Anastacia Lyn Newkirk (born September 17, 1968), better known mononymously as Anastacia, is an American singer-songwriter. Anastacia has been highly successful around the world outside the United States.
Anastacia started her career in 1983 as a dancer for hire and made regular appearances from 1985 until 1992 on MTV's Club MTV. In 1990, she started her musical career as a backing vocalist. Her debut album, Not That Kind, released in 2000 was an international commercial success, most notably in Europe, becoming 4x platinum as well as Australia where the lead single I'm Outta Love became the biggest selling song of the year. Critically acclaimed by both Elton John and Michael Jackson, the singer was awarded the 'World's best-selling New Female Pop Artist' in 2001. Her commercial success continued with 2001's Freak of Nature which included the international chart topper "Paid My Dues", 2004's Anastacia which produced the critically acclaimed Left Outside Alone that remained at No. 1 on the European Billboards for 15 weeks. as well as 2005's compilation project Pieces of a Dream which spawned the chart topping duet with Eros Ramazzotti, "I Belong to You (Il Ritmo della Passione)" .The singer would go on to become one of the top selling international female pop-singers of the 2000s and has been recognized for worldwide sales of over 30 million records. She has also topped the U.S. dance chart on two separate occasions.
Known for her powerful mezzo voice and her small stature of 5 feet 2 inches (157 cm) the singer has been dubbed 'the little lady with the big voice'. Anastacia is also known for her trademark glasses (often darkly tinted). Although she underwent laser surgery in August 2005 she frequently still wears them.
Over the course of her life Anastacia has battled numerous health problems including Crohn's disease which was diagnosed at age 13, breast cancer at age 34 and the heart condition supraventricular tachycardia which the singer discovered she had at age 39. In February 2013 it was announced that Anastacia was battling a more intense form breast cancer. In July 20 the singer announced via Twitter that she was again cancer free. While on the 1st of October 2013 to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Anastacia informed the media that she had undergone a double mastectomy .
In recognition of her decade long charitable efforts in breast cancer awareness, Anastacia became the second only woman to be presented with Humanitarian Award at the GQ Men Of The Year awards in 2013
1968–1998: Early life and career beginnings
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 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'. At age 19, a diet triggered a Crohn's relapse.
Despite her ongoing health problems Anastacia continued to pursue her ambitions for the next decade. Anastacia started her career in 1983 as a dancer for hire. Her first claim to fame was as a professional dancer (dancer for hire), making regular appearances in mid 80s and early 90s on MTV's Club MTV. She appeared in a two videos for American hip hop trio Salt-n-Pepa (Get Up Everybody (Get Up) in 1988 and Twist and Shout in 1989). In 1990, she started her musical career as a backing vocalist. She sung back-up vocals on pop star Tiffany's New Inside album in 1990. In 1991, she featured in music video My Fallen Angel of Dominican singer/actor Coro (singer). In 1992 she gained her first break as a solo singer on BET's ComicView, singing Oleta Adams' "Get Here". In 1993 she moved to Los Angeles to record the song One More Chance for the producer OG Pierce, it resulted however in no record deal. That same year the singer recorded a collaboration with David Morales called "Forever Luv", again however Anastacia failed to get a record deal. Throughout the mid 90s although producers claimed to be intrigued by her voice's unusual tone, Anastacia would be continuously told that 'her sound just didn’t quite fit into any category'. In 1994, she sung back-up vocals on Jamie Foxx debut album Peep This, and in 1995 Anastacia sung back-up vocals on Paula Abdul's third studio album Head Over Heels. By 1997, Anastacia had become the member of a band called The Kraze which she remained a part of until 1999. In 1997 she also was a member of Kurt Carr's gospel vocal ensemble called The Kurt Carr Singers. She had two duet songs with Cuban composer Omar Sosa in 1998 performing Mi Negra, Tu Bombón and in 1999 Tienes Un Solo. Eventually in 1998, 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 Music Entertainment's Epic Records in March 1999.
