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A year after being crowned American Idol's third-season winner, Fantasia Barrino has had a No. 1 song ("I Believe"), a platinum debut album (Free Yourself) and now she's embarking on her first solo tour, which kicks off June 8 in St. Louis. The 20-year-old single mom to daughter Zion, 3, spoke to PEOPLE about hitting the road, her upcoming autobiography, Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, and her advice for new Idol Carrie Underwood.
You toured with your fellow American Idol contestants last year. What did you learn from that experience?
Get a lot of rest, because it helps. I have to get sleep when I can. No time to stay up all night! I use a lot of energy when I'm on stage.
Do you have a regimen for taking care of your voice?
Not really. I just have to pray, because I'm a hard singer. I might drink a little warm tea. Lemon tea works for some people, but it closes (my vocal cords) up. And I drink olive oil.
Will you be bringing any family members with you on tour?
Of course – my mother and daughter.
What do you do for fun with your daughter?
She's so spoiled! We love Cabbage Patch (dolls), so we go to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart and Target are my favorite stores. We're in Wal-Mart so much that I know everybody's names in the store!
What has this past year been like for you?
I've had a lot of highlights. I got to sing at the Kennedy Center tribute to Elton John. It was amazing. I got two Billboard Awards, went platinum, got an NAACP Award. Oprah was right there in the front row. There were so many big-time people there that every time I think about it, I think, "Wow, I finally made it!" I got to go to Denzel Washington's house and eat with his family.
Tell me about your autobiography, which will be released this fall.
It's basically about a lot of things I went through in my life at a young age that I think will help and touch a lot of people. I went through a lot of bad relationships, being a young mom, hanging in the streets. It goes from the age of 5 until now. It's honest and real.
You were a big fan of Bo Bice on Idol this season.
He's got great stage presence. He's a great singer. His a cappella performance (of Badlands' "In a Dream") was awesome. I'd want to do a duet with him. He's rock, I'm soul.
And what's your advice to the new Idol champ, Carrie Underwood?
Stay humble. Have a good time. Take it and run as far as you can with it.
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