Wednesday, May 14, 2008
BGG Chats with R&B Singer Ashanti
I recently had a chance to chat with Grammy award-winning R&B singer, Ashanti. Known for her catchy lyrics and heartfelt tunes, this Long Island native is back and hotter than ever. Her latest single, "The Way that I Love You," is climbing the charts and is in heavy rotation across the country. She's declaring that she's no longer "Foolish."
Check out our Q&A:
BGG: Tell me a bit about your new album, "The Declaration." What makes it different from your other CDs?
Ashanti: Well this is my first album in 4 years. I’ve done a lot of growing up and I did basically everything on my own this time around with the project. I executively produced the entire thing…behind-the-scenes and the creative process. So I’m really excited about it. It’s very versatile and you can just tell sonically, musically, vocally and lyrically I’m at a different place than with my last album; so I’m very excited!
BGG: What producers did you work with this time around?
Ashanti: I worked with a whole bunch of producers. Every single one didn’t make the album, but the fact that I was able to work with them was really an amazing experience for me. From Babyface to L.T. Hutton (who actually worked on her latest single), Pharrell, Jermaine Dupri, Brian Cox, Polow, Rodney Jerkins, Robin Thicke, 7 Aurelius – a lot of very talented producers.
BGG: What’s your relationship with the Inc.?
Ashanti: The Inc. is signed to Universal so it’s the Inc/Universal. And that’s what it is (laughing)!
BGG: What’s your next single?
Ashanti: I’m not sure yet, which is a really good position to be in because we have 2 or 3 really great candidates. We’ll see!
BGG: I know that you write all of your songs. What’s the inspiration behind your lyrics?
Ashanti: Just real life. Usually it’s something that I’m going through or something that I’ve gone through or something that people who are in my circle are going through or have gone through. No matter what, it’s always something that is real. I’ve always been really genuine and sincere with my lyrics and I think that’s why a lot of people can relate to my records. I’ve just always had a passion for writing so I feel like when you hear a record and you can relate to it, it’s like “Ah,” it’s such a wonderful feeling. It’s like, “I’m not the only one going through this!”
BGG: Are you going on tour this summer for the album?
Ashanti: Definitely, I’m not sure when, but I’m definitely excited about touring.
BGG: Tell me your secret to staying in great shape!
Ashanti: It’s about being healthy. I do have a trainer. I do try to hit the gym as much as I can. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods and I don’t eat red meat or pork. That’s just my own personal preference. It’s just about being in shape and again trying to hit the gym. If you really 'wild-out' with pizza, chicken, cake and all kinds of stuff then you really should hit the gym. You have to make up for it.
BGG: I know you once wrote a book of poetry (Foolish/Unfoolish), do you think you’d ever do something like that again?
Ashanti: Yes! I had a really good time writing that. I’ve been thinking about doing another book. I’m not sure if it will be poetry, maybe or maybe not. I have had an idea of doing a book called, “Ashanti’s Style.” It would basically be about beauty secrets and fashion tips. A lot of behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t talk about too much like, the miracles of double-stick tape! (laughing) Look for that maybe later this year or early next year.
BGG: If you could do a duet with someone that you admire, who would it be?
Ashanti: Wow, I don’t know. I’ve honestly taken it one step at a time and working with a variety of producers is already a huge step for me. I’ve always worked with in-house producers. But as far as collaborating, I feel like anytime you get two artists in the studio, you could potentially come up with something incredible just with a lot of talent and creative juice flowing, but I don’t have anybody particularly in mind right now. I’m still stuck on the high of, “wow, I’ve worked with so many different producers this year alone!”
BGG: What are a few of your must-have beauty products?
Ashanti: Lip-gloss!! MAC! Recently, I’ve actually been into the MAC color glosses for the last couple of months.
BGG: I’ve seen a few photos of you in shades similar to what you’re wearing now.
Ashanti: Yeah, I like it. Oh and lotion. I have 3 things of lotion (travel size) in this bag right now. You never know when you’re going to have to lotion up those toes! (laughing)
BGG: Your latest video, "The Way That I Love You," is like a mini-movie; are you working on any new movie projects?
Ashanti: I definitely want to venture more into the movie side of things. I had a really good time filming all of the films that I’ve been in. It’s a different experience than recording. It’s good so I definitely want to get back into it. I’ve been out in L.A a couple of times this month working on a couple of things so I have my fingers crossed!
Check out her video here:
BGG: Is there in any role that you’re more drawn to than others?
Ashanti: For me I would love to get everything in one big ball – drama, comedy, action and romance! That would be ideal for me.
BGG: What would you like your fans to know about you that they might not already know?
Ashanti: Well, I don’t know because they usually know everything! (laughing).
Wow, I guess I would tell them about…(long pause) My favorite bike was my Strawberry Shortcake bike that I received when I was 5-years-old. It was pink and I got a pink jacket to go with it. The bike had a basket with strawberries on it!! I loved it! It was my best toy for like so many years! (Her mom adds, more like “FOREVER!”) And I would always wear my pink jacket with my pink and red bike!
BGG: Is there anything else that you want readers to know?
Ashanti: ALBUM IN STORES JUNE 3rd!!! Oh yeah, I also have this website site called, Gotchagram.com, which is a viral tool that you can use if you find out if that your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you, you send them this email blast that you can fill out and customize. It shows a snippet of my video (The Way That I Love You) and basically it says my boyfriend is cheating on me and the way I’m going to get him back is that I’m going to put a boot up in his ass! You can use a boot, Timbaland, high-heel, a machete or whatever it is and you kind of put him on blast so you can be like, "I caught you!" And he could be guilty of not being emotionally available, he cheated, or he’s trying to talk to your cousin and you just put him on blast! You have to see it! Just log-on to www.thewaythatiloveyou.com.