Most fans know Fantasia Barrino from the 2004 season of the hit television series "American Idol." The hit show jump-started Barrino's career and helped vault her on the road to stardom.
During the first wave of auditions of the 2004 "Idol" season, Barrino immediately captured the judges' hearts with her performance of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary." However, it was during the middle of the season that Barrino began to receive serious recognition, when she performed the "Porgy and Bess" standard "Summertime," which left the star in tears and the judges blown away.
Although Barrino's auditions won critical acclaim, fan votes were touch and go. Along with "Idol" colleague Jennifer Hudson, Barrino was nearly eliminated but fans quickly reconsidered after "Summertime." She ultimately won the "American Idol" crown by defeating runner-up Diana Degarmo.
Barrino, 19, was the youngest winner on "American Idol" until Jordin Sparks, 17, took the crown during the 2007 season.
It's become Barrino's trademark to talk about her personal struggles. Marked by a sexual assault in the ninth grade followed by a quick departure from high school, Barrino's hardships have only motivated her. Leaving high school so soon left Barrino functionally illiterate; at the beginning, she frequently had to memorize her lyrics. However, that didn't hold her back.
With the help of tutors and an ardent desire to read and write, Barrino wrote a memoir titled "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale." The book chronicles Barrino's life from assault survivor to motherhood, and her strong religious faith.
After becoming the victor of "American Idol," Barrino continued her music career as a solo artist with her debut album, "Free Yourself." The hit single "I Believe" reached No. 1 on Billboards Hot 100, and stayed there for 11 weeks, a feat no other "Idol" singer has accomplished. Barrino is also the only "Idol" artist to have consecutive hit singles in Billboards top three positions. "Free Yourself" has sold more than 2 million copies. "Truth Is" and "Free Yourself" also ranked as Nos. 2 and 3 respectively on the Billboards Adult R&B Airplay.
Following her debut success, Barrino released her second album, "Fantasia," on Dec. 12, 2006. Under new management, Barrino worked with more mainstream artists, such as Missy Elliot, Swizz Beatz and Diane Warren, ultimately releasing the singles "Hood Boy" and "When I See You."
Barrino continues her dream, but has also found another love -- acting. Following the success of her memoir, Barrino was given an opportunity to showcase her life story in a 2006 TV movie, "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story." The movie was also screened on Lifetime, becoming the second most-viewed show on the network.
It was not until 2007 that Barrino returned to sing on "American Idol," announcing that she would star on Broadway's "The Color Purple."
When Barrino performed "I'm Here" from "The Color Purple" on both "Idol" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the Broadway show received major recognition, resulting in 6.5 million in preticket sales. In the starring role of Celie, Barrino broke house records for Broadway theater and "The Color Purple" during her first week.
Friday Barrino performs at a free concert for "Good Morning America's" Summer Concert Series. To attend, you must be at Bryant Park (41st Street and Sixth Avenue) by 6 a.m.