Conference Call Interview With Fantasia Barrino
Transcription By TVFrenzy.com
Author's Notes: Logan "Lobeck" Martin had prior engagements and could not attend today's interview with Fantasia. However, John and I figured many of you would still be interested in the transcript. Remember to check out FORT for one-on-one interviews with Fantasia (and Diana) later this week.
*ALSO* - The interviewer questions are not verbatim (due to the fact that most questions involve a lot of gushing and rightfully so) but Fantasia's comments are about 95-98% verbatim (occassional irrelevant "conversational" phrases were omitted)
Personality Notes: Fantasia exercised the "laid-back, yet exciting" personality she's been demonstrating on TV in recent weeks. However, she was very sweet and genuine in the interview and considering many of her biggest critics were in there, I feel she silenced them.
<B>There have been some rumors regarding you receiving tons of recording offers, including Clive Davis stating that he plans to sign you no matter what. How is this "win either way" situation affecting your mentality going into the finale?</b>
I'm still going to go out there and give my best, sing like it's my last time singing...just have fun. But, at this point, it really doesn't matter. I feel like I've accomplished a lot - I came this far. Out of 70,000 people, I got the top two. It doesn't matter, but I'm not going to do anything different. I'm still going to get out there and sing like I've never sung before.
<B>There were a lot of critics who called you arrogant early in the season, yet the general consensus is that you've become a lot more personable in recent weeks. What are your thoughts on this situation?</b>
I haven't changed, I've always been the same. The people who are backstage, they'll always tell me I'm silly. The same way I'm on TV is the same way I'm off TV. A lot of people don't get to see that, just the people who I'm with here everyday know that. I think what I did was I just showed people that were taking it a different way...I just shut up and let Simon say whatever he wanted, just hold my tongue. It wasn't that I was trying to be smartor mean, it's just how I am off-stage. If he comes off-stage and says something to me in the back, I'll be like "Simon, be quiet." He's got a lot of mouth, so I'll get him back. I just wanted to show people that I wasn't being mean. When I heard about it, I was like "ohh, man, I don't want people to take me that way." So, I just shut up...I ain't gonna say nothin' else.
<B>How do you think your daughter's going to affect your post-show career?</b>
I don't think she's going to affect it at all. She pushes me to go further, to work so very hard. She's a joy, she's a blessing that God gave to me. I'm just going to work hard so that she can have the best. She pushes me, she doesn't affect anything I'm doing. I've gotten this far. I get tired, I get weary sometimes, but sometimes I think, I have a child to take care of, so sometimes I feel I just have to work hard.
<B>What's your reaction to the new policy being rumored where each house can only vote once?</b>
I really haven't heard much about that because we love in a bubble here. We don't get to watch TV, we don't hear too much. All we get to do is practice for the show. Maybe the phone lines do get tied up since so many people are calling. I don't hear too much about it and when we were in the bottom two or the bottom three, everyone deserves to be in the top two. Some people may have better performances on Tuesday and they deserve to get votes.
<B>Do you feel the age limit should be raised to over eighteen?</b>
You have some sixteen year olds who are just "bad," they can sing. I like the younger ones that are in the competition this season, I have to salute them because they are working their butts off. They have school and have to learn their songs, it's just a lot of work for them. Maybe they're just looking out for them? I don't think it's fair because there are a lot of sixteen year olds, you got five year olds who can make you go "whoa."
<B>Do you feel any pressure being the judges' favorite?</b>
Not really. They gave me some comments from time to time that were kind of cold - Simon said I sound like Donald Duck. I always just get out there and try to do my best. If you love what you do, it doesn't really matter. And, I love to sing, so just get out there and have fun on the stage. Whatever they say to me, if they say good things. If they say bad things, I'll take it and run with it. La Toya was one of the favorites, George was very much loved, I just try and get out there and do my best.
<B>Does it matter whether or not you win or lose?</b>
It doesn't matter at this point, not to me. I made it to top two, which is a blessing, man. Out of 70,000 people, it could have been them, but it was me who made it to the top two. If she wins it, I'm going to be so happy for her - I'll probably cry like I do every Wednesday. You got a lot of young people who watch and she relates to them. Diana's for the younger kids, I feel like I take a lot of older people, since I've been through some things. It doesn't matter...we're both winners.
<B>Do you think Simon's comments to the media are trying to influence the voters?</b>
Nah, I just think it's the young people who watch The American Idol and vote. Diana, she's sixteen, a lot of young people can relate to her and take a liking to her.
<B>What were your personal best and worst nights?</b>
Best night would have to be Summertime because I was going through a little something, I was getting a little tired. I was hearing things like people thought I was arrogant. I said that on this song, I'm going out with no shoes on, on the TV, in the middle of the stage. Hopefully, I'm going to send out the message I'm trying to send out - and it worked! When I finished the song, I was crying. So, I said, hopefully if it touched me, it touched somebody else and it did. I enjoyed every song that I did [so I can't pick the worst].
<B>Can you talk about Diana?</b>
Diana reminds me of Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears, but she's more powerful [than them], she has a STRONG voice. I can't put her with anybody though, she stands out, she's Diana. If I heard her sing a song on the radio, for sure, I'd say "oh, there goes Diana." She's a young, sixteen year old who has a powerful voice, that's cool about her. She's a sweet girl, very humble, I love all of them like my sister.
<B>Has the absence of La Toya removed the pressure/encouragement to work hard?</b>
No, not really. I'm sad. Every Wednesday, I was sad to see people go - I always prepare myself because you never know what's going to happen. But, after the show, I looked at her and she said, "I'm alright, I'm going to go, I'm going to make CDs, I'm going to be in movies." If she's happy, then I'm happy. If she's okay, then I'm okay. I don't think it [affects my competitive factor]. Diana can go out there and open up her mouth and "good, God almighty." No, I don't think so. We all get out there and do the same thing - just get out there and have fun. Yeah, it's a competition, but when you love what you do, it doesn't even matter. I'm going to have to say I had a great time last week on my performance, though. I don't think I've performed like that this whole competition, I just let go, let loose. It hasn't changed.
<B>What's the story behind Simon constantly winking at you?</b>
Well, I always wink at him because I know he's going to come up with something really crazy. He's a sweet man, he always looks at us and says to stay humble and keep working hard. He has a different side, a little bit, not a lot.
<B>Can you detail the process behind choosing Summertime, since it's such an old and unusual song?</b>
Actually, I'd never heard that song before in my life. We have rehearsals to see what song we're going to sing for that week. I was going through a lot of songs and I couldn't really find anything. Michael O (?), who plays the music for the American Idol, started playing the song on the keyboard. I said 'there's something about that song' and when they gave me the words to it, and when I sang the song, it moved me. I said, 'this is the song, right here, that's going to send out the message that I'm trying to send out.' It actually talks about a mother talking to her child and I have a little girl; I could relate to the song. When I heard it, I said I 'gotta do that song right there.'