Fantasia Performs on 'GMA'

ByABC News via logo
July 21, 2005, 9:54 PM

July 22, 2005 — -- Fantasia Barrino owned the stage during the third season of "American Idol," wowing the judges and the audience with her soulful performances and going on to win a $1 million recording contract.

Fantasia once again wowed the crowd, this time in New York City's Bryant Park as part of "Good Morning America's" Summer Concert Series. The 21-year-old's debut album, "Free Yourself," has sold 1.8 million copies and counting.

So how is the "American Idol" superstar reacting to all her newfound fame?

"I tell everyone everywhere I go I feel very blessed," said Fantasia.

Fantasia was born in High Point, N.C., into a musical family. She first performed when she was 5 years old at the Mercy Outreach Church of Deliverance. Three years later she was performing at churches, weddings and other events with the Barrino Family Singers -- a gospel group that included her mother, Diane, her trucker father, Joseph, and three brothers.

But Fantasia had her share of tough times. She dropped out of high school in ninth grade and was drinking and hanging out in clubs. By the time she was 16, she was involved in an abusive relationship and got pregnant with her daughter, Zion, who is now 4.

Fantasia was never shy about her struggles as a single mother, even performing a song called "Baby Mama," which she has called a "shout out to all single moms out there."

R&B idols like Aretha Franklin were her inspiration, but she listened to a range of music from jazz to country to gospel. Fantasia combined those influences to create her own dynamic vocal style -- one that let her perform such diverse songs as "Summertime" and Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind."

Fantasia wrapped up her first solo tour on July 1. She played her musical idol Aretha Franklin on the television drama "American Dreams," and she's looking ahead to more TV and movie roles.