Free Yourself

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Free Yourself
Studio album by Fantasia Barrino
Released November 23, 2004
Recorded 2003–2004
Length 51:00
Fantasia Barrino chronology
Free Yourself
Singles from Free Yourself
  1. "Truth Is"
    Released: December 7, 2004
  2. "It's All Good"
    Released: April 12, 2005
  3. "Baby Mama"
    Released: May 3, 2005
  4. "Free Yourself"
    Released: June 1, 2005
  5. "Ain't Gon' Beg You"
    Released: August 8, 2005

Free Yourself is the debut album by American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, which was released on November 23, 2004. The album was sold 240,000 units in its first week, and reached number eight on the United States Billboard 200 chart. The album is certified platinum in the United States and had been nominated for ten awards, three of which were Grammy Awards.

Background and development[edit]

After winning American Idol, Fantasia signed to J Records with 19 Entertainment and began work on her debut album. The album was released on November 23, 2004. Its first single, "Truth Is," was released in December 2004. On June 29, 2004, her debut single "I Believe" was released and included as the closing track on Free Yourself. The album was recorded in 2003 and 2004, while Fantasia was a contestant on American Idol. She worked with various producers, including Louis Biancaniello, Craig Brockman, Bryan-Michael Cox, Clive Davis, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, Sean Garrett, Jazze Pha, Darkchild, Harold Lilly, Ric Rude, Soulshock & Karlin, The Underdogs, Sam Watters and Nigel Wright.

Commercial performance[edit]

In its first week of release, Free Yourself sold over 240,000 copies. It sold over one million copies in United States. It debuted at number eight on Billboard 200 album chart in US. It was certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Free Yourself also peaked at US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

"Truth Is" and "Free Yourself" were number one singles on Hot Adult R&B Airplay Songs chart and top three hits on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The latter peaked at number forty-one on US Billboard Hot 100. "Baby Mama" peaked on number sixty on Billboard Hot 100 and number sixteen on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Truth Is" was the most successful single from Free Yourself, also peaking at number twenty-one on Billboard Hot 100. Two more singles were released from the album: "It's All Good" and "Ain't Gon' Beg You"

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[4]

Free Yourself received mixed reviews. It got three out of five stars by both and Rolling Stone magazine. It also received 2.5/5 stars by Slant Magazine. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic said: "Free Yourself is looser and hipper than any previous American Idol album. Gone is Matthew Wilder, who contributed to Kelly's debut; gone are Neil Sedaka and Aldo Nova, who featured heavily on Clay's album. In their place are Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri and Rodney Jerkins, hip-hop hitmakers who give a good indication that this album is striving to seem fresh and hip, something that no other American Idol album has even attempted. Of course, the show-biz trappings haven't been completely abandoned -- Fantasia's showstopping rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime" has been revived, and it's been given an overwrought treatment that's slicker and more mannered than either of her performances of it on the show. And that reveals Fantasia's biggest weakness, which is part of the inherent flaw of American Idol: it rewards contestants who put on a show of being a great singer instead of actually being a great singer."


The album had a series of hit singles with "Truth Is", "Baby Mama" and "Free Yourself". "Truth Is" achieved a record stay at number on the Adult R&B Airplay chart for a female artist at fourteen weeks. "It's All Good" was a club hit reaching the top ten, and "Ain't Gonna Beg You" received radio airplay.

  • "Truth Is" was released as the lead single on December 7, 2004. It peaked at number twenty-one on Billboard Hot 100, number two on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number one on Adult R&B Airplay. It was the most successful single from the album.
  • "It's All Good" was released as the second single on April 12, 2005 on iTunes Store and in an EP format (Dance Vault Mixes EP).[citation needed] It was a top ten club hit.[citation needed]
  • "Baby Mama" was released on May 9, 2005 as the third single. It peaked at number sixty on Billboard Hot 100 and number sixteen on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • "Free Yourself", the title track, was released on June 1, 2005 as the fourth single, peaking at number forty-one on Billboard Hot 100, number three on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number one on Adult R&B Airplay.
  • "Ain't Gon' Beg You" was released on August 8, 2005 as the fifth and final single, receiving radio airplay.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Free Yourself – Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Ain't Gon' Beg You" 4:14
2. "Free Yourself" (featuring Missy Elliott)
3. "Truth Is" 3:55
4. "Selfish (I Want You to Myself)" (featuring Missy Elliott) Elliott 3:24
5. "Summertime" 2:46
6. "Baby Mama"
  • Barbara Acklin
  • Vito Colapietro
  • Neely Dinkins
  • Harold Lilly
  • Eugene Record
7. "Got Me Waiting" 3:51
8. "It's All Good" 4:05
9. "You Were Always on My Mind" (featuring string arrangements by David Campbell)
10. "Good Lovin'"
  • Brockman
  • Elliott
11. "Don't Act Right" (featuring Jazze Pha)
  • Phalon Alexander
  • Charles Pettaway
  • Austin
  • Zachary Wallace
12. "This Is Me"
  • Thomas
  • Mason Jr.
  • Dixon
13. "I Believe" (featuring string arrangements by David Campbell) 5:00
Free Yourself – Japanese limited edition (bonus tracks)
No. Title Length
14. "It's All Good" (The Scumfrog Mixshow) 5:31
15. "I Believe" (Nate Skaten Mixshow)  


