No one was more surprised than Anastacia when her record company Sony suggested it was time to release a greatest hits album. Especially considering it’s only five years since she released her first album, Not That Kind.

I never dreamed that my career would end up hitting a place where the record company would approach me and say, -˜It’s time for your greatest hits.’ I’m going, really? Why? I didn’t think it was over. This is quite fast, this whole career I’ve had, she said.

I never did dream that I would be part of a greatest hits project so soon in my career. However, the record company definitely had the stats. I guess I have made quite a few songs that are quite successful, so you know, the demand for something like this is out there.

The best of album, Pieces Of A Dream, features all her hits including I’m Outta Love, Not That Kind and One Day In Your Life, songs she still feels strongly about years later.

I love the songs that I wrote five years ago. I don’t feel disconnected from them at all. Even though I’m not really writing I’m Outta Love songs any more. I’m writing Pieces Of A Dream songs, and I’m writing Left Outside Alone and Sick And Tired songs. So my music has matured but I don’t hate where I came from, the place that I was at when I first started writing songs.

Raised in New York City, Anastacia was born into a showbiz family -“ her father was a singer and her mother an actress in Broadway musicals. As a teenager she became a dancer, appearing in a number of Salt-N-Pepa music videos before she got her break as a singer in 1999 when she was a finalist on MTV talent show The Cut. Afterwards record companies came calling and the rest, as they say, is history.

When I first started writing, for the first album, I was grateful they were allowing me to put my words on a piece of paper and they believed in me enough that maybe I have something to say that people want to hear on the radio, she recalled.

I didn’t know if it was going to work, and I didn’t know how many songs that I was going be part of. A couple would have been nice but it ended up that 75 percent of the album was stuff I wrote, and then on albums to come I ended up writing practically every single song.

When writing I’m Outta Love she had no inkling at all it would ever become anything of a hit, and certainly not the international chart topper it went on to become.

I wrote the song, I enjoyed it, I thought it was fun but I don’t know that I really felt, -˜Yeah, this is it.’ I think nowadays I can tell what a good song is more than I could at the very first onset of starting to write songs, she said.

I don’t know what made me write I’m Outta Love because I was very much in love at the moment. So for me, my songs don’t reflect exactly what I’m going through necessarily.

Sometimes they do, and sometimes they’re just me being able to write a song about something that I’ve connected with or have seen happen and can easily express. Because it’s all about going through something once -“ you can talk about it for the rest of your life. One heartbreak can make you write 20,000 songs, you only need one.

Even if you’ve only been in love once, you never forget the heartbreak when it ends, she believes.

I think that’s sort of where some of my songs stem from. My voice sounds better in an attitude song than it does introducing myself with my angelic side, though most recently in some of the songs I have. The attitude in my voice, the way I sing with the edge, is really the most exciting part of what I like to sing. I think most people like to hear that edge in me because it’s sort of signature, so songs like We Are The World songs are nice but people want to hear me curse about some love in my life.

She’s always been a survivor chick, she said, someone who always sees the glass as half full. It obviously comes out in my music. I don’t even notice that I’m Miss Spokesman of stay strong, get through it, you can do it, it may be hard, yes he lied to you but you can move on, girl.

Out of her much publicised battle with breast cancer came the song Heavy On My Heart, which appeared on her self-titled third album in 2004.

That was my necessary cry out for the pain that I was going through at the time. My heart felt it was just so heavy. And for me, I think I needed to write that song to give birth to it not being heavy.

The experience also saw her become an advocate for the early detection of breast cancer in young women and to help women though the process of cancer treatment.

I had a real joy knowing that I was gifted the blessing of going through this, because I then learned so much about something I didn’t know and then I was able to give messages out to women who didn’t know it as well.

And I’ve saved lives that I know of. Of women who went in, got tested, found breast cancer early.

So I know in my life I have made a difference in people’s lives.

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