In an “American Idol” winner first, Fantasia has scored some of the biggest names in music to contribute to her debut album.
Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri and R. Kelly are among those writing and producing for Fantasia’s Free Yourself, due November 23.
Elliott is behind the title track as well as a tune called “Selfish,” while Dupri contributed “Got Me Waiting,” according to Fantasia’s spokesperson.
Other producers include the Underdogs (“Ain’t Gonna Beg”), Scott Storch, Jazze Pha, and Soulshock & Karlin (“Truth Is”), who are coming off JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out).”
“I can’t believe they’re writing songs just for me,” Fantasia said in a statement. “I want the songs I record to show different aspects of what I can do musically. I can’t wait. I feel like as much as God has blessed me, now I just want to give back.”
Harold Lilly, who produced Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” as well as tracks for Ruben Studdard and Angie Stone, also worked with Fantasia, a single mother, on a track called “Baby Mamma,” and Rodney Jerkins contributed “It’s All Good.”
“She’s soulful,” Jerkins said. “She’s a young Aretha Franklin/Mary J. Blige all rolled up into one. This girl’s got some pipes on her, serious pipes.”
Fantasia has yet to decide on the album’s first single, although Jerkins said “It’s All Good” is likely.
“I did this record with Sean Garrett,” Jerkins said of the red hot songwriter behind Usher’s “Yeah!,” Ciara’s “Goodies” and Destiny’s Child’s “Lose My Breath.” “It’s gonna shock people. … [You think] she’s going to come slow, singing ballads, ’cause all the ’American Idol’ artists that have come out, if you study the past, they’ve come out with these big ballads. Well, the only hint that I can give is that it’s not a ballad.”
Fantasia, who beat Diana DeGarmo for the third “American Idol” crown in May (see ” ’I Made It’ Declares Tearful ’Idol’ Winner Fantasia Barrino” ), started recording Free Yourself over the summer, on off nights from the American Idols Live tour (see “Fantasia Gets Standing O, JPL A Wanted Man, Huff Tackles Darkness At ’Idols’ Launch” ).
With her summer single, “I Believe,” Fantasia became the first artist to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with her first solo single (see “Fantasia Beats Diana DeGarmo Again — This Time In Stores” ).
“She will definitely have a career because she definitely has the attitude and the pipes to pull it off,” Jerkins said. “She has it. And I look to work with her again in the future. I think the chemistry’s there and I think we’re gonna create.”