Left outside alone, outta love, global chart success, personal heartache, just one day in the life of singer Anastacia. So what’s she been up to of late…?
by Mark Keen
Anastacia is an enigma in many ways. She’s as American as pancakes for breakfast (apologies for that broad cultural stereotype!), but she has barely troubled the US pop charts. Fortunately for Anastacia Europe and the UK have taken her to their hearts and been with her through her various serious health scares.
Anastacia burst onto the charts at the start of the millennium in 2000 (although can be spotted as a dancer in some late 80’s Salt-n-Pepa videos) with her global pop hit, “I’m Outta love”. Anastacia has a voice reminiscent of 80’s favourite Taylor “Tell It To My Heart” Dayne, perhaps not surprising as they shared the same producer in Ric Wake. Much like Taylor, Anastacia’s first hit was not really representative of her later styles as her follow up singles soon demonstrated her versatility.
The follow up single “Not That Kind” also did the business and the debut album of the same name built on this success going top ten across Europe and Asia, although reaching number 168 in the US. I imagine Anastacia was still happy with the 7 million sales, even if her home country failed to take to her. The follow up singles “Cowboys And Kisses” and “Made For Loving You” may not have been big hits, but they continued to show her breadth.
Her international success continued in 2001 with the album “Freak Of Nature” which went triple platinum in the UK and hitting the European top 10 charts just a year after her debut. Whilst none of the singles hit the top ten in the UK they were still solid top 40 hits and did well across Europe. “One Day In Your Life” just missed the top ten in the UK hitting number 11, but is a real highlight and can lift any dark mood.
Anastacia even found time to record the official theme to the 2002 World Cup with “Boom” which was a hit across Europe and also contributed to the Chicago soundtrack with “Love Is A Crime”. She even popped up singing in the bar of Ally McBeal.
2004 would bring Anastacia’s biggest hit with “Left Outside Alone” bringing on board two renowned songwriters in Glen “Jagged Little Pill” Ballard and Dallas “Bedtime Stories” Austin. This was an enormous hit across Europe and Australia, and did give Anastacia a US dance hit. the first of five. This song really gave Anastacia her trade mark sound, often referred to as ‘sprock’ a hybrid of soul, pop and rock.
The accompanying album “Anastacia” was a real shift to a pop-rock style which is best suited to her voice, and hit number one in most countries across Europe and beyond. The follow up hit would continue this success with “Sick And Tired”. The final single from the album “Heavy On My Heart” was not a massive hit, but the video is one of her most touching and stylish, filmed in Bucharest.
In 2005 Anastacia would release her first greatest hits album with “Pieces Of A Dream” which again reached the top ten in many countries including the UK. It contained a couple of interesting duets, notably “Everything Burns” with Ben Moody from Evanescence, which also featured on the Fanatstic Four soundtrack.
Sadly, things took a wrong turn with the album “Heavy Rotation” in 2008 which bizarrely took on a difference style, much regretted by Anastacia, but perhaps trying to interest the American market. The album did hit most European charts, but missed the UK ten. Anastacia’s new record label clearly mid understood their artist. The singles were largely flops compared to her previous success.
Anastacia would largely disappear for a couple of years, but she did make a return on the European charts in 2012 with the covers concept album of songs all recorded by male rock singers. “It’s A Man’s World” was produced once again by Glen Ballard who had helped Anastacia with her greatest success in 2004. A cover of “Best Of You” by The Foo Fighters was included.
Unfortunately, a tour to promote the album was cancelled due to the sad return of Anastacia’s breast cancer. This also delayed the next album of original material, but when it appeared in 2014, “Resurrection” was hailed as a return to form and hit the UK top 10 and selling over a million copies in total.
Whilst the singles were not big hits it did really mark a return for Anastacia after being lost in the pop wilderness. Unfortunately, one of the best songs “Oncoming Train” was relegated to the deluxe version (a bit like Kylie’s epic “Lost Without You”). “Oncoming Train” has a great fan made video on you tube as the Bond theme that never was. Who needs Adele or Sam Smith?(!)
Just to show how much the UK loved Anastacia another greatest hits “Ultimate Collection” hit the top ten in 2015. It would include a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Army Of Me”, although wisely ignoring the “Heavy Rotation” period altogether. This album marked a return to Anastacia’s first label Epic.
Anastacia would return in 2017 with the great single “Caught In The Middle” and the strong “Evolution” album, perhaps her strongest for over ten years. Inexplicably the album had no physical release in the UK, which seems a strange decision after the recent comeback. However, Anastacia did not forget her UK fans returning to the stage supporting Lionel Richie on tour and embarking on a massive European tour in 2018
With worldwide sales of 50 million records, I am sure we have not heard the last of Anastacia.