17th September 1968, a star was born.
Anastacia, full name ‘Anastacia Lyn Newkirk’, was born and raised in Chicago with her 2 siblings by her mother. She is the second child of retired stage actress, Diane Hurley and singer, Robert Newkirk. At the age of 5 her parents separated. On turning 13 Anastacia was diagnosed with “Morbus Crohn”, a chronic inflammation of the colon. Surgery left the singer with a 7 inch scars cross her lower abdomen.
“The scar is part of me but for a 13 year old me that was pretty tragic”
After graduating from “The Professional Children’s School” in New York City Anastacia held numerous jobs including restaurant work and beauty salons whilst trying to break into music industry. Motivated by her parents background she started to gain an interest in professional dancing from a young age and was hired as a background dancer for various music videos including Salt’n’Pepa’s “Everybody Get Up” and “Twist and Shout”.
Anastacia Big break came when she appeared on MTV casting show “The Cut” in 1998.
Although she didn’t win the competition record labels were blown away by her voice and were queuing up. Sony Music won the battle for the singer.
Her first album “Not That Kind” was released in 2000 and went platinum in Europe. One year later her second studio album, “Freak of Nature” was released.
“I’m no star in America yet but now I’m gonna get started!”
In 2003 fate had turned and Anastacia had to face the shocking diagnosis of breast cancer:
“It was a long, dark night and I’d been waiting for the morning. It’s been a long and hard battle but I see that a new day has come. I’ve searched for sunshine because I didn’t see it in so long. But everything took a turn for the better, everything is okay now.”
After struggling with contstant back ache Anastacia became tired of her naturally busty double D cup and opted for a breast reduction. Her doctor organised for Anastacia to have a mammogram to reduce the risk of any complications. The singer was confused by this and questioned the doctor, to her knowledge mammograms were for older women, but after the doctor explain it was a routine check Anastacia was satisfied and agreed to go ahead with the test saying
“Ok cool, I’ll do it”
The mammogram showed small spots in her left breast – a hint of cancer.
“I saved my own life simply by wanting to get my breast reduced. Up until now we didn’t have any case of cancer in my family, I didn’t feel a lump in my breast. There was no way I could have diagnosed it myself.”
Anastacia had a firsthand experience that the word cancer holds something terrible. The spots that Dr. Swistel discovered in her breast looked like someone had sprinkled salt onto the x-ray. These kind of spots are usually harmless but in 10% of all cases those are markers for an early stage of cancer. In January 2003 Anastacia had a biopsy in order to be absolutely certain.
The following day Anastacia’s mother, Diane, answered the phone.
“The doctor said Anastacia will have a long life, that’s why my mother believed she was in for some good news”
said Anastacia, who had now sold 10 million records and was ready to break into the USA.
“But then he wanted to talk to me and his first words were that the cell samples they had taken were malignant. You have cancer. He said, we discovered the cancer in a very early stage and that I was extremely lucky. I couldn’t believe it, did I really get that right? I started to cry and my tears fell on the phone.”
Despite the cancer diagnosis Anastacia started to work full force.
Three days after the horror message she shot the video for “Love Is A Crime” from the “Chicago” soundtrack.
“I had to ignore my diagnosis”
The singer explained. Still under the influence of pain blockers she gave her last bit to get the video done. Eventually she broke down.
“I just let my sadness roll. But one week later I decided to fight the cancer.”
Eventually the day of surgery came closer: 10th February 2003. Although the surgery went without any complications, the post-surgery time was a horrible experience for her. After staying two days in hospital, she was able to recover at home.
“After the surgery I walked and talked like Ozzy Osbourne. It was nearly impossible for me to just sit down.”
Things got worse when she saw her left breast for the first time.
“It looked like a dented fender.”
Disappointed with the bra she had to wear after the operation, she decided to design her own.
To sustainably fight cancer she underwent a 6 weeks radiation therapy that affected her voice.
“I have a strong voice and if just some of that goes lost I might end up sounding a little happier and I won’t break as many mics anymore”
Anastacia stated smiling.
Six weeks after the surgery she returned back on stage and performed the song “The Bitch Is Back” together with Elton John at his Oscar party.
“After that performance people approached me and told me how great it was that I was back on stage. That meant a lot to me.”
During her treatment Anastacia accquired a camera company to document her treatment in aid of education. Eventually she founded the Anastacia Fund to enable young women to get preventive check-ups,
“I’m a public person and maybe that’s exactly the reason for me to go that path, to pass on my story and if I can help just a bit, my mission is complete”
Anastacia is a power bundle and she passes that energy on to her audience at every gig, it radiates across the room. She is and will forever be our SURVIVOR CHICK!!!
