This Day in Black Music History: Fantasia wins ‘American Idol’

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She’s mostly known for her powerful vocal abilities heard in songs like “When I See U” and “Truth Is,” but Fantasia Taylor, formerly Barrino, can also be recognized as an artist who often spoke openly and honestly about her personal life. Speaking recently to ABC Audio, she opened up about her “great” but “bittersweet” journey on season 3 of American Idol, reflecting on her win 18 years later. 

“It was the door that opened for me that allowed so many things, good and bad,” Taylor said. She not only emphasized the fact that she was just 19 when crowned the winner on May 26, 2004, but also the idea that she was unaware of the musical ride she was in for as a young Black girl from a small town. 

“I had to go through so many things, nobody prepares you for the industry,” she said. “I knew how to sing, OK, I’ve been doing that since I was 5 years old, that was easy. But the industry is a different world.”

Reiterating her belief that Idol, like many other competition shows, is a great opportunity for unknown talent, the now-37-year-old married mother of three urges hopeful show contestants to prepare for all that is to come.

“I just hope that all of those young people who are going have a team around them, honest people, loyal people, and that they’re ready to fight because … once you step in, you gotta put on your gloves and try to stay in there.”

The Grammy winner says she’s glad the show is still running and opening doors for people, but reminds those who plan to embark on an Idol journey of their own, “know that [to whom] much is given, much is required; anything worth having is worth fighting for.”

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