Fantasia was considering getting out of the music business before she began working on her new album, Side Effects of You.
“I was at a place where I wasn’t really ready to record and wasn’t sure if I wanted to record anymore because I didn’t want to do anything that I wasn’t true to,” she says in Part 2 of her three-part interview with Yahoo! Music. “I was almost done, like, ‘That’s OK. I’ll pass. I’d rather go home, be a mom and not even deal with it anymore.’”
Fantasia’s A&R executive Keith Naftaly had an idea that he believed would renew her faith in making music. He suggested pairing the soul siren with London producer Harmony Samuels, who has worked with Jennifer Hudson, Chris Brown and Brandy.
Fantasia and Harmony immediately clicked when they met in London. “It was free, smooth sailing. It was like I’ve known him all my life,” she recalls. “I knew that’s where I was supposed to stay.”
Harmony produced 13 of the 14 songs on Side Effects of You, an album that showcases a wide range of her emotions. She pays homage to the Commodores (“Lose to Win”), Stevie Wonder (“Ain’t All Bad”) and Whitney Houston (“Change Your Mind”). She dismisses her detractors on “Lighthouse,” makes a plea for emotional freedom on “If I was a Bird,” celebrates relationship highs on “Supernatural Love” and lows on number of other songs.
Fantasia explains that the title track sounds like it’s just about an ex, but she says this isn’t true. “I’m talking about relationships, family, the industry, all of the things that I’ve been through,” she says.
On “Lighthouse” she boldly proclaims she’s here to stay. “People who thought I was gone, who thought it was over for me or said negative, mean things, I’m basically letting them know, ‘I’m not going anywhere because I’m a lighthouse,’” she says.
But “If I was a Bird” is one of the songs heaviest on her mind, even when she sleeps. “There’s something about birds with me right now,” she says. “They’re in my dreams, eagles. If I’m home, wherever I am, seems like there’s always a bird close, flying around.”
Fantasia envied the seemingly carefree lifestyle of birds. “At the time of recording, I was saying, ‘If I was a bird, this is what I would do.’ Now, at this place, I feel like I can.”
Part 3 of my three-part interview with Fantasia will run Thursday.