It really is tho, I forgot about it, rediscovered it a day ago and was shocked at how good it sounds still!Brunosbabe wrote:WOW, she knocked it out of the park!!
The album still sounds fresh and the song itself is amazing!!
The memories will surely pour out
| Ciara | Beyoncé | Janet | Toni | Kelly R | Leona | Tinashe | Whitney | Brandy | Monica | Tevin | Mariah | Britney |
Ashanti looks ahead to new sound, bigger risks
Ashanti’s solo success as one of R&B’s most ubiquitous names with early aught jams like “Foolish” and “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)” was no joke. But is it safe to say that her sweet voice and girl-next-door image also softened songs by the era’s mega-rappers?
“I mean, I’m not mad at that,” she says, laughing. Regarding her frequent collaborations with hip-hop notables, including Ja Rule, the 35-year-old notes, “We used to call it the ying and yang with my vocals and Ja’s raspy voice. It was a nice, little balance.”
Ashanti, though, was no sidekick — at least not for long. Though she appeared on a glut of songs before her solo career took off, including her first No. 1, “Always on Time” with Ja, she eventually became a hot commodity of her own.
Her eponymous 2002 debut song sold 503,000 copies in its first week — enough for her to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for “Fastest Selling Debut (Female) Artist.”
“Being able to be in the Guinness Book of World Records and break history — it’s very humbling and I’m super blessed,” she says, “and I attribute all that to building and continuing to build the brand.”
Initially discovered by Sean (Diddy) Combs’ Bad Boy Records, the Ashanti brand was first established when the budding performer was just a teenager. The Bad Boy deal fell through and
Ashanti later signed to Murder Inc. and Def Jam Records, which released her Grammy-winning debut in 2002.
Looking back, Ashanti admits, she felt “a little sheltered.” Consequently, “I had to learn to grow.”
Musically, sure. But Ashanti’s journey meant also leaving Murder Inc. and, like many performers who’ve gone indie for financial and creative purposes, launching her own record label, Written Entertainment.
“It was time to grow into something and be more hands on,” she says. “I own my own masters, my licensing. It’s very different, but it’s very easy to get music out there without having to give so much of your percentages to a major label.”
Ashanti is preparing her second release while on tour, which brings her to MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board on Saturday. The singer says the show will span her five-album catalog and draw upon early fan favorites.
“I just like to have a good time,” she adds.
Ashanti says she doesn’t get as nostalgic about her past hits as fans do when she performs them. But sometimes, “If I’m on a plane or on a drive, I may pop in one of my albums and then it’ll be like, ‘Gosh, I remember when I wrote this’ or ‘I remember when the speakers blew out on this song.’ It’ll bring out certain memories. ”
For her, it’s also a reminder that she’s moved on from the rookie she was 15 years ago. Her upcoming album will present a “new, fresh, creative” version of the Ashanti we came to know when she first stormed the Billboard charts.
Expect, she says, “a side you’ve never seen and risks I never thought I would take.”
Chris Azzopardi is a Canton-based freelance writer.
Ashanti Talks New Album, Shuts Down Rumors of 'Confusing' Fake Title
If Ashanti has her way, her sixth studio album will be out before the end of the year. But contrary to reports, it will not be called Chapter VI.
"It's really confusing. I have no idea where that came from," the singer and actress tells Billboard. "The next album is absolutely not called Chapter VI. But the music on there is incredible. I'm really excited. I can't wait for people to hear the new music."
Ashanti is still working on the set with 15 or 16 songs recorded so far. "I'm probably in love with about six or seven of them, like IN LOVE in love," she says. "I'm working with different people, different sounds, different things on this album, just kind of going places I haven't gone before. Being an adult now, times are different. People want more of you, you know. But I'm very happy."
And she's comfortable with the idea of maybe being more personal in this batch of songs. "I can really say in time that you grow and you learn and you just become more comfortable," she notes. "There are certain things that five years ago there's no way anyone could've gotten me to say certain things, but this time around it's like, 'Hey, we're in 2016 going into 2017, and this is how I feel. This is how it is. This is where we are in life, with everything.' I'm ready to do that."
