To Fantasia, life and music can never be separated. So when the 26-year-old, eight-time Grammy nominee titled her third album Back to Me, she was making her current goals, both creative and personal, crystal clear.
"When I was on American Idol," she says, "people fell in love with the young lady who took her shoes off to come onstage, who spoke her mind and didn't hold anything back. They could relate because whatever I was feeling at the time, I put that in my music.
"But after doing two albums and having the chance to do some acting," she continues, "I think I allowed people to influence me and change me. As an artist, you're always asking, 'What's the new sound? What's gonna bump in the clubs? What's hot?,' when really, all it takes is you being yourself. What makes us special as artists is when we do us. So I wanted to get back to that Fantasia-the young lady who sang from her soul and didn't worry about what anyone else has to say. You have to follow your heart, and most of the time when you do that, you win."
Fantasia Monique Barrino knows a few things about winning. Following her triumph in the 2004 edition of American Idol, the song "I Believe" made her the first her the recording artist in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts with a debut single. Her album Free Yourself was certified platinum, while the follow-up, 2006's Fantasia, featured the #1 R&B hit "When I See U."
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