1998–2001: Not That Kind
Anastacia met Lisa Braude (who later became her manager) in 1997. She encouraged her to join MTV's talent show The Cut in 1998. She surprisingly made her way to be one of the ten finalists, performing her own composition entitled "Not That Kind". Even though she did not win the contest, she had successfully impressed some notable artists, like Elton John and Michael Jackson as well as the show's judges that included David Foster and Faith Evans. This afterwards led her to sign with Daylight, one of Epic' labels, by March 1999. Backed up by leading American producer/writers, she released her debut album, Not That Kind on June 13, 2000. 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" was a global smash hit in 2000 topping the charts in Belgium, Australia and New Zealand, peaking 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.
2001–2006: Freak of Nature, Anastacia, breast cancer diagnosis and Pieces of a Dream
Her second album Freak of Nature released in 2001, 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, in 2001, peaking in Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland, and reaching the top ten in several other mainland European countries. The second single, released in 2002, "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. 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 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 in Japan and South Korea and subsequently performed this at the opening ceremony.
In January 2003, Anastacia decided to have her breasts reduced because of back strain. From a routine mammogram for the surgery she discovered she had breast cancer. She immediately started and successfully completed surgery and radiotherapy. Anastacia subsequently established the Anastacia Fund to promote awareness of breast cancer among younger women. She has attributed her health scare as being an inspiration for the sound and content of her third album. According to an interview she gave in 2005 on British music station The Box, her voice lost its power and she became unable to record, and thus she spent a long time writing and trying to create a sound that she finally became happy with.
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 No. 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.
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 six 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.
2007–2011: Heavy Rotation, collaborations
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. It was in this period also that Anastacia left Sony and moved to Mercury. During an interview for the UK breakfast show This Morning, the singer cited that David Massey's move from Sony to Mercury was key to her own label change due to the fact that Massey had originally signed her and who had been involved in all of her previous albums.
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 and was a noted departure from the pop rock sound of her previous material. 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 from her own chosen sprock sound of her previous record to a more 'urban feel'. In later years Anastacia would publicly admit regret towards the change of sound citing personal problems that led to a creative sell out. Regardless of the lack of commercial success, the album was ranked at #10 by Billboard magazine's online "Readers' Poll: 10 Best Albums of 2008"
In 2009, the Women's World Award presented Anastacia with the World Artist Award, recognizing the singer's success and ongoing positive influence in pop music.
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.
During the winter of 2009, Anastacia once again joined Lulu for the Here Come the Girls Tour with Heather Small replacing Chaka Khan. In March 2010, Anastacia again entered the recording studio. Around this time, she also headlined several shows at Art on Ice, in Zurich, 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 the summer of 2010 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. During promotion for the reality show the singer noted that she had left Mercury Records and was currently with no label. Following Stalemate, Anastacia released "Safety", a 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 November 11, 2011 she performed in Madrid for the SAP Sapphire Conference.
2012–present: It's a Man's World, second battle with breast cancer and Resurrection
In June 2012, Anastacia was confirmed as a guest judge for the ninth series of The X Factor UK at the Glasgow auditions alongside judges Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. Her appearance on the show was heavily praised with sources stating that she had such great chemistry with the others and had greatly impressed the producers causing speculation that the singer would become the new fourth judge. However it was later revealed that the singer was forced to reject the judging offer due to contractual agreements regarding a the Night of The Proms European winter tour as well of the release of her independent cover album.
During the summer of 2012, Anastacia toured throughout Europe.
In July 2012, Anastacia announced on her Twitter page (and Facebook fan page) the release of a new commercial single for the skoda car company. She performed the song "What Can We Do (Deeper Love)" for the first time on July 10 in the Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland. She released her video for "What Can We Do (Deeper Love)" through her and Facebook pages.
On September 17, it was announced that the singer had signed with the "BMG Masters Model" service of BMG Rights Management, along with the service's primary German-based distributing partner, Rough Trade Distribution. Global distribution is expected to be achieved via a range of partnering labels and distribution services. The deal includes the release of her following two albums, It's a Man's World, a collection of her covers by rock male artists released on November 9, 2012, followed by an album with original material to be recorded and released.
