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Her album Free Yourself was certified platinum, while the follow-up, 2006's Fantasia, featured the #1 R&B hit "When I See U."Back to Me, which includes writing and producing contributions from such hitmakers as Ne-Yo, Claude Kelly, and Rico Love, may be Fantasia's first new music in over three years, but that time has hardly been quiet.For a full year, she took on the role of Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple (she is also cast in the forthcoming film adaptation).You help them by speaking the truth."The gritty soul of "Move on Me" provided the spark that Fantasia sought."It gave me that sound that I had been looking for-that Tina Turner feel," she says.So when the 26-year-old, eight-time Grammy nominee titled her third album Back to Me, she was making her current goals, both creative and personal, crystal clear."When I was on American Idol," she says, "people fell in love with the young lady who took her shoes off to come onstage, who spoke her mind and didn't hold anything back.They could relate because whatever I was feeling at the time, I put that in my music."But after doing two albums and having the chance to do some acting," she continues, "I think I allowed people to influence me and change me. ,' when really, all it takes is you being yourself. So I wanted to get back to that Fantasia-the young lady who sang from her soul and didn't worry about what anyone else has to say.

We went for months, in Atlanta, New York, LA, working with a lot of people."After going through so many songs, though, I realized that what we were missing was everybody coming into one room, sitting down, and talking about real things, real-life situations.

So when it came time to focus on her music again, she was itching to go."When we started recording," says Fantasia, "it had been so long for me, and I must have had about 50 or 60 songs.

I had kind of taken a break-not by choice, but because so many things were going on with my life, with management, with accountants, everything was in an uproar.

Seldom has that been more evident than on the aptly-named FUNK THIS, in some ways a return to her musical roots with Rufus, a glorious collaboration with the super hit-making team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

It's the album that many a Chaka fan will instantly say they've been waiting for, a tough 'n' earthy showcase for the gritty, in-your-face sound that first attracted the solid and loyal audience that has been with Chaka "through the fire" (also the title of her autobiography), through the ups and downs and ins and outs of a career filled with accomplishment, achievement and, as she herself admits, its share of highs and lows. This album is different from any other album I've recorded because it reflects what I'm about, who I am now." The dictionary defines the popular term "comfort food" as "food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal." It has been known to have a buffering effect as it soothes the soul and spurs memories of more "comforting" times.She published her controversial memoir, Life is Not a Fairy Tale and starred as herself in the Lifetime Network adaptation of the New York Times bestseller.