Nicknamed "the little lady with the big voice", Anastacia is known for her powerful soul voice, and her small stature – 5 feet 2 inches (157 cm). She was also known for her trademark glasses (often darkly tinted), but she had surgery to correct her vision permanently in August 2005. In 2005, she was recognized for worldwide sales of over 20 million records.
Anastacia was born in Chicago, Illinois; her late father Robert Newkirk (of German descent) was a club-singer and her mother Diane Hurley (of Irish descent) an actress on Broadway. After her father (a sufferer of bipolar disorder) left the Newkirk family, they moved to New York City when she was a teenager. Then she enrolled at the Professional Children's School in Manhattan.
Anastacia soon was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when she was thirteen. The incurable bowel disease led to an operation where surgeons cut directly through her stomach muscles removing a foot of the singer's intestines, causing Anastacia to be wheelchair bound and needing to learn how to walk again. Despite her illness she soon became interested in dance. However she was frequently critiqued for being 'too large to make it in the music business'. Anastacia subsequently dieted, triggering a Crohn's relapse that caused her intestines to collapse which resulted in hospitalisation tube feeding and steroid treatments which caused hair loss, weight gain and swelling of the face.
Despite her ongoing health problems Anastacia continued to pursue her ambitions for the next decade. She first gained prominence on BET's Comic View, singing Oleta Adams' "Get Here" in 1992. Throughout the early 1990s, she appeared regularly on Club MTV and in videos for the hip hop group Salt-n-Pepa. However although producers were intrigued by her voice's unusual tone, Anastacia would be continuously told that 'her sound just didn’t quite fit into any category'. Eventually in 1999 before turning 30, Anastacia attracted the interest of record labels after making the finals of the short lived MTV talent show The Cut. Anastacia signed a contract with Daylight Records, a custom label of Sony BMG's Epic Records in March 1999.
2000–2002: Not That Kind and Freak of Nature
Anastacia's debut album, Not That Kind, was released in 2000. The album reached the top ten in eight countries in Europe and Asia. It went four times platinum in Europe and triple platinum in Australia; her debut single, "I'm Outta Love" topped the charts in Belgium, Australia and New Zealand, peaked at number two in France, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland as well as also reaching number six both in Germany and the UK. In the U.S., it was only a minor radio hit. The second single "Not That Kind" reached number 11 in the UK and became a Top 10 hit in Italy. It also entered the Top 20 in Switzerland and France. "Cowboys & Kisses" was released as the third single off the album, charting in the top forty in some European countries. As the last promotional only single, "Made for Lovin' You" charted in the UK at number twenty-seven and in France at number seventy-two. While "I'm Outta Love" was a top ten hit on the Hot Dance Club Play, "Not That Kind" did not chart high on the Billboard Hot 100, however in spite of this by the end of the year Anastacia would go on to be the World's Best Selling New Female Pop Artist at the 2001 World Music Awards.
Her second album, Freak of Nature achieved successful sales in the U.K. where it went triple platinum as well as being a hit throughout continental Europe, however unlike her debut it did not match the same level of international success. The first single released was "Paid My Dues". The song became an overall hit, peaking in Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland, and reaching the top ten in several other mainland European countries. The second single, "One Day in Your Life", reached number eleven in the UK and the top ten in many European countries. The next single "Why'd You Lie to Me" reached the top thirty in the UK. "You'll Never Be Alone", the fourth single, reached number twenty-eight on the Adult Contemporary chart in the U.S. When the album was finally released in the United States in May 2002, she dedicated the album to Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who had died in a car wreck the month before. Lopes was partly responsible for Anastacia's success, since Lisa hosted MTV's The Cut where Anastacia got her first break. Soon after she released a double disc edition featuring two bonus hits, remixes for three of the tracks on the album and two live tracks taken from a Japan gig that was performed on the September 13, 2002.
