April 10 -- WHO:Anastacia
WHO'S THAT?: Anastacia Newkirk, 28-year-old Chicago-born pop singer who now resides in Los Angeles. A onetime dancer on Club MTV, she made the cut on MTV's The Cut and has sold more than 5 million copies of her debut album, Not That Kind, overseas. It's just been released in the United States.
WHAT'S IN A NAME:Believe it or not, Anastacia is her real name.COMPARISONS:Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Teena Marie, Macy Gray
DID YA KNOW?:As a dancer, Anastacia logged appearances in several videos — most prominently in Salt-N-Pepa's "Everybody Get Up" and "Twist and Shout."
FIRST IMPRESSION:Not That Kind (Epic/Daylight)
Anastacia: My mother named me Anastacia. She thought it was such a beautiful name, and she says it's a great name because it ends up being the first name when they go from the front of the alphabet in the credits, the ones where they go in alphabetical order. She's an actress, too, so I'm like, "Oh, boy, she's really thought this out …"
Your career has almost taken off at several different points. Was it ever so frustrating you considered giving up?Anastacia: There were definitely times I felt like giving up, like when I was fired from a hair salon in L.A. [for being too loud] and could not really get a singing job to save my life. I just felt like I might as well stop and go for something I could have a career in; I was going to study psychology and social work for children. I thought if singing couldn't bring me joy, children could. But there was always a reason why I attempted to keep doing it — another situation, another opportunity, "OK, I'll try it." It's like, "Why don't you stop dating?" — because I know something's going to happen. It's not like I had big fantasy and dreams about it until one day when I wanted to give it up, and the opportunity I had to go on the MTV show [The Cut].
Michael Jackson called you when his MJJ Productions was bidding for you. What was that like?