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How Fantasia Used the Financial Lessons from Losing Everything Twice to Now Going into Business

R&B singer Fantasia Barrino has launched a new entertainment venture with a live event producer and artist manager Yvonne McNair. Their management company is dedicated to assisting artists in realizing their creative visions and navigating the pathways to bring those visions to fruition.

NEWARK, NJ – AUGUST 26: Singer-songwriter Fantasia Barrino performs on stage during the 2018 Black Girls Rock! at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on August 26, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)

The newly formed company, Rock Soul Productions, will operate as a comprehensive entity encompassing divisions focused on management, production, and entertainment ventures. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company aspires to offer a comprehensive array of services tailored for artists.

The Business Bounce Back

With Fantasia at the helm, the venture brings a unique perspective derived from her personal experiences as an artist who has navigated various challenges throughout her career.

Fantasia will be the company’s CEO and McNair will be RSP’s president.

“The formation of Rock Soul feels like a natural progression for me personally. It is the manifestation of my evolution as an artist, a creative, and a businesswoman,” said Fantasia, who is celebrating two decades in the industry, to Deadline.

She added, “After 20 years, you can’t help but to take stock and look back at all the things you have done, and I wanted to use those experiences to inform my opportunities going forward.”

Over her career, Fantasia has lost it all twice.

While on top of the world with hit records, a book, and a thriving Broadway career, the star seemed to show signs of things going downhill. Fantasia gained over 30 pounds and also started skipping shows on “The Color Purple: The Musical,” costing the producers, including Oprah Winfrey millions as patrons returned their tickets and asked for refunds.

When talking about that experience, she said, “I kind of lost control. Everything was going down the drain.”

She also took on her family’s debt and faced health challenges like developing benign tumors on her vocal cords, a huge threat to her livelihood. Things got so bad that she didn’t have enough money to buy pizza and knew she had to change.

Being able to start the new business is a result of years of working on her self.

Both executives want RSP to be “the intersection where creativity and excellence in entertainment meet,” something Fantasia says is needed when managing an artist and fighting for their best interests.

“Advocating for myself and other artists to become the change agents in telling their own stories and taking the reins in shaping their own narrative and success is what I’m passionate about,” the “When I See You” chart-topper said. “I am also so excited to control and shape the art and entertainment experiences that we will be sharing with the world.”

This new venture comes five months after Fantasia launched her wine line.

“The Color Purple” star didn’t simply associate her image with a brand; she invested in her own knowledge of wines and spirits, earning a sommelier certificate.

“I have a wine coming out. I went back to school, so I got my sommelier certificate because I didn’t want people to think that I was just a Black girl putting my name on a wine to try to make money,” Fantasia said in December 2023.

A sommelier certificate is important in the industry because it denotes proficiency in deductive tasting, wine theory, and the technical and sales aptitude essential for table-side service and qualifying the Grammy Award winner as an expert.

She not only became certified, by the Sigma Gamma Rho soror enrolled at Central State University, one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and aims to earn a bachelor’s in business administration.

The mother of three, Dallas Xavier, 11; daughter Zion Quari, 21; and daughter Keziah, 3, wants to inspire her children as she shifts her trajectory from just entertaining to business.

“I’m a businesswoman now and I desire to continue to sharpen my sword and better my craft,” she said. “I want to break generational curses. When it comes to my family, my girls, my children, I want to show them that no matter what she’s been through, you can always get back and go after it again, and that’s what I am doing.”

The 2004 American Idol winner, who earned her GED in 2009, will be able to apply much of what she is learning as a student to the mission of Rock Soul Productions.

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