happens every year. Journalists pour over the recordings
that they've received as they create their Top 10
albums of the year. Award show voters tick off boxes
that represent their favorites and fans scrutinize
these selections and spend time talking about their
favorites with friends. And sometimes, on that rare
occasion, there is that one album that transcends
explanation. The music is riveting, infectious or
even groundbreaking of course, but the heartfelt
and moving sentiments that possess a window to an
artist's soul is what sets it apart. It is clear
that journalists, award-show voters and fans alike
can feel the sweat, the determination and the passion
that must have been exhausted and one wonders if
this is the recording. If this is that seminal piece
of work that defines an artist and his or her legacy.
In 2000, Anastacia released her debut recording,
which exploded throughout Europe and placed her
in the industry's elite. Her 2002 release only served
to add to this growing phenomenon and over the course
of the past 4 years she has amassed in excess of
10 million in worldwide sales and has won countless
international awards. She connected to her audience
and quickly earned a reputation as the little one
with the big voice. She was loud, tough, brash and
in your face, but she was in fact grounded, passionate
In January of 2003, Anastacia confirmed to the world
that she had breast cancer and for a brief moment
it all stopped. But true to herself and to those
around her, she showed that she would not be deterred
from doing what she loved. Prior to her surgery,
in February 2003, Anastacia appeared on a closed
set in New York , for the filming of "Love
Is A Crime" for the Chicago Soundtrack and
plowed through the 2-day taping even though the
strains of illness were showing themselves to all
around her. For the months following, Anastacia
cried, she laughed, she fought, she sang and&she
wrote. She remained true to her words to her fans
that "her resolve to fight was strong"
and most of all Anastacia lived.
In September 2003, Anastacia entered the studio
with Grammy-award winners Glen Ballard, Dallas Austin,
and Dave Stewart began what the singer has referred
to as a "difficult creative journey."
But out of the music, "sprock music" as
Anastacia has affectionately dubbed it (soul, pop,
rock), has come her 3rd studio recording - a new
chapter of sorts for the singer that has appropriately
been titled, ANASTACIA.
While warned by her doctors that she would be physically
drained from her treatment Anastacia stood prepared,
as feisty as ever, to fight through whatever stood
in her way. Reality check. "The experience
was not pleasant," said Anastacia. "I
usually look for the bright side of things, but
so far nothing about making this record was positive
for me. My doctor told me I'd be tired, not stupid,"
said Anastacia. "I could not focus on anything.
I'd write a verse and then I couldn't write the
chorus or I'd write the chorus but couldn't write
the bridge. I couldn't talk, I couldn't think straight,
I was totally out of it, the doctor's said I'd be
tired - but of course I had insomnia. It was tough."
Yet, what has come from this nearly 6-month recording
process perhaps is far more then anyone could've
hoped. ANASTACIA is the reality of her life's experiences
and the raw emotion that has accompanied them. A
compilation of 12 songs that feature a decidedly
fresh sound, a greatly matured songwriter and lyricist
and the unforgettable vocal performances that have
become Anastacia's signature. "I wanted to
move more towards a rock sound for this record and
it really has added so much to this recording,"
said the singer. "The feel of the music, the
beat, of many of the songs really has offset some
of the subject matter of the lyrics."
It is clear, when listening to ANASTACIA, that each
track possesses evidence of the singer's transition.
From a straight-ahead rocker like "Time"
to the vocal passion and inventiveness of tracks
such as "Left Outside Alone" and "Sick-n-Tired"
to the stirring and poignant sincerity of "Heavy
On My Heart", Anastacia's muse remained throughout
the recording of this album and captured a snapshot
of her essence.
"I was aware of what I was writing, of what
was flowing from my heart and I was aware that people
listening might be reading into the subject matter
of the songs," said Anastacia. "I challenged
myself both lyrically and melodically to stay true
to those feelings and at the same time to use them
in a positive way. You see, I need to see life through
rose colored glasses and while that view might have
been clouded at times while writing some of these
songs, I'm hoping that people will see that and
feel that in this album."
But while the process of creating this album might
have proven to be Anastacia's greatest challenge,
she has made every attempt to embrace it and to
come out the better for the experience. "Art
is in fact really wonderful when suffering is involved.
There is just no getting around the fact that some
of the greatest writers, poets and musicians have
done their finest work under stress. I guess that
at some point I might feel different, but right
now, for me, I'd prefer not to make this a habit.
In the end ANASTACIA has bared her soul. It is readily
apparent. But she will wait. She will listen. And
she will ultimately be most interested in the feedback
from her fans. "I made this record for them.
To share with them," said the singer, "and
I hope that they embrace it. It's kind of like letting
someone close to you in on a dark secret and hoping
that they understand and love you anyway. It lets
you know that everything is okay."
Anastacia may not realize this now, but what has
become apparent to this writer is that true artistry
is not always easy. That in order to achieve greatness
one needs to take some chances and Anastacia has
done just that. One would suspect that given some
time that Anastacia will come to see ANASTACIA,
regardless of the feedback from her fans, as one
of her greatest accomplishments. Albums like these
are in fact rare. They transcend explanation. The
music is riveting, infectious or even groundbreaking,
but the consistently heartfelt and moving sentiments
that possess a window to an artist's soul is what
sets it apart from all the others.
Copyright © 2004 Sony Music