LOS ANGELES — Don't go looking for Baby Mama's Day cards just yet, but Fantasia is shining the spotlight on a special kind of parent this Mother's Day season.
Just in time for the May 8 holiday, the "American Idol" winner is releasing her salute to single moms, "Baby Mama," as the next single from Free Yourself.
"I caught a lot of flak for being a young mama," Fantasia said during her trip back to the "Idol" set last week. " 'She's a young mom, she can't finish school, she can't do this, she can't do that.' And when I did it, I said, 'I want a song for all those young parents. ... I want a song to encourage them and let them know, regardless of what you've done, your past, you can better yourself, whatever it is you want to do.' 'Cause when I had my child, people tried to make me feel like life was over for me, and I started to believe that."
On the up-tempo "Baby Mama," Fantasia clearly expresses the struggles of being a single mother, even cursing at one point — an "Idol"-winner first.
"I see you get that support check in the mail/ You open it and you're like, 'What the hell?' " she sings. "You say, 'This ain't even half of daycare'/ Sayin' to yourself, 'This sh-- ain't fair'/ And all my girls who don't get no help/ Who gotta do everything by yourself/ Remember, what don't kill you can only make you stronger."
"Before I recorded it, I knew I was going to catch a little feedback from it," Fantasia said. "And it ain't fun, it ain't cute and it ain't easy ... but, you've got to make it a good example for those kids regardless of how much you mess up. I have friends back at home who were raised in the projects ... but they are starting to call me now and they say, 'Guess what? I'm going to school to be a nurse.' ... They say, 'Girl, if you can do it, I can do it too,' and I say, 'That's right. That's what's up.' "
Fantasia's meeting with directors for a "Baby Mama" clip, but she knows she wants the video to reflect the lyrics.
"I want to have moms and dads in the video, 'cause I was raised with my mom and my dad," she said. "And you've got some single moms who had husbands in the war and who were gone and they had to do it by themselves, so I wanna show all of that — kids out playing and being bad, 'cause they're always bad."
While Fantasia performed her first two singles ("Truth Is" and "I Believe") on "American Idol" last week, look for the singer to hit the TV circuit later this month with "Baby Mama." She's also putting together her first tour, with R&B singer Kem.
"It's always good when you can bring two artists together who are totally different," Fantasia said of the outing, which is still in the works.
Also on Fantasia's agenda is another post-"Idol" TV gig. After playing Aretha Franklin on "American Dreams" and appearing on "All of Us" last year, she's returning to the small screen for a guest role on "The Simpsons."
"When you do 'The Simpsons,' that's major," Fantasia said. "That's like a big-time cartoon that everybody watches. When they called me, I was like, 'Of course I'll do it!' I played Clarissa and I'm singing up against Lisa [in an 'American Idol'-like competition], and she wins. I was kind of hurt about it and I had to do this big crying scene and I was like, 'How am I going to cry?' And I started having flashbacks of how my baby cried all the time when I'm at home, so it wasn't too hard."
Eventually, Fantasia would like to segue from TV acting into a movie role. She's just waiting for the right opportunity.
"I've been telling Denzel to call me," she joked. "I believe y'all have been giving him the wrong number."