A self-described "workaholic," Ashanti has been recording primarily in Los Angeles and working with Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Mustard, J-Roc, Hit-Boy, L.T. Hutton and more. "There's so many different people. I was just thinking about my favorite records and who did them," Ashanti says. "The last two times I went out to L.A. I was only supposed to be there for a week and ended up staying for a month each time. I catch a really great vibe out there for some reason. Whenever I'm out there I go super hard."
Ashanti is equally busy on her acting front, too. She co-stars in the drama Stuck that's currently in post-production and has "three or four television projects that are in the works," two of which she's executive producing. It's been 15 years since her debut album, but Ashanti is exited about her future agenda.
"I would put myself in the lane of being extremely focused and about to embark on even more greatness," she says. "I'm so excited about the new projects coming up -- the new music coming up, the new television stuff coming, the new films coming. I'm really grateful, and I'm just really excited for the next part, the next chapter."
‘Showtime At The Apollo’ Returns With Ja Rule And Ashanti
The classic Showtime at the Apollo talent show is back. The program debuted in 1987, and closed its doors in 2008. Like old times, comedian Steve Harvey is set to host the venue at The Apollo in Harlem, which airs on Monday (Dec. 5), at 8 p.m. EST on FOX. Additionally, a two-hour special will follow in early 2017 featuring snippets of the show’s weekly Amateur Night competition.
The event is responsible for launching the careers of superstars like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, James Brown, D. Angelo, and The Jackson 5. Besides showcasing new talent, Showtime at the Apollo also hosts performances from established artists. In this forthcoming episode, Ashanti and Ja Rule take the stage.
Wow. How expensive are they? Joe is world class, but I think for an international audience, I wish they had a sponsor where their tickets could be reasonable. I'd love to see this tour stateside.intosoul wrote:Lots of people are complaining about the ticket price.MonaBlissa wrote:Joe & Ashanti sounds like a good throwback 00's tour.
I think it's around 45 euros, which is almost the same as a ticket for the Mary & Maxwell tour.MonaBlissa wrote:Wow. How expensive are they? Joe is world class, but I think for an international audience, I wish they had a sponsor where their tickets could be reasonable. I'd love to see this tour stateside.intosoul wrote:Lots of people are complaining about the ticket price.MonaBlissa wrote:Joe & Ashanti sounds like a good throwback 00's tour.
Ashanti Talks 'Crashed' Cameo, Favorite Ja Rule Collaborations & How Jay Z Almost Featured on 'Foolish'
In the early 2000s, Murder Inc. built an indomitable empire of radio hits. With rapper Ja Rule supplementing his swagger and edginess, Ashanti etched her lane as the sensual songbird.
Born Ashanti Douglas, the Long Island native reeled listeners in early on with her smooth vocals. First, she proved to be a formidable feature artist when she co-starred in Big Pun's 2001 "How We Roll" before appearing on hits like Fat Joe's "What's Luv" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time." In 2002, her first full-length album, Ashanti, catapulted her to critical acclaim as songs like "Foolish," "Happy" and "Baby" quickly helped her become a fixture in the R&B landscape.
With five albums under her belt, Ashanti is now a seasoned veteran. Last year, she paired up with Ja Rule for "Helpless" on Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton Mixtape, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Aside from that, Ashanti has a forthcoming track called "Lose Yourself" and recently appeared on Go90's new original series called Crashed, where celebrities surprise unsuspecting fans during their regular activities.
In a new interview with Billboard, Ashanti speaks about her recent appearance on Crashed, the 15-year anniversary of her debut album Ashanti, her favorite collaborations with Ja Rule, and how she landed a Notorious B.I.G. verse for her debut single "Foolish."
You were just on Joel McHale's new series Crashed. Talk about how that all came together.
It was actually really cool. We've known [the talent booker] Betty for a minute, and she reached out to my mom. When I heard about what it was, I was like, "Oh my God. This is so cool." I wish they would have had this around awhile ago, but it's a really cool series. It kind of gives artists a chance to do something cool for their fans. I had never even heard of a "busker" [a street performer]. I've never heard that word before [doing this show] so, you know, [street performing] was a cool little world we delved into.
What was the fan's initial reaction when she saw you for the first time?
I think she was kind of shocked, because if you're just an average person doing what you're doing every day in the middle of the mall, and somebody that you admire comes walking up to you with cameras, you're going to be like, "What the?" She was just initially very shocked at what was going on.
