Who is SHE? Early Life...
Fantasia Monique Barrino-Taylor was born in High Point, North Carolina on June 30, 1984. Music-making ran through both sides of her family. Her father Joseph Barrino sang in gospel quartets beginning in his teenage years. Her mother Diane, co-pastor at Mercy Outreach, also sang, as did two of her brothers, one of whom served as a church choir director. Barrino started singing at the age of five and has not stopped singing since. She attended High Point’s Welborn Middle School where she sung in the all-county chorus. Shortly after she entered Andrews High School where she encountered a act of sexual assault from a classmate. Due to this incident she became pregnant and dropped out to give birth to her daughter, Zion. Barrino struggled financially, singing at weddings or wherever else she could to help pay the bills. Finally, one day she gained the courage to turn back to her roots of singing and auditioned for American Idol. This is when her true road to stardom began.
Road to Stardom...
Fantasia’s experiences gave her a depth and a level of self-confidence that many of her American Idol competitors lacked. Her friends and family members persuaded her to enter the contest, but Barrino resisted at first because she was intimidated by the show’s host, Simon Cowell. However Cowell was impressed by Barrino in the early rounds and gave her extremely positive feedback, advancing her to the next round. For the final performance of the season, Barrino offered a second performance of “Summertime” that blew the audience and judges away! On the finale, over 65 million votes were cast in order to determine the winner on May 26, 2004. On this day Barrino defeated runner-up Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million votes at the age of 19. This made her she the youngest American Idol winner until May 23, 2007, when then 17-year-old Jordin Sparks won the title. After the mark Fantasia left on American idol, she blew up as an R&B artist leaving her mark everywhere else.
Fantasia The Artist.
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 Barrino the first artist in history to achieve this with a first single. Barrino 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 some of her greatest R&B hits, reaching number two and number three respectively on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while the controversial “Baby Mama” reached the top twenty. Fantasia is known for her soul filled voice and heart felt performances, which often leads to her singing out her shoes. Her artistic style shows the overcoming of all her personal experiences and growth into the skillful vocalist she is today.
Lights...Camera...ACTION! Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story
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As a Mother...
Fantasia is the mother of a beautiful daughter and son. Though she lives a busy life as artist she still makes time for her children and enjoys the experiences of motherhood. Her song “Baby Mama” received some negative comments and opinions stating that the song romanticized single motherhood, but in reality it was a representation of her everyday life as a single mother, not by choice. It shows that though she was a single mother when her daughter was born, she takes pride in knowing she was still able to be a great mother and role model to her child.
A Happily Ever After.
Throughout her life, Fantasia had bad experiences with her male companions. She experienced physical, sexual, and mental abuse in various relationships for years. However, Barrino was given a better opportunity to find love. She is now married! Barrino wedded Kendall Taylor, a businessman, on the 19th of July 2015. Fantasia often states that her husband inspires her in her music. The couple seems happily in love, even tying the knot all over again just after their one-year wedding anniversary.
Awards and Achievements
- BillBoard Music Awards: Top Selling Single of the Year (“I Believe”), Top Selling R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year (“I Believe”)
- 2005 NAACP Image Award: Outstanding Female Artist
- Billboard American Urban Radio Networks: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single (“I Believe”)
- Emmis Communications/Hot-97 “KISS-FM” Phenomenal Woman Award: Phenomenal Woman
- Vibe Music Award: R&B Voice of the Year