R&B star Fantasia seems to have it all. The winner of American Idol has a Grammy to her name, wowed audiences in the hit Broadway production of The Color Purple and topped the best-selling lists with her memoir. But life was often a struggle for this once unemployed single mother.
“My life looks like a fairy tale in many ways, but you have to remember that life is not a fairy tale. I was the American Idol but at the time I couldn’t even read a fairy tale to my four-year-old daughter,” she revealed in her biography Life is Not a Fairytale.
Her book has been turned into a movie of the same title which airs on True Movies (DStv Channel 138) on March 7 and 14 at 8.45 pm.
“But that was my past, and where I am now is my future. We all go through things and the things I went through made me who I am today,” she says.
Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story is Fantasia’s first movie acting role. “I was like, ‘well, who is going to play me, and what is she going to look like? I want to meet her!,” she says, before she realised that the producers had her in mind to play herself all along.
The film also features Emmy Award winning How to Get Away with Murder star Viola Davis as her mother and is directed by Fame star Debbie Allen.
Fantasia says they were brilliant teachers who gave her enormous confidence but reveals that music is still her first love. “Music (has always) saved me. I look up artists to 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 adds.
So who are her role models: “I watch my mom and Miss Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin. When I sit down and I talk with them, it’s like these women are legends. They’re so classy in my eyes. That’s the way I want to be.”
DID YOU KNOW?
•Fantasia’s single Bittersweet won her a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
•In 2014 she was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
•Barrino has been nicknamed “Baby Patti LaBelle” by her idol Patti LaBelle.
•Her heartfelt rendition of Summertime from Porgy and Bess has been named the best performance American Idols history.
•In 2012, VH1 named Barrino 32nd out of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
•No Time for It, the first single from her latest album, was released in January this year.