Anastacia joined Celine Dion, Shakira, Cher, Dixie Chicks, and Stevie Nicks for VH1's Divas Live in 2002 and she also contributed the song "Love Is a Crime" to the Chicago soundtrack. The song peaked at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and enjoyed moderate airplay on Rhythmic/Dance format. Anastacia was also asked to sing the Official song for the 2002 Fifa World Cup and subsequently performed this at the opening ceremony.
As stated on the Australian talk show Rove in 2004, Anastacia wanted to have more edge to her vocals as she felt there was something missing from her previous works. She brought in many rock instruments which brought a new atmosphere to her music. She also felt that she still needed the funkiness and the pop as the singer felt that too much edge would sound wrong with her voice. Out of this a new sound was formed. She describes her sound as Sprock—a combination of soul, pop, and rock. She named the album after herself.
Anastacia entered record studios in September 2003 to begin recording her next album, working with Glen Ballard, Dallas Austin, and David A. Stewart for release in 2004. On the album, Anastacia also collaborated with P.O.D. lead singer Sonny Sandoval on the socially conscious track "I Do".
The first single, released in March, was "Left Outside Alone", which saw a change in direction for Anastacia. It was one of the biggest songs in Europe of 2004, reaching number one Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland; number two in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway; and number three in the United Kingdom and Hungary. Overall the song remained at #1 on the European Billboards for 15 weeks. The song also peaked in the Australian charts where it went on to become the countries' second biggest selling single of 2004. To date, Left Outside Alone is Anastacia's biggest hit.
Anastacia quickly became her most successful album to date, giving her a third consecutive triple platinum album in the U.K. and reaching the top of national charts of Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, Greece, Germany and other countries. Unlike her first two albums, which were released in her homeland of America, Anastacia was not, despite being scheduled for release on three occasions. "Left Outside Alone" was released twice, but failed to pick up heavy airplay. It only gained sporadic Adult Contemporary and Hot AC format airplay. Again, it sparked Rhythmic/Dance format airplay and the dance mix of "Left Outside Alone" peaked at number five on the Hot Dance Club Play. After the original version of "Left Outside Alone" failed to catch on because of lukewarm promotional pushes, especially on radio, the album was postponed and eventually cancelled after the release date of August 30, 2004 passed. Anastacia released three further internationally successful singles; "Sick and Tired" (which gave her another number one in Spain and another UK top five single), "Welcome to My Truth" (her best-selling hit in Spain), and the ballad "Heavy on My Heart" proceeds from the sale of which went towards her Anastacia Fund (a charitable organization providing research funding for breast cancer).
A small batch of her self titled album was released with a bonus DVD, Anastacia poster and slip case. The DVD includes "Making of Anastacia", "2002 Europe Promo Tour", and a photo gallery. From September 2004 to August 2005, Anastacia went on the Live at Last Tour. By 2005 the tour was renamed to the Encore Tour. The tour would become the second most popular tour of 2004 behind only U2 In late 2005, she released her first greatest hits collection, called Pieces of a Dream, named after a track of the same name. The album spawned the hit singles "Pieces of a Dream" which peaked at number one in Spain and the duet with Eros Ramazzotti, "I Belong to You (Il Ritmo Della Passione)", which was a number 1 hit in Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland and a huge hit throughout continental Europe. Even though Sony BMG did force her to release this collection, Anastacia has said that she is happy now that it was created as it was like a "story book", or summary of the first five years of her career. In 2005, she was recognized for worldwide sales of over 20 million.
Not long after the release of "I Belong to You (Il Ritmo Della Passione)", Anastacia released her first live DVD Live at Last on March 27, 2006 in Europe. The DVD contains footage from concerts in Berlin and Munich. It includes music videos to her four singles ("Left Outside Alone", "Everything Burns", "Pieces of a Dream", and "I Belong to You (Il Ritmo Della Passione)", five alternative videos ("I Do", "Rearview", "Seasons Change", "Underground Army", and "Time") to songs from her self named album, and a documentary about the tour. Soon after the DVD release Anastacia took a break from the music industry and began concentrating on her growing fashion line with s.Oliver.