If you could have any celebrity or icon crash your everyday activities, who would you choose and why?
If I could choose any celebrity or icon to crash my day? It would depend on the mood I'm in. Right now, I'm in a car mood. I would say the owner of Bentley. Come crash me so I can get a few cars. I need that new truck.
It's so crazy because I'm in the middle of ordering two trucks while I'm here overseas, and I got my cousin and my dad going to the dealers, working on paperwork and transferring money. That's why I said that. [Laughs]
It's been almost 15 years since you released your debut album Ashanti. What's the best memory you have recording that album?
I would say one of the best memories would be when I wrote the bridge for "Foolish." First of all, I was surrounded by rappers. I was with Irv and those guys, and no one believed that I wrote my records. They used to make me write at what used to be called Crackhouse Studios on Mercer and they used to make me write in front of them, because they were like, "There's no way" [I was writing these songs]. So when I wrote the bridge and Irv came back and he heard it, he was screaming, running around the fifth floor of the Crackhouse. Everybody was like, "Oh my God. This is crazy."
I don't know if this story ever made it out, but, initially, Irv had called Jay Z to come and rhyme on the bridge of "Foolish." Jay was in motion. He was in the car and on the way to the studio to record it with me. Then Irv called him back like 10 minutes later, like, "Yo. Never mind. She needs to do this by herself. I don't wanna do typical R&B songs featuring a rapper. I want to do something different. She's going to hold this whole record on her own." That's what we did.
Speaking of "Foolish," you actually were able to grab The Notorious B.I.G. for the remix to that record. With it being the 20th anniversary of his death in a few days [March 9], talk about how special it was for you to have Biggie on your remix.
That was like insane. So many people were like, "How did she pull that off?" It was crazy. This is another story. This is funny. I remember 7 Aurelius did the beat. I was at Red Lobster with my then-boyfriend, my ex now, when they played the beat for me over the phone. They were like, "Yo, you're gonna get a verse from B.I.G." And I remember, I was in Queens. I had to drive to the city to see what was up and what was gonna happen. Originally, Charli Baltimore was supposed to do the verse. We were able to get B.I.G. Irv was like, "Nah. This is gonna be all for B.I.G. This is gonna be crazy."
So me and Irv went to Puff [Daddy]'s office to meet with [writer/songwriter/producer] Harve Pierre. Harve had the jack with the vocals, and was like, "Yo. You got it. We're gonna do it." I was like, "Oh my God." Irv went and grabbed the jack and put it in his pocket like it was a piece of gold. He ran out of the office, ran back to the studio, loaded the vocals up, matched everything, and it was just crazy how everything just matched up. It was perfect and it just flowed. It was great. Puff co-signed it. He loved the record. It's funny, because you know, I was supposed to do a deal with Puff before Murder Inc. I was like 14 so we had a little bit of history already. It was an amazing feeling to have a B.I.G. verse on my first record as the official remix.
You and Ja Rule have penned some great records together. If you could pick your top three favorite collaborations, which would they be and why?
I would go "Always on Time," "Mesmerize" and "Down 4 U." I think "Down 4 U" would be my favorite only because, again, for me that was another writing challenge. I was stuck. I was like, "What am I supposed to write about? I don't know." They just had the hook and the concept. Nobody had a verse on the record. I was one of the first to put a verse on the record. I remember just being in L.A. and was like, "Well, what am I supposed to say? I don't know what I'm supposed to write about. What do you mean being down for somebody?" [Laughs] So I just remember the challenge that they would always give me and it just came together really well.
Me and Ja always, always possess this chemistry, and it just came out of nowhere. It's crazy. It's very organic. It's natural. It's just really genuine. Like, me and Ja could not see each other for months or years, but when we get onstage, it looks like we've been hanging out all day, every day. Sometimes, we dress in the same color and we won't know. I was looking at some of our footage, and one of the shows we did in Australia -- it was the last show -- I had on all-white and he had on black and white, and we were like, "Oh, what the? What just happened?" [Laughs] We be on the same wave.