The fans waited for a long time and in September 2004 it was time – “Anastacia – Live At Last”, she toured Europe. The tour was a perfect success and the venues were sold out. The tour was such a hit, she extended the tour for another leg. In February 2005 she came back for another round of concerts in Europe! And again the venues were filled and you could feel how much she enjoyed to finally perform live in front of her fans!
For the last show of the “Back … Live At Last” tour, Anastacia ‘s tour crew surprised her when suddenly her sister Shawn was on stage next to her to sing “One Day In Your Life” together with her! Anastacia was surprised and totally overwhelmed. For us fans that moment was a special one to share with her in Munich!
Because she still couldn’t get enough from touring Anastacia extended the tour for a second time. In July the Encore Open Air Tour followed and she nailed it once more! In the meantime Anastacia went into the studio with Ben Moody to record the song “Everything Burns” for the “Fantastic Four” soundtrack. The song was released on her Best of album “Pieces Of A Dream” which she presented in a very special concert in Amsterdam’s Paradiso. It was announced as “An evening with Anastacia” and took place at 2nd November 2005.
In January 2006 the next single was released, “I belong to you” – a collaboration with Eros Ramazzotti that stormed to the top of the charts. 24th March 2006 Anastacia’s first Live DVD was released and recieved a great reception, some countries peaking at #1 on the DVD charts!
In August 2006 another phase of her career began. On A-Day she presented her own fashion line called “Anastacia by s.Oliver” that was successfully sold by the fashion house for the next two years.
And on 1st November 2006 Anastacia launched her own fragrance. Together with LR she brought the perfume “Resurrection” to the market. The name reflects Anastacia herself, it means to rise again and describes her path perfectly.
Since the Encore tour Anastacia’s bodyguard Wayne Newton didn’t leave her side. A love story like you see it in movies – she made the comparison herself. They tied the knot April 21st 2007 in Mexico, unfortunately the marriage only lasts three years and they filed for divorce in 2010.
From November 2007 rumors about a new album grew stronger, Anastacia followed her mentor, David Massey, to a new label – Universal. On 21st August the time had come and the single “I Can Feel You” was released, having it’s premier on the radio! It was a different sound and opinions differed. Unfortunately both the single and the album “Heavy Rotation” (released in October) failed to succeed. It wasn’t the sound or image that we knew and many couldn’t get used to the change.
The new album was reason enough for Anastacia to get rid of a lie she had been living with for all those years. Many fans already knew it but the media had no idea how old she really was:
“I’m turning 40 and feel happy about that!”
Her former label advised her to make herself younger but it wasn’t easy for her to live with the lie, she wanted to use the change of labels to set the record straight.
In November 2008 fans were relieved to learn that Anastacia would tour in 2009. Finally her followers had another chance to see her live. The concerts were a little smaller and more intimate but it if anything it created a fantastic atmosphere. Fans all over Europe were once again overwhelmed by the small blonde with the big voice! Like she had announced, every show was different, emotional and sentimental at the same time. She put her personality in every single minute of the show and she still had that energy that touches everyone in the room. The fans were in for a surprise on this tour, her mother Diane would join her on stage for a couple of concerts. Together they sang “In Your Eyes” and Diane performed a solo of “Ave Maria”. An impressive presentation that would show the deep emotional connection between the two.
Since the release of the new album, Anastacia slowly discovered the internet for herself and released vlogs now and again. Some of them showed her together with fans, while others showed her playing with her dog, Freak. This way she was enable to have her fanbase to be part of her life and show them how she lived and worked.
Technological progress was no longer ignored by her and on 17th November 2009 she joined Twitter where she interacts with her fans under the handle @AnastaciaFanily.
In November 2009 she started the “Here Come The Girls” tour in Great Britain, the shows were completely sold out and a huge success. With covers from the Surpremes to Robbie Williams, Lulu, Chaka Khan and Anastacia fired the audience up. The shows were a lovely musical journey through the past 30 years that the ladies perfected on stage.
In 2010 Anastacia didn’t rest, she performed some concerts, private events amongst them, had a smaller roll in an Italian movie and was part of the jury for the British casting show “Don’t Stop Believing”. And for the following autumn a second leg for the “Here come the girls” tour was in store, the only change was Heather Small replacing Chaka Khan.
