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Fantasia Barrino – known to fans as Fantasia – is a record-breaking singer, songwriter, actress and author who rose to fame as a winner of American Idol. She has since had a string of hit singles and No. 1 albums, performed on Broadway, and toured internationally, becoming one of the most successful and acclaimed artists to emerge from the Idol franchise. Her style of contemporary R&B is heavily influenced by soul and gospel, and she has collaborated with the likes of Missy Elliott, Faith Evans, Jennifer Hudson and Joe. Fantasia’s immense talent was first recognised when she auditioned for the third season of reality singing competition American Idol at just 19. Repeatedly gaining praise from the judges throughout the series, she wowed audiences with her moving rendition of Summertime in the final, and went on to win the competition. Following her victory, she released debut single I Believe, which entered at No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. Incredibly, this made her the first artist in history to do so with a debut single, and the record remained at the top spot for 11 weeks. Later that year, she released the album Free Yourself, which earned three Grammy nominations and was quickly certified platinum. Over the following years, Fantasia released several further popular albums, including chart-toppers Back to Me, Side Effects of You, and The Definition Of. In 2005 she released her autobiography Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, which became a New York Times bestseller. The book was adapted into a biopic for Lifetime the following year, starring Fantasia herself alongside Viola Davis and Kadeem Hardison, and for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She later made her Broadway debut when she was cast by Oprah Winfrey as Celie in the musical production of The Color Purple. .
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