About The Artist
The Set List
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck
Making a 'Declaration'
Ashanti's latest work is a collaborative effort that teams the 27-year-old with some of the music industry's most prolific producers, including Pharrell, Bryan Cox, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, Neff-U, L.T. Hutton and more. It's also the first time the singer-songwriter-producer has handed over the reins to a larger posse. Explains Ashanti: "I would say the inspiration of the title and the album would just come from me growing up. It's been about four years since my last studio album and I'm just learning so many things... and I'm declaring a sense of freedom... a sense of just empowering women and taking control. Just a bunch of good, positive things."
Ashanti the Actress
Few performers can display the natural talent that Ashanti has shown on the big screen. Can we expect to see more acting from the New York native? Says Ashanti: "It was a natural transition for me to get into the acting thing - in high school plays and things like that, I always knew that I wanted to try it. Lately, honestly, I've really been focused on my album and on the release. Again, it's been such a long time in between [records] so a lot of my focus and my energy and my time has been on the album. As far as acting is concerned, I had a blast with 'John Tucker' and 'Resident Evil.' Two totally different characters for me and I definitely want to revisit the Hollywood thing. I had a ball. I do want to get into different characters so we'll see how that all goes..."
Words to the Wise
As someone who's been there, done that, Ashanti has some helpful words of advice for those starting out in the business. Explains the cautious singer: "For females on the come-up, you definitely have to surround yourself with those who genuinely care about you and look at you as a person as opposed to a commodity. You have to be smart, you have to grow extremely fast and read all your paperwork. If you can't, hire someone to do so, because you will get yourself in a lot of trouble."
- She's 27. Ashanti Shequoyia Douglas was born in Glen Cove, New York on October 13, 1980.
- Performing runs in her blood. Her mother taught dance and her father, Ken-Kaide Thomas Douglas, was also a singer.
- She's a multi-hyphenate. Ashanti is an accomplished singer-songwriter, producer, model, dancer and actress. She's also a successful fashion designer.
- She is named after the former Empire of Ashanti in Ghana, a nation in which women had power and influence.
- She's written or co-written hits for other artists, including Jennifer Lopez and Nas. Ashanti co-wrote the Jennifer Lopez song, 'Ain't It Funny.'
- She began performing at an early age. Friends and family noticed the 6-year-old's singing chops when they heard her vocals in the local gospel choir.
- She's made some memorable performances on the big screen. Movies Ashanti has appeared in include 'Bride and Prejudice,' 'Coach Carter' and 'John Tucker Must Die.'
- In its first week of release, her self-titled debut set a Nielsen SoundScan record as the most albums sold by any debut female artist, granting her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Kicking off her set with a powerful new kiss-off anthem from 'The Declaration,' Ashanti gives us a taste of the artist - all grown up. With its catchy chorus and empowering lyrics, 'You're Gonna Miss' is a highlight from the new disc - and a sure-to-be hit. Sings Ashanti: "I ain't gonna cry another night alone / You're gonna miss this chick, I swear."
In These Streets
"How could I ever wanna lose your love / Why would I ever wanna lose your trust / There ain't nothing in these streets for me." So sings Ashanti in another stand-out track from 'The Declaration.' Soulful and stirring, the diminutive diva takes a seat to perform 'In These Streets,' and it's a stunning example of the power of her voice.
The Way That I Love You
The first single from Ashanti's smash new disc, 'The Declaration,' is already a massive radio hit. Written by Ashanti alone, 'The Way That I Love You' is a bittersweet power ballad about a deceitful relationship. It's also a testament to a woman's intuition. Sings Ashanti: "I woke up kinda early today / and something told me from that moment / it wouldn't be the same / Felt you were hiding something / but I didn't push it ..."
It's time for another new track (and a new outfit) from 'The Declaration' - one that Ashanti has previewed for fans in recent concerts. Though Ashanti teamed up with many producers for the new record, the bulk of the album was recorded with L.T. Hutton - a producer with whom Ashanti admits she found the most chemistry. Promises Ashanti: "There ain't nothing I won't do to make you mine ... I would let you take control of what I have inside."
Ashanti launches into one of her biggest hits to date - 2001's 'Foolish.' The singer's debut track notched up an impressive number of weeks in the top 10 and remains her signature song. A song about a "gangsta" relationship where the mistress feels conflicted (the video was even modeled after "Goodfellas"), 'Foolish' sounds just as fresh as it did seven years ago. Who can forget the song's unmistakable chorus: "And though my heart can take no more / I keep on running back to you."
Ashanti wraps up our set with the debut set from her third album, 'Concrete Rose.' It's an unusual choice for the singer (the track became the first lead-off tune not to crack the top 10) but it's testament to her love for 'Only U,' a forgotten track that combines Ashanti's silky vocals and lovesick lyrics: "I'm crazy 'bout the way that you could make me say your name / And if I couldn't have you I would probably go insane ... "