  • Kamel Abdo - engineer, mixing
  • Barbara Acklin - composer
  • Gerald Albright - saxophone
  • Phalon Alexander - composer
  • Maxi Anderson - choir, chorus
  • Johnta Austin - composer
  • Carlos Bedoya - engineer, mixing, programming
  • Charile Bereal - drum programming
  • Louis Biancaniello - arranger, composer, keyboards, mixing, producer, programming
  • Leslie Brathwaite - mixing
  • Craig Brockman - composer, keyboards, producer
  • Chris Brown - assistant
  • Eric Butler - choir, chorus
  • Debra Byrd - choir, chorus
  • David Campbell - string arrangements, string conductor
  • Darius Campo - violin
  • Alex Cantrall - composer
  • Vadim Chislov - assistant
  • Johnny Christopher - composer
  • Steve Churchyard - audio engineer, engineer
  • Vito Colapietro - composer
  • Nicholas Cooper - choir, chorus
  • Larry Corbett - cello
  • Bryan-Michael Cox - composer, producer
  • Eric Dawkins - main personnel, background vocals
  • Joel Derouin - violin
  • Neely Dinkins - composer
  • Antonio Dixon - composer
  • Kevin Dorsey - choir, chorus
  • Laura Marie Duncan - stylist
  • Jermaine Dupri - composer, producer
  • Missy Elliott - udio production, composer, featured artist, guest artist, main personnel, primary artist, producer, background vocals
  • Fantasia Barrino - main personnel, primary artist, vocals
  • Angela Fisher - choir, chorus
  • Gloria Elias Foeillet - make-up
  • Matthew Funes - viola
  • Armen Garabedian - violin
  • Berj Garabedian - violin
  • Sean Garrett - composer, engineer, producer, vocal producer
  • Jon Gass - mixing
  • Ira Gershwin - composer
  • Tamyra Gray - composer, guest artist, main personnel, background vocals
  • Laurence Greenfield - violin
  • Julian Hallmark - violin
  • Dabling Harward - editing, engineer
  • David Heuer - assistant
  • DuBose Heyward - composer
  • Ross Hogarth - engineer
  • John Horesco IV - engineer
  • Bill Hughes - orchestra contractor
  • Jun Ishizeki - assistant engineer
  • Ernie Isley - composer
  • Marvin Isley - composer
  • O'Kelly Isley - composer
  • Ronald Isley - composer
  • Mark James - composer
  • Jazze Pha - featured artist, guest artist, main personnel, producer, rap
  • Rodney Jerkins - composer, mixing, producer
  • Jeff Kanan - assistant
  • Karlin - arranger, instrumentation, producer
  • Mark Kiczula - assistant engineer
  • Darlene Koldenhoven - choir, chorus
  • Chris LeBeau - artwork
  • Natalie Leggett - violin
  • Mario de León - violin
  • Ricky Lewis - composer
  • Lil' Steve - main personnel, background vocals
  • Allison Lilly - background vocals
  • Harold Lilly - composer, producer
  • Bill Malina - audio engineer, engineer
  • Manny Marroquin - mixing
  • Harvey Mason, Jr. - composer
  • Yolanda McCullough - digital editing, engineer
  • Byron Motley - choir, chorus
  • Neeko - hair stylist
  • Bobbi Page - choir, chorus
  • Alyssa Park - violin
  • Sara Parkins - violin
  • Michael Parnin - mixing
  • Bob Peterson - violin
  • Charles Pettaway - composer, guitar, main personnel
  • Greg Phillinganes - piano
  • Ric Rude - producer
  • Tom Ranier - orchestration
  • Eugene Record - composer
  • Aaron Renner - assistant
  • Carsten Schack - composer
  • Brian Scheuble - engineer
  • Robin Sellars - engineer
  • Gabe Sganga - assistant engineer
  • Deborah Sharpe-Taylor - choir, chorus
  • Dan Smith - cello
  • Isabel Snyder - photography
  • Nico Solis - engineer
  • Soulshock - arranger, instrumentation, producer
  • Soulshock & Karlin - audio production
  • Nisan Stewart - drums
  • Jazmine Sullivan - main personnel, background vocals
  • Phil Tan - mixing
  • Tank - main personnel, various instruments
  • Melanie Taylor - choir, chorus
  • Damon Thomas - composer
  • Wayne Thompson - composer
  • The Underdogs - audio production, instrumentation, main personnel, producer, various instruments
  • Zachary Wallace - composer
  • Sam Watters - arranger, composer, producer, background vocals
  • Tony Wilkins - choir, chorus
  • Yvonne Williams - choir, chorus
  • Evan Wilson - viola
  • John Wittenberg - violin
  • Terry Wood - choir, chorus
  • Nigel Wright - producer
  • Alexis Yraola - art direction, design

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2004 Billboard Music Awards Top Selling Single of the Year ("I Believe") Won
Top Selling R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year ("I Believe") Won
2005 Billboard American Urban Radio Networks Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single ("I Believe") Won
American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Album (Free Yourself) Nominated
2006 Grammy Awards Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Free Yourself") Nominated
Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Summertime") Nominated
Best R&B Album ("Free Yourself") Nominated
ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Awards Most Performed Song ("Free Yourself") Won
Most Performed Song ("Truth Is") Won
Soul Train Music Award Best Female R&B/Soul Album (Free Yourself) Nominated



  1. ^ allmusic ((( Free Yourself > Credits )))
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Free Yourself – Fantasia". Rovi Corporation. Allmusic. Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (2004-11-19). "Fantasia: Free Yourself". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  5. ^ "Fantasia – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Fantasia.
  6. ^ "Fantasia – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Fantasia.
  7. ^ "2005 Year-End Charts – Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ "2005 Year-End Charts – Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.