Fantasia Barrino rose to fame as a 19-year-old single mother who won the third season of “American Idol” in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut album, “Free Yourself,” which went on to be certified Platinum and garnered Barrino three Grammy nominations in 2006.
Today, the married 32-year-old mother of two is gearing up drop her new album, “The Definition Of…” (out July 29). She married Kendall Taylor — the COO of a local courier company — last July, and gave birth to her second child, a son, in December 2011.
However, Taylor is allegedly not the boy’s father. When Barrino announced her second pregnancy during a charity concert event in 2011, she did not reveal the name of the father.
Fanny received critical acclaim on Broadway for her 2007 stint in “The Color Purple” — only to be followed by depression and financial woes. She insists those dark days are behind her, and her new album will reflect a more confident and emotionally stable singer.
As Billboard notes, her career and personal life suffered from a wave of humiliating bad decisions and public scrutiny, which culminated on Aug. 9, 2010, when Fantasia attempted suicide by downing a bottle of aspirin. “I was a broken woman,” she told the publication.
Barrino’s healing began when she channeled that pain into her first Grammy-winning song, “Bittersweet” in 2011. Daily affirmations posted on her mirror — “You are strong,” “You are wise” — and a copy of self-help bible “The Power of Now” keep her grounded today. Hitting that low point, she says, “put me in a place where I know what I do and don’t want, musically. If I can’t do what I feel, then I quit.”
The recent wave of police shootings and the rise of Black Lives Matter have inspired her to create a new live show for her upcoming dates with labelmate Maxwell.
“You can’t look over it like it’s not happening,” she says. “I’m a mother, I’m a sister to three brothers, and I have a stepson in college. I wouldn’t want to see anybody’s child gunned down, no matter what color or race.”
“What’s more important is hitting the streets to say, ‘Hey, we have to do things better.’ ”
She recalls a recent drive through Charlotte when she and Taylor spotted a group of teenage boys fighting, and she insisted they stop the car. “My husband thought I was crazy,” she says. “I started speaking, and one of the guys says, ‘Oh, it’s Fantasia!’ And I’m like, ‘Let’s not worry about that. Let’s talk about the fact that you guys are out here as brothers and you’re fighting. So get home! And don’t let me catch y’all back on the streets!’ ”
Billboard notes that Fantasia plans to join her husband in mentoring young men in prison in Charlotte through a program called MOVE, in an effort to show them “no matter what you’ve been through, you can change.”
(Photo Source: Instagram/PR Photos)