Anastacia is a rare talent. She is a songwriter, a producer and a dancer. But the fact that her good looks, charm and 5'3" frame is capable of singing the way that she does has fascinated and delighted fans around the world during her short, relatively new career. So, it should come as no surprise that even her mother has referred to her as a "Freak of Nature." Enter Freak of Nature, Anastacia's appropriately titled second full-length recording for Epic Records.

Anastacia burst onto the music scene in 1999 with her debut album Not That Kind, and wowed audiences and critics alike with her vocal range. She became a star in Europe and secured her place as an International superstar with gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales status in more than a dozen countries with overall album sales exceeding 5 million copies. Add to that an exuberant personality, a fierce sense of individuality and personal style, a vocal prowess that defies categorization and a long list of awards, including Best New International Artist at the 2001 World Music Awards and a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2001 MTV Europe Music Awards and you've got yourself an artist who is proud of who she is.

 "I am a Freak of Nature," says Anastacia. "I've always gotten looks of shock (or horror), depending on how you look at it, because I gather the way that I look doesn't match the way I sound. So this album is basically about those types of people -- freaks. I guess you could say that I'm telling their story as well as mine." "It was a very liberating record to make," she continues. "I've always liked the idea that some of my favorite artists have been "freaks," or non-conformists, and that gave me courage, a constant reminder in the studio to make the record the way that I wanted."

Freak of Nature was recorded in two months at Sony Music Studios in New York City. It reunited Anastacia with Grammy Award winning producer Rick Wake (Diana Ross, Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey), Sam Watters of Color Me Badd and Louis Biancaniello, all of whom worked with Anastacia on her debut album. Wake produced seven of the twelve tracks on this new album, including the title track "Freak of Nature," "I Dreamed You," "Paid My Dues," "Over Due Goodbye," "How Come The World Won't Stop," "Why'd You Lie To Me" and "Secrets" while Watters and Biancaniello produced and co-wrote "You'll Never Be Alone," "Don't Stop" "One Day In Your Life" and "Dontcha Wanna." Anastacia also collaborated for the fist time with writer Billy Mann on the uplifting "Overdue Goodbye," "How Come The World Won't Stop" and "Freak of Nature." In addition she collaborated with writers Greg Lawson and Damon Sharpe, who co-wrote "Paid My Dues" and "Why'd You Lie To Me."


 
"We had two months to make the record," explains Anastacia, "and that was good by me. We had no time to second guess or to get cute, so the writing and recording was spontaneous, raw and direct."

And that's okay with Anastacia. This Chicago-born, New York raised talent has always been very spontaneous, raw and direct herself. She has allowed life's lessons to guide her and continues to live by that motto. She credits this outlook to her ongoing battle with Crohn's disease, which she was diagnosed with at 13.

"For those with Crohn's, holding in our emotions or masking her unhappiness fuels the symptoms," said Anastacia. "What is seen as a curse for some, is a gift for me, because it has helped me to discover who I really am as a person. The disease has given me a clear window to my own emotions, which causes me to live each moment and to understand exactly how I'm behaving in a particular situation."

This outlook also gave her the strength she needed when she was paying her dues in the music business. Following several jobs as a dancer on "Club MTV" and appearances in numerous hit videos, her dismissal as a receptionist in a Los Angeles hair salon found Anastacia on the unemployment line and completely disenchanted with a business that she had been around all of her life -- her father was a crooner and her mother, an actress who worked in musical theater and on Broadway.


"I was told that I needed to look a certain way, to sound a certain way, to move a certain way and all I wanted to do was just sing. I couldn't understand why this was such an issue."

Anastacia got the break she had been waiting for after she was introduced to her manager who got her a booking on MTV's "The Cut." After a show-stopping performance, she was recognized by the right people, courted by several producers, and was finally signed to Epic Records. However, it was also on this show that Anastacia formed a key relationship with Michael Jackson, who encouraged Anastacia to keep singing after he saw her performance on "The Cut." That key relationship has since come full-circle in the evolution of Anastacia's recording career.

Five times platinum under her belt and International stardom to boot, Anastacia has clearly made the "the cut" of another kind. In addition to performing on several of the top award shows around the world, Anastacia was recently reunited with the Michael Jackson when he invited her to sing "What More Can I Give" at his side along with Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, N'SYNC and other top performers at the historic United We Stand benefit concert in Washington DC, which will air on the ABC Network on November 1st.

Anastacia also co-wrote twelve songs on Freak of Nature, which give the listener a birds-eye view of just what makes this talent tick. From "Paid My Dues", which tells of her arduous route to becoming a professional recording artist, to "Secrets," written nearly seven years ago about the importance of encouraging kids to express their thoughts and emotions so that they don't become problematic later in life-an obvious reference to Anastacia's Crohn's disease.



 
Freak of Nature
follows Not That Kind only in the sense that it is part dance, part R&B and part rock. Anastacia credits her recent world travels, due to her rigorous International promotional and performance schedule, for exposing her to new musical influences and sounds that are clearly heard on Freak of Nature. The African-laced drumbeats and the fiddle heard on "Overdue Goodbye." Holding nothing back in her tremendously powerful vocal range, Anastacia also mixes it up on her performance of the scorching power ballad "You'll Never Be Alone."

"It's not just one sound that carries you through Freak of Nature," says Anastacia. "I find it to be a playful recording with attitude. It's strong and powerful to me, but in the end people should make up their own minds."

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