second most viewed program
of all time.
Fantasia had many musical collaborations during the fall of 2006
including a remake of The Clark Sisters' "Endow Me" which
featured Faith Evans, Lil' Mo, and Coko of SWV, a remake of Stevie
Wonder's 1976 song "I Wish" with Patti LaBelle and Yolanda
Adams for the soundtrack to the 2006 computer-animated film Happy
Feet, and most notably her duet with Aretha Franklin which was recorded
at that time and later released in 2007.
She released her self-titled second effort, Fantasia, on December
12, 2006. The album involved production by Missy Elliott, Swizz Beatz,
Babyface, Diane Warren, and others, and has since spawned the singles "Hood
Boy" produced by Tone Mason, "When I See U", and "Only
One U" and went on to be certified gold. "When I See
You" became her first single to top the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop
Songs chart, remaining at the number one spot for eight consecutive
weeks. The single stayed on the chart for over a year and was named
#8 on the Billboard Best of The 2000s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
In February 2007, Fantasia appeared and performed on American Idol,
and announced that she would be starring in the lead role of Celie
in the Broadway musical The Color Purple, the hit musical based on
the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker.
After appearing on American Idol and The Oprah Winfrey Show, the
musical received a boost of over two million in pre-ticket sales
in one week. Leading up to her first performance on April 10, 2007
the play garnered a total of 6.5 million in pre-ticket sales.
While playing the role, Fantasia earned rave reviews for her performance.
Long-time Broadway critic Clive Barnes of the New York Post went
on to say "... there is some elemental quality to Fantasia that
is either greatness or something close to it." Upon her warm
welcome to the stage Fantasia was asked to perform at the 2007 Tony
Awards in a tribute to Atlanta's Alliance Theater in which The Color
Purple got its start. In recognition of an outstanding stage debut
performance, Fantasia was given the Theatre World Award and the Best
Replacement Star Broadway.com Award. Fantasia was initially scheduled
for a limited six-month engagement ending in October 2007 but had
her run extended until January 6, 2008. The Color Purple box office
saw a thirty-four-million-dollar jump in sales since Barrino started
in the show, a third of the play's 100 million dollar earning since
its debut in 2005. The New York Post reported that Barrino missed
nearly fifty performances in the show, causing the producers to give
back tens of thousands of dollars in refunds. In the September
2008 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine, Barrino revealed that the
reason for her absences in The Color Purple was because of the development
of a cyst on her vocal cords. She was ordered to immediately undergo
surgery which later revealed that she in fact had a tumor on her
vocal cords. She now reports that after a successful surgery, the
tumor was completely removed and she is now well.
 2008–2010: Back to Me and Fantasia for Real
Fantasia received two Grammy nominations for her sophomore release,
Fantasia and subsequently began work on her third studio album in
2008. She stated on the red carpet of the 2008 Grammy Awards that
the style of the new album would be a blending of the avenues she
has touched musically, which include American Idol and Broadway.
She also revealed that she would be writing some of the album's songs
and would collaborate again with Missy Elliott, The Underdogs, and
Midi Mafia, who produced one of her biggest hits, "When I See
Midi Mafia produced the majority of Fantasia's third studio album.
Also, hip hop duo Rock City were confirmed to be writing for the
new project. At the time, they had recorded four songs together.
She also worked with songwriter/producer Rich King (Brandy "1st
and love", Randy Jackson Music club vol.1, John Legend's "Quickly"),
which spawned two songs with for her third release. KP, Eric Hudson
and Raphael Saadiq are a few people that also became involved on
the project. Fantasia confirmed that about 75% of the album was complete
by mid-2009, and that fans should've expected a new single by the
fall of 2009, with the album due to be released in early 2010. This
was later delayed, and while recording her new album, Fantasia decided
to do a great deal of it the "old fashioned way," inviting
a live orchestra to record in the studio with her.
