Singer vs. suits: Lowering the boom on stuffy soccer officials

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Singer vs. suits: Lowering the boom on stuffy soccer officials

When Anastacia Newkirk performed for the world at the recent drawing for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan pairings, everyone asked "Who's that girl?" Anastacia sang "Boom," the official song of the 2002 World Cup.

Well, who is that girl? Actually, since she is in her late 20s, "girl" is not quite the right word. When the statuesque Anastacia, who has performed with Luciano Pavarotti and Michael Jackson, arrived for an interview, she glowed in minimal, Britney Spears-esque clothes. But Anastacia's music is not pop - it's a revival of '70s funk. She has a piercing and husky voice that could never be mistaken for anyone else's. The closest comparison would be Macy Gray, whose trademark is a voice that sounds like someone choking, but still manages to be sexy and soulful.

Anastacia's new album "Freak of Nature," is "more deep, more raw," Anastacia says. "My message is even stronger than it was in the first album." This is good because her first album, "Not That Kind," had rather juvenile lyrics. Poetry aside, Anastacia could survive on attitude and a voice that is larger than life.

She crashed a serious press conference led by FIFA board members. They wore dark suits and serious expressions. She wore superstar shades and studded denim jeans. And when they tried to get her to toss Fevernova, the new Adidas World Cup soccer ball, she refused, citing fingernail maintenance.

She describes herself as "a soulful woman in song and spirit." "Freak of Nature" is definitely all about soul and woman empowerment. The fun album does not include "Boom." In "Paid My Dues," she sings, "Ain't nothing in the world that can keep me from doing what I wanna' do." Again in "Overdue Goodbye," she sings, "Pay attention. Nobody's gonna love me the wrong way again. This is a calling, not a conversation."

As for being selected for the World Cup, she said, "I don't have an athletic bone in me." When it was pointed out that such a declaration perhaps made her a less-than-ideal spokeswoman for the World Cup, she laughed and said, "I'm a fabulous spectator."

by Joe Yong-hee

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