2007–2009: Heavy Rotation
Anastacia attended the memorial Concert for Diana on July 1, 2007, which would have been on Diana's forty-sixth birthday. This was one of the first major events to take place in the new Wembley Stadium, and one of her first major appearances since she took a break from the industry. She opened the medley section of the show and she sang a rendition of "Superstar", from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, with a gospel chorus behind her.
In August 2007, a video was put on the "Anastacia by S. Oliver" web site. During the video, when Anastacia was asked about her future plans, she confirmed that she was working on a new album as well as the clothing line. A specific month of release or title was not mentioned. In November 2007, her biography on the official Anastacia website was updated to say there will be a new album in 2008, with a tour to follow. During this time Anastacia began having palpitations which she believed were simple panic attacks, she was soon diagnosed with the heart condition supraventricular tachycardia.
On July 24, Anastacia announced that her fourth studio album Heavy Rotation would be released October 27, 2008 in Europe and Asia (and elsewhere in 2009). The new album featured collaborations with producers Ne-Yo, The Heavyweights, Lester Mendez, J. R. Rotem, and Rodney Jerkins. The album's first single, called "I Can Feel You", began playing in some radio markets on August 25, 2008. The second single from Heavy Rotation was "Absolutely Positively", later served as a promotional single only. The third official single from the album had been confirmed as "Defeated" and was released as a promotional single only in Europe without a music video. Her fourth studio album proved to be less successful than her previous ones; her singles failed to reach the top 40 in her most commercially successful country (UK). Anastacia however remained positive, stating that other artists have faced the same problems while changing a record label, also blaming the world economical crisis and the label's decision to alter her sound to a more 'urban feel'.
In June 2009, Anastacia began her second tour throughout Europe to promote her fourth studio album. The tour was funded by the singer herself, not her label, and was well received by critics and fans alike. In November and December 2009 Anastacia, Chaka Khan and Lulu were headlining the Here Come the Girls a special Christmas concert that visited the United Kingdom only. On December 7, 2009 Anastacia opened the annual Royal Variety Performance with Lulu and Chaka Khan performing a rendition of "Relight My Fire". The tour was an overall success, selling out 24 shows.
In October 2009, Anastacia released a collaborative single with British band Ben's Brother, entitled "Stalemate", which was included on the band's album Battling Giants. In March 2010, Anastacia began recording her fifth studio album. Around this time, she also headlined several shows at Art on Ice, in Zürich, the Hallenstadion and Lausanne. Her official website stated about the show: "In a unique, groundbreaking combination of Olympic-level figure skating and smash hit pop, the music of Anastacia will soundtrack and seamlessly inspire a performance from some of the world's best figure skaters, perfectly choreographed to complement her hits." During this time Anastacia also became one of the main judges on British talent series Don't Stop Believing, a contest inspired by the musical comedy-drama Glee. Following Stalemate, Anastacia released "Safety", a multi-language duet with Russian singer Dima Bilan, was recorded in Los Angeles in May 2010. The song was performed live for the first time at the Muz-TV Music Awards Moscow in June 2010. The song was released as a single in the Russian Federation in August 2010. On August 13, Anastacia announced that she would be join Belgian singer Natalia Druyts for a joint tour, Natalia Meets Anastacia, for six arena shows which were performed at the Sportpaleis, Belgium. On August 17, Natalia and Anastacia recorded a collaborative single, "Burning Star", that was released on September 17, 2010, as promotion for the concert series. On November 13, Anastacia became the first international singer ever to perform a concert in Northern Cyprus. In February 2011, Anastacia was a guest at the Gigi D'Alessio concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York, performing as an opening act. On 11 November 2011 Anastacia performed in Madrid for the SAP Sapphire Conference.
Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastacia