Third-season American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino wowed both the series' fans and jaded judges with her gospel-rooted vocal histrionics. But like previous AI winners Kelly and Ruben, Fantasia -- clearly the most charismatic of the three -- has a hard time translating her infectious stage presence onto her debut disc (surprisingly, even her showstopping rendition of the Gershwins' "Summertime" falls flat here). That said, Free Yourself is still more polished than any other Idol's first record, thanks to urban hitmakers Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri, and Rodney Jerkins. Although Fantasia's nasal timbre often recalls Macy Gray, her vocal range is far superior to Gray's; a more accurate comparison might be made to Mary J. Blige, most notably on the Missy-assisted "Good Lovin'." Like Blige, Fantasia is a round-the-way girl with a voice informed by adversity, and she makes sure listeners are aware of just how much she's struggled -- from growing up in the ghetto (the Brandy-reminiscent "This Is Me") to dealing with triflin' beaus (the kiss-off title track) and unrequited love ("Truth Is"). The album's biggest misstep (other than misprinted track listings), however, is Fantasia's loud-and-proud proclamation of being a "Baby Mama." Still, there's enough good material here for Fantasia's fans to fawn over, and plenty of promise for a career to be revered.
Performance CreditsFantasia Primary Artist,Vocals
Gerald Albright Saxophone
Maxi Anderson Choir, Chorus
Louis Biancaniello Keyboards
Debra Byrd Choir, Chorus
Darius Campo Violin
Larry Corbett Cello
Joel Derouin Violin
Kevin Dorsey Choir, Chorus
Armen Garabedian Violin
Berj Garabedian Violin
Darlene Koldenhoven Choir, Chorus
Bobbi Page Choir, Chorus
Greg Phillinganes Piano
Melanie Taylor Choir, Chorus
Yvonne Williams Choir, Chorus
Evan Wilson Viola
John Wittenberg Violin
Terry Wood Choir, Chorus
Craig Brockman Keyboards
Eric Dawkins Background Vocals
Bob Peterson Violin
Sam Watters Background Vocals
Missy Elliott Background Vocals
Jazze Pha Rap
Natalie Leggett Violin
Tony Wilkins Choir, Chorus
Charles Pettaway Guitar
Deborah Sharpe-Taylor Choir, Chorus
Angela Fisher Choir, Chorus
Lil' Steve Background Vocals
Laurence Greenfield Violin
Julian Hallmark Violin
Nisan Stewart Drums
Eric "Ebo" Butler Choir, Chorus
Dan Smith Cello
Nicholas Cooper Choir, Chorus
Alyssa Park Violin
Tamyra Gray Background Vocals
Byron Motley Choir, Chorus
Allison Lilly Background Vocals
Jazmine Sullivan Background Vocals
Mario de León Violin
Matthew Funes Viola
Sarah Parkins Violin
Technical CreditsBarbara Acklin Composer
Ernie Isley Composer
Eugene Record Composer
Mark James Composer
Phalon Alexander Composer
Louis Biancaniello Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer
David Campbell String Arrangements,String Conductor
Johnny Christopher Composer
Steve Churchyard Engineer
Jermaine Dupri Composer,Producer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Ross Hogarth Engineer
Marvin Isley Composer
O'Kelly Isley Composer
Ronald Isley Composer
Bill Malina Engineer
Yolanda McCullough Engineer
Tom Ranier Orchestration
Brian Scheuble Engineer
Robin Sellars Engineer
Nigel Wright Producer
Craig Brockman Composer,Producer
Rodney Jerkins Composer,Producer
Damon Thomas Composer
Sam Watters Arranger,Composer,Producer
Missy Elliott Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Jazze Pha Producer
DuBose Heyward Composer
Charles Pettaway Composer
Wayne Carson Thompson Composer
Ricky Lewis Composer
Harvey Mason Composer
Carsten Schack Composer
John Horesco Engineer
Johnta Austin Composer
Alexis Yraola Art Direction
Kamel Abdo Engineer
Vito Colapietro Composer
Neely Dinkins Composer
Zachary Wallace Composer
Ric Rude Producer
Bryan-Michael Cox Composer,Producer
Charile "CSUN" Bereal drum programming
Harold Lilly Composer,Producer
Dabling Harward Engineer
Alex Cantrall Composer
Chris LeBeau Artwork
Nico Solis Engineer
Antonio Dixon Composer
Tamyra Gray Composer
Carlos "El Loco" Bedoya Programming,Engineer
Sean Garrett Composer,Producer,Engineer,Vocal Producer
Soulshock & Karlin Audio Production
Underdogs Producer,Audio Production,Instrumentation
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fantasia Barrino was born for greatness, not many singer has the natural God given vocals like this young lady. And what makes her so amazing is that she's not boastful or arrogrant she's so HUMBLE. Fantasia have a voice that can soothe away any fears, pains or dispairs. Everyone should make Fantasia part of their life by owning FREE YOURSELF. Remember I said it, Fantasia is bound for greatness.
Wow! If these clips are any indication, this will be THE CD to have this season!! I am looking forward to hearing the full length songs!
Do not sleep on this CD an excellent R&B album, classic re-makes awesome CD I listen to it everyday.
Fantasia is a great singer, performer and a great person overall and her album shows how great of an artist she is! i love the album can't stop playing it! She has a great Future Ahead! Way to go Fantasia!
you have to get this CD it's one of the best CD's ! She have every type of song to reflect everybody's mood and style. from it's all good if you got your heart broken buy a gut you played you she give you strenght to say it's all good your going to be alright. baby mama is a song for siongle mothers she lets you know that you can still go after your dream and be proud of yourself. it's just a great cd all i can say you must get it and you won't be sorry! it's worth every penny every song on this cd is great
Well no wonder Fantasia has heavyweights like Aretha Franklin, Missy Elliot, R Kelly and more begging to work with her. No wonder America chose her as a winner for American Idol 3. This album is the best I've ever heard, she sounds like a veteran, her vocals are so pure, they sound amazing. The songs are unique and catchy. I recommend you buy 5 of these albums to share with family and friends, stuff those Christmas stockings with this great gift of FANTASIA, I know I will:)
Fantasia even though you are only 20 years of age, your voice has this mature sound that the young, middle and older aged people can relate too. Most of the women can get into your music because it is what we have been going through for years with our black men who do not appreciate the things we struggle so hard for and that is love and happiness and a family. We as women go all out for our black men for them to later turn around and treat us as though we do not exist. Thank you fantasia for this album because it made me realize that I can make it through life on my own and be happy with just me and my children.
This album is really,really good if you have doubts about getting it you seriously should.She is the definition of "Star Power" this girl has it all and more her voice is so silky and just glides through every track that seems tailor made just for her
I was happy when Fantasia won on American Idol. I liked her hip-hop R&B Club feel. She seemed like the girl that you'd watch in the middle of the dance floor going "Heeeeey." But this album is the woman sitting at the small table in the corner with a cigarette in her mouth. For her bubbly personality, this album was a little bitter and way too hopeless romantic. My heart still beats fast to "Summertime", and I really enjoyed "Truth Is", "Selfish" and "Don't Act Right", but they had an up-beat dance feel to them. "Summertime" is kinda old school but she adds a lot of flavor to it. The rest of these songs just seem so Old School R&B. I'm not knocking Old School R&B, but I was looking for something different in this album. She's got a song called "Baby Mama" which congratulates women who have children and no man in their lives, who are also still doing things to improve their future regardless of dude being in their lives or not. But the rest of the cd sounds like she's chasing dude around begging him to come back or understand why he hasn't. The concept of this album is terrible but Fantasia's voice is beautiful. She just needs someone else to give her a new school feel.
Absolutely a breath of fresh air. I don't where the critics are coming from but for all the hard core R&B/soul music lovers, this is CD will give you chills. I've got mad love for Fantasia...for all those haters (critics), get over it. She's doing the darn thing!
I have worn the CD out. I love it so much. The message is GREAT!!! I wish I would have been as brave as Fantasia and used my voice. But I did not. Thanks Fantasia for doing what GOD wanted you to do.
Fantasia's soulful voice is refreshing. I have been waiting for her cd and it was well worth it. All I can say is WOW!!! You go girl.
