Even before the question is posed, she makes clear the essence of her sound. “I’m a soul singer,” she says, with much pride and little hesitation. That’s who she is, at her core, and no matter the song she sings, her spirit seems to resonate from the speakers along with her voice. That’s the magic that Fantasia brings, every time.
At first listen, Side Effects of You might sound like an album about heartbreak and the process of piecing oneself back together. That’s true, in part, but if you have her tell it, there’s much more there. While the Grammy-winning singer has certainly enjoyed chart-topping, triple-platinum and multi-platform success since winning season three of American Idol, she, like everybody, has made some mistakes, too. Though she has never shied away from being transparent in her music, she wasn’t necessarily thinking about putting her words into song when she picked up a pen and her blank notebook two years ago.
“When I started writing in my book, I had a bittersweet taste in my mouth,” Fantasia says of how she was feeling – professionally, personally, emotionally – after putting in a decade’s worth of hard work. “I’d been doing one-off shows and not really recording, but when my doctor put me on bed rest, I decided to use that time to start writing down some of the things that were on my mind. If I was able to get to the grocery store, people would stop me in my Hoveround chair and tell me what they were going through, so I wrote about that, too.” It was only after she met (and vibed with) London-bred producer, Harmony Samuels, that she realized it might be time to get back in the studio. With her trusted notebook by her side, she would eventually co-write seven of the 13 songs that comprise Side Effects of You. “I’ve always wanted to collaborate with someone the way Michael Jackson did with Quincy Jones,” she says of joining forces with Harmony, who serves as album producer. “As soon as I heard the song, ‘Supernatural Love,’ I knew he was the one.”