Throughout November and December 2012 Anastacia took part in the annual Night of the Proms, a series of concerts held in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany which combine classical music with famous pop songs. On February 2, 2013, Anastacia tweeted that she would start writing for her next studio album of new material in the following week.
On February 27, 2013, Anastacia announced that she was forced to cancel her European tour due to the fact that she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time and was undergoing treatment. On July 20, 2013, Anastacia was given the all-clear from breast cancer for a second time, when she tweeted ''Cancer Free Forever''. On 1 October 2013 Anastacia informed the media that she had undergone a double mastectomy. Due to her decade long charitable efforts in breast cancer awareness, Anastacia became the second only woman to be presented with Humanitarian Award at the GQ Men Of The Year awards in 2013 Anastacia confirmed via. her Twitter account that she was currently writing songs for producers, John Fields and Steve Diamond and also, recording her sixth studio album which will return to her own chosen "sprock" sound.
The album, entitled Resurrection, is to be released in May 2014 with the lead single "Stupid Little Things" was released on April 4 and was met with overwhelmingly positive reaction from music critics with MTV's Brad Stern including it in the 5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week! stating that it was 'return to form' from the 'pop princess and proof that Anastacia’s a true survivor', after her second battle with breast cancer. On April 12 Anastacia was given the Germen "Radio Regenbogen Award" for Charity and Entertainment.
Anastacia by s. Oliver is a clothing collection released in late 2006 by Anastacia and German clothing company s. Oliver. She had said that she long wanted to release a clothing line:
|“||"I have had the idea of designing my own collection for a long time, but waited for the right partner. s. Oliver came along just at the right time. We got to know each other and found that we not only harmonize well together as a brand, but also have the same ideas about the look of Anastacia by s. Oliver. There are many points that need to be considered when designing a collection: What trends are in, what colors, what fabrics, what styles... That is why I am happy that my work with the s. Oliver design team is going so well and that we are implementing these themes together. For example, I think it is also very important that my clothes can be worn in different sizes."||”|
A limited edition CD named "Welcome to My Style" was also available for free to customers who spent sixty euros or more on the clothes in November. Anastacia by s. Oliver has released a limited edition clothing line called "Limited Luxury", that was designed together with the famous brand Swarovski. This clothing line hit the stores on November 2, 2007 and was only sold in some countries.
During her years of success, Anastacia has supported many charity events such as Life Ball 2006 (Europe's largest annual AIDS charity event), Make a Difference and Challenge for the Children. Anastacia was one of the fifteen artists to record their take on a Disney song on the CD Disneymania. Anastacia recorded "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is also included on the Collector's Edition of her second album.
In 2003, Anastacia took part in the charity event, 46664, organized by Nelson Mandela to raise awareness of AIDS. She sang with U2 and Queen, and also contributed to the song "Amandla", recording the song and providing some of the lyrics.
Annie Lennox joined forces with Anastacia and 22 other female artists to raise awareness of the transmission of HIV to unborn children in Africa. The single "Sing" was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2007, in conjunction with Annie Lennox's appearance at the Nelson Mandela 46664 concert in South Africa.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Anastacia created "The Anastacia Fund" in partnership with Estée Lauder. The organization helps raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of mammograms to women 35 and under. Anastacia began selling her stage clothing on eBay, donating a portion to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The auctions were hosted by an eBay Trading Assistant and Certified Business Consultant. New listings began every Friday for 6 months.
In 2008, she performed at the "Pink Ribbon Gala" in Stockholm, she appeared on "Divas II", a benefit concert along with many other female artists as well as performing at the ChildLine Concert in Dublin.
Anastacia married her bodyguard Wayne Newton in Huatulco, Mexico on April 21, 2007. In April 2010, it was confirmed that the two had filed a petition for divorce.
Anastacia has several tattoos on her back, and one below her neck saying "Forever" in an unusual font. She also has an Ankh on her lower back, which appeared on her first album. Since it represents "eternal life", to her fans it has come to symbolize her.
Anastacia lives in Los Angeles, California.