Grammy Award and American Idol winning singer and actress Fantasia Monique Barrino has chosen to celebrate her 32nd birthday in Trinidad this weekend, even as she headlines the "Truth Is" concert scheduled for June 30 at the Ambassador Hotel on Long Circular Road, St James.
Fantasia, as she is more commonly known, won the American Idol contest in 2004 and has since released three studio albums and sold over two million albums and over a million singles in the United States alone.
Event organiser Nigel G Baptiste of Nigelstouch Promotions says that Fantasia requested to be in Trinidad for her birthday after hearing so much about the island.
He said: "Fantasia enjoyed performing and sightseeing in Barbados recently, but I assured her that she will be blown away by our beaches on the North Coast, by our bake and shark and our many other savoury dishes, in addition to the genuine hospitality of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. After hearing so many other artistes rave about T&T, she decided she wanted to come here in time to celebrate her birthday."
Fantasia rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television series, American Idol in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut single, "I Believe", which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Subsequently, she released her debut album, Free Yourself, which went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA and garnered three Grammy nominations in 2006. In 2006, she released her second album, Fantasia—which featured the single, "When I See U"—which topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eight weeks.
The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and received three Grammy nominations in 2008. She then played the part of Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple, for which she won a 2007 Theatre World Award. Her third studio album, Back to Me was released worldwide on August 24, 2010 and features the single "Bittersweet", which peaked in the top ten on the R&B chart. The single won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. As of February 2012, Barrino has sold 2,842,000 albums and 1,425,000 tracks in the United States.
"Although we're having a private party for her the night before the concert," Baptiste revealed, "I know Fantasia's performance will be phenomenal on her birthday. She is known for kicking off her shoes and going walking amongst her audiences, so anything is possible on the night of June 30. Her songs are timeless and the passion we can expect her to display on her birthday will surely amaze all those in attendance."
Fantasia will perform alongside New Jersey R&B/hip hop artiste Nina Foxx and local acts, Kimba Sorzano and Ifa Sayo. Sayo, who grew up in England, will be performing two of Adele's songs in addition to her own recent release, "Love What We've Become".
Baptiste was born on Dundonald Street and raised between Belmont and Charford Courts in Port of Spain, but has since worked for five years with Warner Brothers Studio Stores and also spent 14 years in retail management in New York City. Upon returning home, Baptiste said he immediately saw a need for top quality concerts and promotions on the island and began to examine potential acts for his first concert back home. With names such as Drake and Rihanna being tossed around by various promoters, Baptiste said that when he asked around to assess the demand for Fantasia, the response was overwhelming.
"In planning my first concert," he said, "I asked a lot of people who they would love to see perform in Trinidad and Fantasia's name kept coming up and ringing like a bell. I think most women can identify with Fantasia and they seem to just love her because she is so down to earth and I must say she's easy to work with as well."
While here, Fantasia is scheduled to meet with the acting Mayor of Port of Spain on Friday and will also have a private party at La Casa de Ibiza in Woodbrook on the night before her birthday.
"The concert will be managed by Pure Events," concluded Baptiste, "and the goal is simply to meet the needs and desires of the patrons attending, while providing an attractive, professional and entertaining environment for both the guests and our cast of talented acts and of course, our headliner as well. It's a feel good kind of event and we expect all the ladies to come out dressed to impress and ready to sing and dance along all night."