21- year-old R&B sensation Ashanti

Jennifer Shuster

Fat Joe ‘luvs’ her and she is ‘always on time’ for Ja Rule but just how does pop music’s hottest R&B princess feel about her success?
Ashanti is taking the world by storm as well as the album charts. She already has three number one singles, including two collaborations on Ja Rule’s “Always On Time” and Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv.”
Now with her self-titled debut album she has a number one album and her single “Foolish” hit the top spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles and Hot 100 charts.
“Ashanti” sold 502,000 copies in its debut week, beating out established songstress Celine Dion and her album “A New Day Has Come.”
Murder Inc. Records has taken a departure from hip-hop artists, making the 21-year-old Long Island, N.Y. native the first vocalist on the hip-hop powerhouse label, which includes Ja Rule and Vita.
She wrote all twelve tracks on her album and said she “wants to create something so real and reflective that people just sit back and listen like, damn, was she in my window last night, because this really happened to me.”
Ashanti cites her influences as being such classic jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Blue Magic, but most recently she says Mary J. Blige has paved the way for her.
“I didn’t want to be spittin’ rhymes. But Mary put those concepts together. She cleared the way, and now I’m following my own path.”
Her talents are also being called upon behind the scenes. Her peers are asking her to help them write songs, as she did for Jennifer Lopez and her “Ain’t It Funny Remix.”
Ashanti is also set to collaborate with Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias while she says, “A couple of people have been kicking some things in my ear about the lyrics, wanting me to write for them, which is an honor.”