‘When I See You’ songstress Fantasia has seen herself aboard a media rollercoaster since the turn of the decade.
Indeed, kicking it off with her Grammy-award winning, 2010 top-seller ‘Back To Me’, the singer shortly thereafter found herself back atop headlines for a spectrum of a reasons – many of which, she tells That Grape Juice, nearly led her to walk away from the very platform that brought her fame.
Now, as her fourth album ‘Side Effects of You’ hit shelves today, Tasia talks exclusively about why it is her most personal to date (addressing those issues “head-on”), the future of her once-scheduled Mahalia Jackson biopic, and so much more.
It all awaits below…
Fantasia Shouts Out That Grape Juice
That Grape Juice: Hello again Miss Fantasia! How are you?
Fantasia: I am good! Just excited about this album! I really hope it blesses people.
That Grape Juice: From what we’ve heard of it, we’re sure it already has (laughs)! So, let’s get right to it. What would you say is the overall sound of the album ‘Side Effects of You’?
That Grape Juice: From your amazing ‘American Idol’ performance last week to radio and charts alike, ‘Lose To Win’ is winning everywhere! Why did you feel it was the best first single for this album?
Fantasia: The passion for my music, with all of the things that were going on in my life, was beginning to be lost. Music is my first love. After ‘American Idol’, everything happened so fast and got out of control. I had such a bittersweet taste in my mouth for it.
Where I am now, I had to tell my label “If I can’t come back and speak my mind to really let the people know what I felt and what I went through, then I don’t want to come back at all.” Once they [the label] got that, ‘Lose to Win’ was one of the last songs we recorded. I think everybody realized that it was my testimony. Yes, I may have lost a lot, but now I’m winning again.
When I say “winning” I’m not talking about money, cars, or clothes. I’m talking about finally being at a peaceful place and being comfortable in my own skin to finally doing what I want to do.
That Grape Juice: Now, that leads us to its follow-up ‘Without Me’ (ft. Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott). How did that collaboration come to be?
Fantasia: I’ve always worked with Missy – even from my first album. She and I became very good friends, so I would always say any album I do, if she’s not producing a song, I still want her to be a part of it. Our stories are so much alike.
With Kelly, I just kind of sat back and watched her story and how things played out for her. She’s a very nice down to earth person. We met up and just started talking. Both of us were going through some things and weren’t getting much cooperation out of the labels at first, but everything worked out in the end.
Now, I see her out doing her thing and being strong black woman. I love that. When we worked that out, we thought in the studio who better than Missy to get on the track?
She’s a breath of fresh air. People miss her.
That Grape Juice: When should we expect a video?
Fantasia: Really soon! I want Missy to do the video. When I look back at all of the thigns she’s done, all of them were amazing! She’s not afraid to step out of the box.
All three of us are just going to sit down and come up with something different that people haven’t seen us do before.
That Grape Juice: We look forward to that. Now, switching gears a bit, you’ve been very vocal about how personal this album is to you – even from its titling. So, tell us, who or what is the “you” being referred to in the title ‘Side Effects Of You’?
Fantasia: I like for people to be able to relate to me through my honesty. As artists, sometimes people put us on a pedestal and think life is great or perfect. They look at clothes, shoes, and red carpets, but I don’t think people understand that all of that comes with so much more. Drama and all types of stuff.
I’m not going to let those things change me. I think people at this point know that I am very honest and feel what I’m going through. I do that to help other people. It’s not easy telling my story and suffering backlash.
That Grape Juice: Ok then! So, switching gears again, it’s been a while since we’ve heard any updates on your role with the Mahalia Jackson biopic. Is that still in the works?
That Grape Juice: Now, moving from the big screen to the small screen, you got your start on ‘Idol’ then moved to a hit VH1 reality show years later. How do you feel about ever returning to the reality show circuit?
Fantasia: No way (laughs)! If I was to do it, it would have to be something totally different from ‘Fantasia For Real’. You know, when you allow cameras into your home with your family it can either go one of two ways – it can be blessed or cursed. For me, at this point in my life and going through what I’ve been through with my family, I don’t think I need to show my love for them on camera anymore.
For me, I’d rather love them genuinely without cameras around. There’s always a camera around when it comes to me anyway, so when I do my “family time” now, that’s special and something I want to be honest and true.
That Grape Juice: Alright! Well, let’s bring it all home here on the contextual tip. Given all that you’ve been through over the course of the past ten years, if you could tell yourself from 2003 one thing, what would it be?
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)