From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

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Written By Maya Cantina

For the past 20 or so years, Fantasia Barrino, who mostly goes by Fantasia, has gone from one of the youngest American Idol winners to a decorated R&B artist to an actress preparing for the release of The Color Purple. With multiple awards, accolades, and other honors to her name, Fantasia has had an amazing career in the entertainment industry, one that doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

As part of our partnership with AMC Theatres, where you can now purchase tickets for The Color Purple, we’ve gone through Barrino’s decorated career and pointed out several of her biggest accomplishments in music, on Broadway, and the silver screen. It has been quite a ride, to say the least…

(Image credit: Fox)

Fantasia Barrino Won American Idol When She Was Just 19 Years Old

In May 2004, when she was just 19 years old, Fantasia Barrino kicked off her music career in spectacular fashion when she won the third season of American Idol, following in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, the previous winners. According to Billboard.com, Barrino defeated Diana DeGarmo by a small margin of votes but was victorious nonetheless.

Years after winning the competition, Barrino told ABC Audio that her American Idol performance opened the door for her and allowed so many things to happen in her life. However, at the time of her victory, the singer had no idea where her career would take her in the immediate and distant future.

From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

(Image credit: Fox)

In 2004, Barrino Had Her First First Top Song On The Billboard Chart With Her Debut Single, ‘I Believe’

It didn’t take long for Fantasia to capitalize on the success of her American Idol victory, as the singer quickly became a massive R&B artist. Later on, in 2004, Barrino earned her first top song on the Billboard chart with her debut single, “I Believe.”  The track, which remained a hit for weeks, was one of the chart-topping songs from her debut full-length album, Free Yourself, which, according to USA Today, debuted at Number 1 on the R&B and Number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Per All Music, the single would go on to win the Billboard Music Award for Top Selling Single of the Year in 2004 in addition to being nominated for three Grammy Awards. Though Fantasia wouldn’t take home a Grammy at the time, she would find success at the major award ceremony the following decade.

From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In 2007, Fantasia Joined The Broadway Production Of The Color Purple, A First For An American Idol Winner

Fantasia Barrino will play Celie Harris-Johnson on the big screen when Blitz Bazawule’s musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel opens on Christmas Day, but this won’t be her first time playing the iconic literary character famously portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film of the same name.

In February 2007, Broadway World reported that Fantasia was joining the Broadway adaptation of the landmark novel and would start performing as Celie that April. The then-up-and-coming singer took over for the departing LaChanze and would go on to take part in the production for nearly a year. She would later reprise the role for a national tour in 2010.

From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

(Image credit: J Records)

Barrino Won A Grammy Award In 2011 For Her Hit Song ‘Bittersweet’

In 2011, seven years after becoming an immediate sensation with her American Idol victory and early career success, Fantasia Barrino earned her first Grammy Award, joining a long list of other winners of the singing competition to win one of the top honors in the music industry, according to Grammy.com.

That year, Barrino won the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her 2010 single titled “Bittersweet.” Back to Me, the album that featured the Grammy-winning single was also nominated for Best R&B Album, but eventually lost out to Wake Up!, the collaborative album put out by John Legend and The Roots. All in all, Fantasia has a total of 12 Grammy nominations throughout her career, with surely more on the way, especially following the release of The Color Purple.

From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

(Image credit: RCA)

Fantasia Was Inducted Into The North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame

Throughout her career, Fantasia has won American Idol, received a Grammy and a ton of other awards, and has had multiple chart-topping hits and massively successful album releases, but one of her biggest achievements came in 2014 when she was inducted in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. The singer was born and raised in High Point, North Carolina.

With her induction, Fantasia joined other greats like Nina Simone, Andy Griffith, James Taylor, Blind Boy Fuller, Charlie Daniels, Earl Scruggs, John Coltrane, and American Idol Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, to name only a few. Seriously, the list of accomplished singers and songwriters in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame is staggering.

From American Idol To The Color Purple: 6 Big Moments From Fantasia Barrino’s Career So Far

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In 2023, Fantasia Received A Golden Globe Nomination For Her Performance In The Color Purple, Her Feature Film Debut

When the 80th Golden Globe Awards takes place on January 7, 2024, there’s a chance we could be hearing Fantasia’s name being read from the envelope, as the singer-turned-actress has received a nomination. What’s even more impressive about Fantasia being nominated for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Celie Harris-Johnson in The Color Purple is the fact that the upcoming movie is her feature film debut.

The list of actresses also up for the award is a talented bunch that includes Alma Pöysti, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie, and Natalie Portman. Talk about being in good company.

Regardless of what happens at the Golden Globes, as well as the Academy Awards and other ceremonies in the meantime, Fantasia Barrino has had an impressive career up to this point, one met with success virtually every step of the way. If you want to see her decorated performance in The Color Purple, make sure to purchase your tickets at AMC Theatres, where the movie will be playing, starting December 25, 2023.

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