2011 Anastacia started a concert series in Antwerp with the Flemish singer Natalia. The Lotto Arena was sold out for 6 times and the show again was a huge success. Of course during this time Anastacia also gave the one or two other concerts because she just can’t live without live shows.
2012 another project was born, this time Anastacia collaborated with Skoda in which she recorded a duet with DJ Tiesto called “What Can We Do”. Within the commercial spots Anastacia was able to show her humorous side, e.g. she got shackled and put in the trunk to show how much space it provides.
June that year Anastacia sadly lost her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Freak who sadly lost his battle against cancer. Her loyal companion had accompanied her throughout her own fight with cancer and with a heacy heart she informed the world about his passing via Twitter.
But life has to go on and in September 2012 the singer started her next tour in Stockholm, “Night Of The Proms”. With a 80-people strong orchestra Anastacia introduced her new single “Best Of You” from her upcoming cover album “It’s A Man’s World”. She fulfilled herself a long-cherished dream with this record as she always wanted to cover the rock songs that influenced her own sound.
A European tour was planned to kick off in April 2013 to give the powerhouse singer a chance to perform these stunning rock songs in front of her fans. Everything was running smoothly until February 28th when a horrifying message was left on the official Facebook page. Cancer was back! All fans were struck back by this as they read through the media. Anastacia already knew there was a risk the cancer could return and was therefore prepared with what decision she would make if a relapse would occur. She opted for a double mastectomy to be breast cancer free forever. Very few women have the courage to make this decision, and is a road less travelled.
The surgery marathon started, first the mastectomy then the reconstruction (for which they used the lateral back muscles). A long recreational phase followed to allow this inspirational woman to heal and recover from all the procedures.
Even during this hard time Anastacia decided she would continue to work feeling that it would be the easiest way for her to cope with what she had gone through.
July 2013 the long awaited tweet informed the world that she was breast cancer free – forever! Showing the world again what an inspiration and admirable woman she is by drawing something positive and powerful from such a dark experience.
The following November Anastacia was already back on stage, she recieved the honourous “Women of the Year” award at the GQ Awards in Berlin. This appearance also giving her the chance to perform live for the first time since her return. Soon after another performance and award for her involvment with breast cancer awareness and the Anastacia Fund followed at the “Deutsche Nachhaltigskeitspreis 2013”
By January 2014 Anastacia was cruising through the desert in Las Vegas and Nevada to shoot a video for her new single “Stupid Little Things” which premiered 21st March on the radio. Followed by the album “Resurrection” in May. A true masterpiece that had it all. It was dripping with tears and power, it’s simply Anastacia!
A Europe tour followed, press conferences and small intimate concerts for some radio stations as well as some summer festivals. Unfortunately Anastacia got thwarted again having to cancel some shows due to a hernia. But she can’t be stopped that easily and some weeks later she was back to perform at radio festivals and an autumn was already in the making.
In October 2014, the Resurrection tour began and the stage was hers in Brussels. 105 minutes filled with energy and emotions that lured the fans into the world of Anastacia, Purposefully choosing smaller venues so that she could be close to her “Fanily” she was able to interact with her fans by shaking hands and talking to them like never before, making the experience extremely special for each and every fan.
Unfortunately the next set back was looming and didn’t take long to arise. The Milan concert began and her voice started to crack more and more, Anastacia’s amazing band quickly changed the key of the songs a little to make it easier but the cold became too much and the singer had to give in. Fans in the venue gave support by singing the song in which she was deeply touched and disppointed that she couldn’t give the performance she longed to give them. This was possibly one of the most emotional concerts of the tour.
The next day she was diagnosed with laryngitis which again forced her to rest and save her voice. She was not allowed to talk and decided to fly back to LA for a while to fully recover.
Anastacia was not satisfied with the show in Milan, her management and herself organsised and told fans to keep their tickets and would be able to use these for a show in Milan at a later date, which they were given in January the following year.
True to the motto “…and baby I’m stronger than before…” she delivered what she owed. Most shows were sold out and a huge success. It was pure Anastacia, the person, some of her songs, perfect musicians, what a true event.
But Anastacia wouldn’t be Anastacia if she didn’t have her fans in for a surprise, 29th April 2015 she started her very first Australian tour!
Throughout her career she has only ever performed promotion gigs but never had the chance to step foot in a concert venue. That was about to change with 7 concerts that would take her all over the “Down Under” continent and she conquered the audience in a blink. The European fans followed the tour through all the social networks and could see that her aussie fans lay to her feet charmed by her energy.
To be continued…