In a resurfaced interview currently making the rounds on media, Fantasia declared that despite the appearance of living large, most artists are not as rich as they appear — and, in fact, many are struggling financially.
During an interview on the Tammie Mac show in 2019, Fantasia said artists’ fame does not accurately represent the state of their finances.
She also told the host that she “lost everything twice” and she is now rebuilding her wealth.
The line of conversation kicked off when Tammi Mac told Fantasia, “Yeah, but you have more money than we do, Fantasia.” The singer replied, “You don’t know that.”
“A lot of artists that you see, they look like they have it. And we smile and come out and put on a good show But in real life … some of them are struggling,” Fantasia said.
Fantasia‘s Money Problems
Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, who has a net worth of $5 million, first rose to fame as the winner of “American Idol” season 3 in 2004.
The North Carolina native’s award for winning the competition included a cash prize of $250,000. She signed a $ 1 million contract with J Records, reported Money Inc.
Her first album, “Free Yourself,” was certified platinum, and her first solo track, “I Believe,” earned her the Billboard Music Award.
Experiencing her first success as recording artist, Fantasia purchased a property in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $740,000 and in 2007, she bought a bigger Charlotte mansion for $1.3 million.
However, she started experiencing financial woes in 2008, the Huffington Post reported, when she was accused of defaulting on a $58,000 loan from Broward Energy Management, an energy company based in South Florida.
Her nearly $800,000 mansion was sold for $465,000 in 2018, and the mansion that she bought for more than a million was on the market for $800,000 in 2013. The singer signed the house’s deed over to the bank to avoid foreclosure, TMZ reported.
“The courts put both of my homes up for auction, so there was no foreclosure,” she explained. “It wasn’t that we weren’t paying the bills or didn’t have money. I guess when people heard I was doing ‘The Color Purple’ [on Broadway] they thought I had ‘Color Purple’/Oprah Winfrey money.”
How Artists Go Broke
Recording artists face a unique challenge: competing on popular streaming platforms that prioritize pay-per-play basis and signing contracts with terms that can mimic the loan shark business.
A music label is responsible for the artists’ publicity, media attention, radio airplay, advertising, and playlist placements. However, the contracts that music labels encourage the artists to sign are often less than desirable, containing hidden clauses that siphon off revenue to various entities and leave the artist the leftovers.
Take Megan Thee Stallion’s ongoing lawsuit against her label, 1501 Certified Entertainment. She is trying to sever her ties with the Houston-based label and claims that 1501 withheld payment for her share of the royalties on her music. In her suit, she said that 60 percent of her recording income goes to the label, as opposed to a traditional 50-50 split.
Bad deals aren’t the only reason artists go broke. Sometimes, faced with a financial windfall, an artist might overspend.
In 2012 Vulture writer Claude Brodesser-Akner did an exhaustive exposé on celebrity spending habits. He found that “very few” top-tier celebrities live within their means.
For example, rapper M.C. Hammer squandered a $33 million fortune by overspending on a “luxurious lifestyle and large staff,” according to Fox News Magazine, and filed for bankruptcy in 1996.