I personally love the CD and the songs that she sings. Fantasia has shown on this first CD that she is a very versatile singer and performer. She has crossed over into all types of music from slow to up beat. I say you go girl and keep turning a deaf ear to the negative press and people who can not sing themselves, but just write opinions. Keep the faith and give God the glory for all the good things he has done. As far as the songs being out of order as printed, it does not matter, because in any order they all sound great. She will be in this business for a long time. Love you Tasia. From Winston-Salem, North Carolina
FANTASIA, formerly known as Fantasia Barrino delighted the AMA audience last night with a song off of her soon to be released new album, FREE YOURSELF. Ms. Fantasia has proven to be quite a force to be reckoned with. She has so far shown us that her career did not end with her win on American Idol. Her old fans will be delighted with the new songs as well as the old on her Album. Her new listeners will be the most delighted after having a chance to listen to Summertime and I Believe, which have become FANTASIA favorites among her many many fans around U.S. and abroad.
This Album has beautiful vocals and is produced very well. I am looking forward to every ablum this girl puts out....cuz she REALLY puts it out there!....Inspiring and Exciting.
This is truly a great CD,Fantasia have always been a favorite of mind every since AI,she is truly a great singer no matter what they continue to say about her,keep doing what you do best and bringing us great music,and may god continue to bless you with the beautiful voice you so truly have....
Finally a young singer that puts the S back in SOUL!!! She simply makes your heart flutter with the intensity of her voice. There were naysayers about Aretha and Patti too, I recall.... Narmi
FANTASIA'S ALBUM WAS GREAT! Her album entitled "Free Yourself" has a wide range of songs, from her show-stopping rendition of "Summertime" to her hip single mother antem "Baby Mama". Her voice sounds great as well as her lyrics. She is definetely an American Idol!
I honestly hope that it does make good sales #'s because it is not onlythe BOMB!!! it is also very therapeutic. I know that a lot of women in our day and time would not only relate but appreciate this album. It like all those things that we have been feeling but could not find the words to express... Well this CD says it all and then adds a tight beat. I mean the beat is so tight it makes my little manufacture speakers sound good. I love the fact that when my man getting on my nerves and ain't acting right I can put it on and sing with it "IF YOU DON'T WANT ME THEN DON'T TALK TO ME GO AHEAD AND FREE YOURSELF" track #2 or "AIN'T GONE BEG YOU" track #1. He thinks about it listens to the words and he know what's up.... the CD is hot!!!!
Fantasia definitely has a bright future ahead of her in the music industry. I do hope that she stays grounded and keeps her humility and stay humble, baby-girl.
The woman is blessed and I'm glad I bought the C.D. and I don't buy CD's....you go Fantasia. Royal_T ILL-Noize, USA
Fantasia Borrino, is the best American Idol ever. Not only can she sing she can perform on stage. Her CD Free yourself is exceptional. Whenever you have a CD with more than 4 great cuts its a good CD. Fantasia has more than 4 great cuts. Congrats on her grammy nominations. Fantasia can sign. I just have one advise for Fantasia. Try not to scream so much when you get happy with a song. This can mess up your vocal cords.
I thought this was an excellent debut album. What a way to start off- Missy Elliot & Jermaine Duprie writing songs for you. I enjoyed every song.
I loved this CD. Fantasia did her thing. I am so proud of her and i dont even know the girl. She has overcome a lot in her life and you can hear it and definately FEEL it when you listen to her music. Everyone should get this CD. It is WONDERFUL
She makes a mockery of Summertime and You Were Always on my Mind. It is downright disgraceful. One song sounds like a mice screaming(this is supposed to be hip/hop rap whatever that awful music is, hows that for irony)And talking about all songs sounding the same, heres a winner. Same, old boring voice you heard on idol w/ outrageous innumerable "yea yea yea" you'll be sick to the point of wanting to throw up after listening to the CD more than two times. Well, judge for yourself, but its surely a flop, its not pleasant to the ears. Her voice is downright vehemently awful. If you have ears that dislike the sound of "nails on a chalkboard" don't buy it.