Fantasia was then cast by Oprah Winfrey as Celie in the film adaptation
of The Color Purple musical, which began production after the release
of her third album, as Fantasia confirmed to MTV News on March 5,
In June 2008, Entertainment Weekly reported that Fantasia was dropped
from 19 Entertainment because of creative differences, however, she
will remain with 19 Recordings and J Records. She also revealed that
after the release of her third album, she plans to release a gospel
album. She performed with her mother, Diane Barrino, in a Thanksgiving
special on BET's Bobby Jones Gospel. Fantasia also appeared on Jennifer
Hudson's self-titled album, on the song "I'm His Only Woman",
which was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award, though it did not win.
Fantasia reprised the role of Celie in the national tour of The
Color Purple during its Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and Los
Fantasia also stars in a reality show produced by World of Wonder.
Titled Fantasia for Real, it premiered on January 11, 2010, on VH1
to rave reviews and ratings. The show's first season ended in
July 2010 with its second began on September 19, 2010.
On February 2, 2010, "Even Angels", produced by The Stereotypes
and written by Heather Bright, was never released to radio from Fantasia's
third studio album. She performed the song on The Oprah Winfrey Show
on February 3, 2010. The album's first official single, "Bittersweet",
was released on May 11, 2010 and has gone on to reach number seven
on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as well as number seventy-four
on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fantasia's third studio album, Back to Me, was released on August
24, 2010. Fantasia cited Tina Turner, Queen and Aretha Franklin
as influences, and like musicians she admired from their era, she
recorded with a live band. The album has been promoted by appearances
on Good Morning America and The Wendy Williams Show among others.
On March 28, 2010, Fantasia also performed "America the Beautiful" at
WWE WrestleMania XXVI. To promote the album, Barrino embarked on
her first solo concert tour, Back to Me Tour in the fall of 2010.
Barrino appeared on Charlie Wilson's album Just Charlie, on "I
Want to Be Your Man."
 2011-present: Grammy Award and film
On February 13, 2011, Fantasia won her first Grammy Award for Best
Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Bittersweet". In
2011, Barrino was cast in her first film role, playing gospel singer
Mahalia Jackson in a biopic based on the 1993 book Got to Tell It:
Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel.
During an interview with CNN, Aretha Franklin has expressed interests
in casting Barrino to play her in an upcoming biopic.
 Personal life
In September 2005, Barrino published a memoir, dictated to a freelance
writer, titled Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. The book became a New York
Times best-seller, reaching number seven on the list.
In it, she revealed she is functionally illiterate and was unable
to read the text of contracts she signed or to read to her then four-year-old
daughter. In 2006, following the release of her autobiography,
Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, Barrino's father sued her for $10 million
after she said unflattering things about him in the book that he
claimed were false.
On December 9, 2008, The Charlotte Observer reported that Barrino's
6,600-square-foot (610 m2), lakefront home in Charlotte's Glynmoor
Lakes at Piper Glen community was in foreclosure and would be up
for auction. Her 4,500-square-foot (420 m2) home, also in Piper Glen,
is unaffected. On January 8, 2010, an agreement was reached
to not auction Barrino's home.
Her uncles, The Barrino Brothers, were a 1970s R&B band.
An August 2010 divorce filing in Mecklenburg County District Court
alleges that Barrino has had a year-long relationship with Antwaun
Cook, who was married. Barrino claimed the two began dating after
Cook and his wife separated.
On August 9, 2010, Barrino was hospitalized in Pineville, North
Carolina, due to overdosing on aspirin and an unknown sleep aid.
Dickens said, "'Her injuries are not life threatening … she
was dehydrated and exhausted at the time." The Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Police Department classified the incident as a suicide attempt.
In transcript segments released the day before an August 24, 2010,
interview on the VH1 series Behind the Music, Barrino confirmed the
incident was a suicide attempt, saying, "I didn't care about
anything. I just wanted out. At that moment I wanted out. I wanted
it to be over with...." Barrino denied rumors that the incident
was a publicity stunt.