"Down 4 U" I would say is one of my favorites. It was a dope record and we had Bobby [Brown] and Whitney [Houston] in the video, which was crazy. Obviously, "Always on Time" [is another], one of our biggest records. Again, that was really supposed to be for Brandy. She turned it down and I gladly took it. [Laughs] At that time, I was super early in the game. I didn't know what the politics were, but I was in the studio and they were like, "Yo. Let's have 'Shanti do it." And that was history in the making.
What's one word you would use to describe the type of show fans will get to see when you and Ja Rule grace the stage together on this tour?
One word? That's tough. I'd say party. You're at a party with your family. It's good times, good vibes and positive energy. You're gonna get to see some sexiness. I have a red-light special section of my show and of course for the ladies, Ja takes his shirt off. [Laughs] So it's definitely a party. It's very diverse. There's a lot of emotion. There are some points of the show that are emotional and very serious. I talk about domestic violence on "Rain on Me." There's a theatrical part of the show that kind of has people stunned. It's good. You're gonna have an experience -- you laugh, you cry, you dance, you get emotional. We did a little section with the whole Black Lives Matter [movement]. We put a lot of thought into it and being creative. You'll definitely walk away like, "Yo, I had a good time."
If you could have a conversation with your 21-year-old self, what would you tell her?
I would say to have even more confidence in yourself and be patient, because I promise you, if I had known what I know now about the way the politics and the contracts work... You know, I was never officially signed. I didn't have a deal when "Foolish" was on the radio, so I wasn't signed to Murder Inc. I wasn't signed to Def Jam. I didn't have a deal at all. I had three records in the top 10 of the Billboard charts without a record deal. [Laughs] If I would have known then what I know now, I would have held out for a few more ends. We were negotiating the deal. It was a holiday. I think we were going into Christmas and I was in the supermarket. It was me and my mom in the grocery store and two of my attorneys, Irv and two other people were on a big conference call. I just remember being in the grocery store and people were like going back and forth on the contract because I wasn't signed. It was crazy
ASHANTI'S NEW MUSIC IS GOING TO SOUND SO DIFFERENT—BUT JA RULE APPROVES
"I would have never thought back when I was 19 that I would be in Berlin, Germany performing and having girls cry about how these records touched them," Ashanti says earnestly. Fifteen years after dropping her eponymous debut album—which earned her a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album and a Guinness World Record as the fastest selling debut female artist—the success is still hitting the R&B queen, and she's still "very, very grateful."
Now, at 36, the artist is working on her sixth album with a new single "Lose Yourself" and promising to release it "very soon." She reunited with frequent collaborator Ja Rule for a track on The Hamilton Mixtape that channels "Always on Time" for 2017, and the duo just finished a joint tour last summer. She's not giving up her onscreen appearances either, with a recent cameo in Crashed, a new go90 series where celebrities surprise their fans. She also has a hand in the music for All Eyez on Me, the highly-anticipated 2pac biopic.
During a brief but much-needed break on her recent European tour, the singer opened up to BAZAAR.com, looking back at her beginnings and teasing the projects coming in the near future.
On her debut album, Ashanti, turning 15 years old:
"It's crazy. It's an awesome feeling to know through it all—all my trials and tribulations, the obstacles, and the ups and the downs, the growing pains of the music industry—to still be here and being on tour and having people scream out your records and crying and standing on line and doing meet and greets and buying your T-shirt... it's an incredible, humbling feeling. I'm super blessed to have an amazing team with my momager, my attorney—a team of people that I've known since I was 14. It's really a blessing."
On how that album helped shape her career:
"I think it definitely set the tone for who I am and what music resonates with females—and males too. My album as a debut artist is still in the Guinness Book of World Records. It's an amazing feeling. It gave me the ability to grow and become more and more vulnerable as each album came out. It's funny because last night I was in Berlin and there were so many females that were like, 'This record saved my life,' and 'I've been following you since I was six' or 'since I was nine.' To see how records really penetrate, it's such a filling feeling. Like, I don't even know this person and to be able to perform a record that touches them like that is really cool. I would have never thought back when I was 19 that I would be in Berlin, Germany performing and having girls cry about how these records touched them."
