Born Anastacia Newkirk on September 17, c. 1974, in Chicago, IL; daughter Robert Newkirk (a singer) and Diane Hurley (an actress). Education: Attended Professional Children's School, New York, NY. Addresses: Record company--Epic Records, 1810 Century Park West, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Website--Anastacia Official Website: http://www.anastacia.com.
As one of the best-kept secrets in the world of pop music, singer Anastacia remained a relative unknown until she was well into her twenties, a comparatively old age in which to garner a following from within pop youth culture in the 2000s. The bespectacled Anastacia has broken other rules and standards of pop music protocol also, not only by wearing her glasses regularly--even to photo shoots--but also by revealing a scar on her stomach and by recording songs she likes against the advice of her manager, her friends, and even her record label. Despite such iconoclastic tendencies, Anastacia continues to be a sought-after musical talent. She relies on an exceptional and powerful voice to propel her career forward.
The singer known as Anastacia was born Anastacia Newkirk on September 17, c. 1974, and raised in a show-business family. Various published biographies diverge as to the exact details of her early life. She was born, according to most accounts, in Chicago, Illinois, and later moved to New York City, but her year of birth has been reported as 1973, 1974, and 1975. While some reports maintain that she was born in New York City, or moved to Los Angeles, California, as a young girl, most concur that by age 14 Anastacia was living in New York City and attending the city's arty Professional Children's School. Anastacia is the daughter of musical parents: Diane Hurley, a Broadway singer and actress, and Robert Newkirk, a vocalist who performed regularly in nightclubs along the East Coast.
After high school graduation, Anastacia and her sister were attracted to the New York City night life. In particular they frequented a favorite dance club where freestyle music with a very loose beat was the norm. Anastacia's dancing was appreciated at the club, where her budding talent was recognized, and she nurtured some contacts to further her career. Her big show business break, however, would happen elsewhere.
Spending her time clubbing at night, Anastacia worked by day as a receptionist at a beauty salon. When she began to seriously pursue a career as a singer and dancer, she gained experience by supplementing that job by singing at local weddings. In 1999 she secured parts as a dancer in at least two music videos for the group Salt 'n' Pepa, and also appeared on cable television's Club MTV. Anastacia came to the notice of talent scouts after she made an appearance on MTV's talent contest The Cut. Although she lost the talent contest, she gained career success by catching the eye of TLC vocalist Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who reportedly told Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola that she might be worth a second look. To her astonishment, she received a call of encouragement from Michael Jackson who hinted that he would like to share a stage with her. Soon afterward she met pop superstar Elton John, who was likewise enamored by her powerful voice and encouraged her further.
After being contacted by Sony Records, Anastacia--who had by now dropped her last name--signed with the company's Epic/Daylight label and recorded her debut album, Not That Kind, in 2000. Chalking up over two million overseas sales, the album ranked in the top ten on two continents. Meanwhile, the single "I'm Outta Love" charted at number 15 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the United States, with an impressive 1.2 million copies sold. With the album's rerelease, Anastacia's record sales topped four million copies, classifying her effort as an overwhelming success. By August of 2000, "I'm Outta Love" had climbed to number two, and Anastacia was on her way to Thailand to promote the album.
By 2001 Anastacia had performed on stage not only with her mentor, Elton John, but also with opera great Luciano Pavarotti. She was also no stranger to television appearances, having appeared at the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize concert and sharing a television stage on Pavarotti & Friends for Afghanistan as well. This exposure, combined with an episodic appearance on the television show Ally McBeal and singing on television's Party in the Park, combined with Anastacia's spunky performance of the Donna Summer classic "Bad Girls" at the 2002 BRIT Awards to add to the singer's new popularity. In 2002 Anastacia collaborated with Glen Ballard on a new song, "Boom," which was commissioned especially to be performed as part of the 2002 World Cup Soccer tournament. The tune, which was declared the official song of the World Cup, had its world debut on television in December of 2001.
While Anastacia remains private about much of her personal life, due to her growing popularity she has been the focus of media attention. A blonde, she loves butterflies, especially in her hair. With brown eyes, she often appears in spectacles; she forthrightly states that her glasses help her to see and therefore help define who she is. At age 13 the singer was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an intestinal disorder. Coping with the discomfort and debilitating effects of this disease have also helped define who she is, and she credits them with helping her get in touch with her emotions. Though her style of dress is far from extreme, Anastacia has spoken freely about a huge surgical scar on her abdomen and displays it regularly whenever a costume permits. With a reputation as a modest performer who is not self-absorbed, Anastacia is sure of herself and is unlikely to give heed to negative feedback. A tattoo she sports on the cover of her "I'm Outta Love" single is the real thing, however. Shaped like an Egyptian ankh symbol, it is located on her lower back.
Anastacia released her sophomore effort, Freak of Nature, in 2001, an album that "leans more toward straightforward rock ... while still maintaining the irresistible dance grooves that made her debut an international success," according to Jose F. Promis of All Music Guide. She cowrote all of the songs on the album. In early 2003, at the age of 29, Anastacia was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although the details about her planned treatment were kept private, the singer did release an upbeat statement to the press, as CNN.com reported. "I have no intention of letting this news get me down. I'm a fighter by nature and nothing will ever change that."
by Gloria Cooksey
Worked as beauty salon receptionist and wedding singer; professional dancer on Club MTV and music videos; finalist on television talent show The Cut on MTV, 1999; signed to Daylight label, released debut album, Not That Kind, 1999; released Freak of Nature, 2001.
Best New International Artist, World Music Awards, and Best Pop Artist, MTV Europe Music Awards, 2001; Dutch Edison International Female Artist of the Year, and Golden Camera Award for Best International Pop Artist, 2002.
- Selected discography
- Not That Kind , Epic, 2000.
- (With Elton John) One Night Only: The Greatest Hits , Universal, 2000.
- Freak of Nature , Sony, 2001.
March 6, 2004: Anastacia returned to performing, following a bout with breast cancer. Source: Reuters, www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=YXYZH2V0VY4XWCRBAE0CFFA?type=musicNews&storyID=4508228§ion=news, March 5, 2004.
October 5, 2004: Anastacia's album, 50 Anos de Forro, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_4/index.jsp, October 11, 2004.
- Daily Record, September 22, 2000; November 16, 2001.
- Interview, October 2000.
- Sunday Mail (London, England), June 10, 2001.
- "Anastacia," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (April 1, 2002).
- "Anastacia," Sing 365.com, http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/SingerView/Anastacia (April 1, 2002).
- "Anastacia fighting cancer," CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/01/22/showbuzz/index.html (January 22, 2003).