Personnel: Fantasia (vocals); Jazze Pha (rap vocals); The Underdogs , Tank (various instruments); Charles Pettaway (guitar); Alyssa Park, John Wittenberg, Laurence Greenfield, Julian Hallmark, Mario de Le¢n, Bob Peterson, Joel Derouin, Natalie Leggett, Sara Parkins, Armen Garabedian, Darius Campo, Berj Garabedian (violin); Matthew Funes, Evan Wilson (viola); Larry Corbett, Dan Smith (cello); Gerald Albright (saxophone); Greg Phillinganes (piano); Louis Biancaniello (keyboards, programming); Craig Brockman (keyboards); Nisan Stewart (drums); Carlos "El Loco" Bedoya (programming); Charile "CSUN" Bereal (drum programming); Sam Watters, Allison Lilly (background vocals); Eric Dawkins, Missy Elliott, Tamyra Gray, Lil' Steve, Jazmine Sullivan (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Manny Marroquin; Kamel Abdo; Carlos "El Loco" Bedoya; Jon Gass; Louis Biancaniello; Michael Parnin; Phil Tan; Rodney Jerkins; Leslie Brathwaite.
Recording information: Homesite 13, Novato, CA; NRG, North Hollywood, CA; PatchWerk Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA; Record Plant, Hollywood, CA; Soulpower Studios, LA, CA; The Hit Factory-Criteria, Miami, FL; The Underlab, LA, CA; Westlake Audio, LA, CA.
Editor: Dabling Harward.
Photographer: Isabel Snyder.
Arrangers: Sam Watters; Karlin; Louis Biancaniello; Soulshock.
The first season of AMERICAN IDOL built up to the final week where Kelly Clarkson won most of the spoils. The second season swiftly closed to a battle between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, with both achieving superstardom. In its third season, the variety show seemed to result in record deals for almost all of the finalists; however, it was the tough-edged, soulful voice of Fantasia Barrino that finally overwhelmed the judges.
Recording simply as Fantasia, the young singer with the powerful and richly seductive style debuts with FREE YOURSELF, a collection showing off her immense range, as she tries her hand (and excels) at many different types of music. She opens with the classic, mournful soul of "Ain't Gon' Beg You," followed by back-to-back 1970s-inspired songs, the title track and "Truth Is." Fantasia has certainly mastered the treat-me-right R&B ballad, but she also shows a different side on her traditional rendition of the jazz standard "Summertime." On the other end of the spectrum, she doesn't slip when served with a Jazze Pha hip-hop background on "Don't Act Right." To win AMERICAN IDOL, Fantasia had to be proficient in many genres, and FREE YOURSELF reveals her victory to be no fluke.