On singing for The Hamilton Mixtape:
"It was so cool! People asked, 'How did you get involved?' and I put up a clip of an interview Lin-Manuel Miranda did with Conan. He was just like, 'I was so inspired by Ashanti and Ja Rule and when I wrote this I had them in my head and them performing this would be awesome.' I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, so cool!' So when we met him and went back stage—the show obviously is phenomenal—I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if it was going to be borderline corny 'cause I was like, 'They're rhyming?' But it was so awesome. He's so brilliant at how he put it together. When Lin reached out to us and told us that we inspired that, I was super humbled. He came to the studio to listen to the record and he was just like, 'Oh my gosh, this is crazy.' It was just a really, really good feeling because the project is so amazing on it's own.
The one thing I thought was over the top was Lin in London and we had just done the launch. It was something that we streamed [and] Lin was in tears when he was watching me and Ja perform. He was just so excited and so happy. So that made me and Ja feel amazing."
On reuniting with Ja Rule for "Helpless":
"It was great, it was like old times. We recorded with one session in NY and one session in LA. At at first we were fighting about who was going to go first. He was like, 'No you're going to take longer than me, let me go first' and I was like, 'No, you wait, you got to stay as long as I do,' and he was like, 'No, I'm out!' He ended up going first because his part was a lot quicker and easier."
On her musical relationship with Ja Rule:
"I think that we have a very unique relationship. I think it's the fact that we are extremely genuine and our chemistry is so authentic. It's real, it's always been since day one. It just happens. We get on stage together and sometimes if we don't see each other for a few months or a few years or whatever it is, we get back onstage and it feels like we've been hanging out all day. It's been like that from the first time we ever worked together. It's weird because it's always been like that.
We've gotten so much closer after what happened with Ja. [Editor's note: the rapper was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence in 2011 for a gun-related charge. He was released in 2013.] When he went, we had a three-hour conversation and I wrote him while he was in and sent cards and all of that. And when he came out, it was like we became way more close than we were. We were over in Australia together. We were going to these other shows and the zoo—crazy stuff together as a family. He's really like my brother. It's great to really care about and love someone that you work with and made history with. I bounce ideas off of him and he does the same. It's great to see people that love us individually and they love us together."
On her new single, "Lose Yourself":
"My new single will be coming out very, very soon. I'm trying to get the video shot as soon as I get back. The song is incredible. I played it in one of the venues during soundcheck out here and the whole venue was like, 'Holy sh*t, is that Ashanti's new record?! No way!' I'm just really excited about it. And obviously, being able to release my single on my own record label, called Written Entertainment, and having done everything independently, is such an awesome feeling. I'm stoked about that."
On her new sound:
"This new song is completely different. Let's just say, with me and Ja knowing each other for over 15 years, when I played him the record, he was like, 'Who's that? Yo thats you?' He made me start the record over! He was like, 'Oh my gosh, you gotta put that out tonight.' It's safe to say that it's very different and so dope. It's really a nice change. It's current, it's urgent. When you do put the two together, you're like, 'Damn it does sound like Ashanti, but something new, something 2017."
On whether she'll be trying any acting roles any time soon:
"We are simultaneously working on projects—television and film—doing some things behind the scenes. I just want to expand my palette. I've been fortunate to touch on so many different areas, so I feel like I want to push further inti that. There are a couple of things we've been talking about, just trying to balance everything and strategically line things up when the record drops. Hopefully everything pans out."
On working on the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic:
"I'm also going to be working a little bit on the music side for the All Eyez on Me project with Benny Boom and L.T. Hutton. I'm excited about that. I think it's coming on the 16th of June. I saw it and it is phenomenal. It is amazing. It's one of the best biopics that I've ever seen."
On how social media helps her keep a close relationship with her fans, some of whom have been devoted since 2002:
"The world of social media is a good thing as long as you know how to use it. I'm on Snapchat, Instagram, Instagram Live, Twitter and all that stuff, so I keep it very personable with my fans. I reach out for meet-and-greets and I snap and I talk and I do the live streams because nowadays, if people are going to invest in you and support you, they want to know about you. They want to know about what's going on, they want to know why they're going to spend money and time and invest in you if they don't know you. It's important to be yourself and show them who you are. Not all the time, not everything, but a good amount."
On her Crashed cameo:
"I love the concept. To be able to do something different and to reach out to a fan, someone that admires you, and do something positive in their life and give them motivation is always a good thing."