Interview: Ashanti

Originally published via SBTV in 2013.

Ahead of her performance in London at the indig02 this week, I had a chat with Ashanti to discuss the show, her forthcoming album, Braveheart, and her current relationship with former label Murder Inc and Ja Rule...

Hi Ashanti! Thanks for speaking with us today – How are you?

I’m pretty good, how are you doin'?

Very good, thank you! So... I hear you’re coming across the pond to see us soon – What can you tell us about that?

I’m very excited! I haven’t been to the UK in a long time, so I’m excited to get there and touch the people and, obviously, perform and talk about my new record, I Got It, featuring Rick Ross, which is on fire! I love the record. So, it feels good to be coming back at a time that I’ve got new music, so I’m excited.

Alongside your new stuff, it’s only right to perform the back catologue, right?

Absolutely! It wouldn’t make sense to come without doing the catalogue now, we’ve gotta get the smashes in! I plan on having a really good time. Of course we’re going to explode with all the old-school hits.

You mentioned your new single, I Got It, how did that collaboration come about with Rick Ross?

L.T. Hutton produced the record. He also produced my single, The Way That I Love You, from the Declaration album in ’08 -- me and him have been working together for a long time. I was actually shooting Army Wives in South Carolina when he sent me the beat and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, this beat is nuts!’ I started writing in the trailer while I was on set and then went right to the studio that night. We were like, ‘Yo, we’ve got to get someone crazy to feature on this,’ so, we got [Rick] Ross and the track came out fire, so I’m super excited.

Your album’s been pushed back a couple of times – Have you got a date for when you’re going to be releasing that in the UK?

I know for sure we’re gonna be top of next year. The reason for this is, me being a perfectionist, it’s got to be right. So with me running my own record label for the first time and handling everything myself, it’s got to be right. For me, it just makes sense to get records out and to have records on the radio and have presence before you put an album out. So, top of next year. Obviously, we’re going to focus on I Got It for now, and I have a couple of other records that I wanna put out beforehand as well. I just want it to be right.

You’re releasing a lot of work with your label, Written Entertainment, how important is being an independent artist to you at this time? Are you seeking major label support?

It is extremely crucial and so important to be in control.  Especially being indie, it’s something that I chose to do, because, after being in the system with the majors, it’s like ‘Okay, now it’s time.’ I’ve seen and learnt a lot. I see the potential financial gain which is warranted now versus the way things were done back when my first album came out, so it’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes it may backfire [laughs], but, it’s worth it once you’ve garnered success. It’s so worth it because, nowadays, with the majors, you’re working the same amount - you’re working equally as hard - and with majors there’s [360 Deals] and percentages and a lot of stipulations that come along with that. So, I wanted to try it this way and I’m happy. Listen, if this record goes, that cheque is gonna look extremely different than being signed to a major! [Laughs]

Everyone knows you best for your affiliation with Murder Inc. and Ja Rule – whose recently been released from prison in the US -  what’s your current relationship with Ja and Murder Inc? Are things good?

You know what’s crazy? It almost seems like we’re closer now than we were before. Because, obviously we would tour together and be in the studio together a lot beforehand, but it was sorta like we had separate careers. But now, as we both have gotten older and everything, we really talk. Before he went in, we had a three hour conversation about everything. While he was there, we wrote to each other and when he got out we talked, we text, I saw him in the studio, y’know, we’re good. We’re all cool, everybody still has a great relationship – I talk to the guys all the time.

Can we expect any collaborations with them on Braveheart?

Maybe. We’ll see [laughs]. It’s funny we spoke around two weeks ago. We spoke about both our albums and what we’re gearing up to do for 2014. I sent him some records and heard some of his new stuff. So..we’ll see! Our chemistry is undeniable, so y’all have to stay tuned.

Great - Well, we look forward to seeing you on stage this week! Any last words for everyone?

Just that I can’t wait to see everybody in the UK! It’s gonna be a great show, great music and make sure you guys support the new single, I Got It, featuring Rick Ross. It’s on iTunes right now!

Interview by Ash Houghton

Raw Fusion presents Ashanti live in concert this Wednesday, December 4th. Tickets are available here.

Originally published via SB.TV.