Afterward, Barrino said, "Music saved me. When I went in the
hospital, I went into the computer room, and I looked up artists
who've been through things, artists who sing from their soul. I took
my cues from them, and I just put my mind and everything into music."
She also relied on her family, something she had not done earlier
in her career. Barrino testified in court that she aborted her
and Cook's fetus around the time of her failed suicide attempt.
In late August 2010, the ex-wife of Antwuan Cook, Paula Cook, accused
the American Idol winner of knowingly pursuing a relationship with
her husband despite knowledge of their existing marriage. In December
2010, a North Carolina judge ruled in Barrino's favor stating the
Cooks' separation date was September 14, 2009, and not June 2010
as Paula previously claimed. No information was given yet as to how
the decision of the court will affect Paula's original plan to sue
Fantasia under North Carolina's Alienation of affections Law which
allows the abandoned spouse to file a suit against the individual(s)
responsible for the failure of the marriage.
Life Is Not a Fairy Tale (2006) as herself
Mahalia! (2011) (as Mahalia Jackson; lead role in the film)
The Color Purple (2007) as Celie
Soul Kitten's Cabaret (2010) (Good Conscience)
 Television appearances
American Idol (2004) (Contestant/Winner in 2004 and has made numerous
musical guest appearances on seasons afterwards)
The Simpsons (2005) She plays Clarissa Wellington in the episode A Star is
An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Aretha Franklin (2007)(Herself; tribute performer
singing "Rock Steady" & "Baby I Love You")
An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Patti LaBelle (2009) (Herself; tribute performer
singing "Lady Marmalade" and "Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know
Who It Is)")
Soul Train Awards (2009;Tribute to Chaka Khan singing "Tell Me Something
Celebration of Gospel (Appeared in numerous years singing)
Fantasia for Real (2010–present)
Wrestlemania 26 (2010) (singing America the Beautiful)
Black Girls Rock (2010) (Herself, singing "A Brand New Day" and "I'm
An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Chaka Khan (2011) (Herself; tribute performer
singing "Tell Me Something Good")
RuPaul's Drag Race (2011) (Celebrity Guest Judge on Season 3)
American Idol (2011) (guest performer Season 10)
Main article: Fantasia Barrino discography
Free Yourself (2004)
Back to Me (2010)
 Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Result
2004 Billboard Music Awards Top Selling Single of the Year ("I
Top Selling R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year ("I Believe")
2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Female Artist Won
Billboard American Urban Radio Networks Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single
("I Believe") Won
Vibe Music Award R&B Voice of the Year Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist Nominated
Favorite Soul/R&B Album (Free Yourself) Nominated
BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist Nominated
Best New Artist Nominated
Soul Train Music Award Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist Nominated
2006 Grammy Awards Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Free
Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Summertime")
Best R&B Album ("Free Yourself") Nominated
ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Awards Most Performed Song ("Free Yourself")
Most Performed Song ("Truth is") Won
Groovevolt Music Awards Best New Artist Won
Soul Train Music Award Best Female R&B/Soul Album (Free Yourself)
2007 American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist Nominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance - "The
Color Purple" Won
Broadway.com Award Favorite (Female) Replacement - "The Color
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatical
Special (as Fantasia Barrino) Nominated
2008 Grammy Awards Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("When
I See U") Nominated
Best Contemporary R&B Album ("Fantasia") Nominated
Greensboro sit-ins Organization Founder's Appreciation Award Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Duo or Group Collaboration ("Put
You Up On Game") Nominated
2009 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Duo or Group (with Jennifer Hudson)
Grammy Awards Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
("I'm His Only Woman") Nominated
2010 Barbados Music Awards International Award of Excellence Won
Soul Train Awards Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Nominated
Record of the Year (Songwriter's Award) ("Bittersweet")
Grammy Awards Best R&B Album ("Back to Me") Nominated
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Bittersweet") Won
2011 NAACP Image Award Best Song ("Bittersweet")