Soul singer Fantasia has dropped another hit album – her fourth one in fact. But this one is different. Side Effects of You impacts anyone who’s ever been in love – been hurt – and born again. The 13 track recording on the RCA Record label debuted this April as #1 on the Billboard top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #2 on the Billboard 200.
Side Effects of You prescribes a dose of reality on life and self-love. In addition to its soul-binding message, the musical score bounces with mix beats, harmonic horns, striking strings and moving piano melodies –all under the powerful vocals of the Grammy winner – herself. Fantasia calls the project her “baby.”
“It’s all a blessing,” Fantasia tells SmoothJazzTimes.com. “I’m still in shock with everything that is going on. The album is just doing so well. It’s the type of music that I wanted to do. I’m glad I stood strong with what I believed in. People are actually telling me they love the honesty, the soul, the rock, and the whole direction we went.”
That direction, for the 28 year old, began with Harmony Samuels who literally brought feelings from Fantasia’s soul to life. Fantasia says she knew right away that she wanted to work with the London bred producer after he presented to her the song Supernatural Love.
“I felt God put me with Harmony because when I got with him he could just pick up everything I was going through. I knew then this is who is supposed to do my whole album,” she said.
Fantasia wrote seven out of the thirteen songs on the album. The single, “Lose to Win” has taken off resonating with fans all over the world. She co-wrote the single alongside writer Andrea Martin. Just recently Fantasia returned to the very stage where she got her national stardom – American Idol – to perform the hit single. The performance was seen by millions of viewers who witnessed firsthand the spiritual vocalist coming into her own – with confidence, style and grace. Fantasia calls “Lose to Win” a testimony, not only for herself, but for others as well.
“The response that I’ve received from this album; from men, women, black, white, all races has been so great! They tell me they enjoy the sound and the message,” said Fantasia who adds she is so thankful to all her fans for their steadfast support.
“I had a lot of down time earlier. That’s when I would write in my book what I’m feeling. I wasn’t writing for any music at that time – just writing for therapy. Then when the day came for me to get back into the studio for this album – I pulled out that little book and carried it along with me to the studio. As artists, we put what we go through in our music and we try to bless others through our gift,” Fantasia said.
New Single “Without Me” is another hot ticket on the Side Effects of You recording. It features Missy Elliot and Kelly Rowland. Fantasia also co-wrote the song with Al Sherrod Lambert, Kyle Steward and Missy. The single has a vibe of R&B mixed with Hip/Hop and asks the question, “Where’d you be without me?” The song is already popular with fans!
Fantasia says the overall R&B sound is somewhat different these days. She wants to help keep the energy and preserve the music through her recordings – and she’s hoping other artists will continue to keep the originality of the music going strong.
“The R&B sound is beginning to change so much compared to the way it used to be. I just find myself speaking to a lot of artists – about the importance of maintaining that honesty and that truth in R&B. ”
The down home North Carolina native has bounced back from some tough times during the earlier years of her career when reports revealed she was in a troubled relationship and suffered financial woes. Now the vocalist has a new lease on life – and it’s laid out in the lyrics of her hit single “sometimes you got to lose to win again.”
For Fantasia the trials have made her stronger and confident. She says relying on faith, family, friends and those faithful fans pulled her through. And many refer to the singer as a testimony and a blessing. Fantasia says she is grateful for all the support.
“You know what I realize?” Fantasia tells SmoothJazzTimes.com. “This is how I see it – out of all that I’ve been through, all that’s been said and done, I feel that I’m finally at the place where God always wanted me to be which is very confident and loving myself, accepting myself for who I am, what I’ve been through – and just allow his light to shine through me.”
“That is what I realize has happened, out of all this transitioning, the ups and the downs, the gossip. I just realize God took me through all of that; going through the storm; and now after through it all I have come out polished and clean. God has built me up from all of that stuff to be able to take and deal with life in a whole better way.”
Fantasia is on a nationwide tour. SmoothJazzTimes.com recently caught up with the singer at her stop for the Stone Soul Music and Food Festival in Richmond, Virginia. And there’s more! She will be joining opera singer Andrea Bocelli for classical duets during Bocelli’s summer concert series.
“I love to be on stage. That’s my happy place,” Fantasia said. “I love being busy when it comes down to being in concert. This new project that I’m about to go and be a part is going to be totally different for me. It’s such an honor to sing with Andre Bocelli.”
Meanwhile, you’d want to catch Fantasia in concert and definatley check out Side Effects of You. Fantasia is a soulful joy on stage and in the studio as her music is straight the heart.
“This is really my first time letting myself go there in writing and not be afraid for my new album,” said Fantasia. “I told the record label if I do this record, I’m going to have to be able to do what I feel. I have to be able to talk about what I’ve been though, and just get all of it out,” she said. “I write what I feel as well as what I hear. A lot of people have come up to me to give me their stories. They’re so honest with me – so this album is about their testimonies and mine too.”
-VIsit the SmoothJazzTimes Video Vault to catch the singer in action from the 2013 Stone Soul Music and Food Festival in Richmond, Virginia!
-Also listen to Fantasia in our podcast report at SmoothJazzTimes’ Podcast Central!
Side Effects of You
Supernatural Love, feat. Big K.R.I.T.
Ain’t All Bad
If I Was a Bird
Girl Talk (Interlude)
Without Me, Fantasia feat. Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliott
Side Effects of You
Get it Right
So Much to Prove
Change Your Mind
Lose to Win
End of Me