Best Known For
Ashanti is best known for adding her R&B vocals to hit songs by popular rappers, including Fat Joe's "What's Luv" and Ja Rule's "Down 4 U."
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Ashanti was born on October 13, 1980, on Long Island, New York. After an introduction to show business in 1980s and '90s via appearances in television commercials and music videos, Ashanti made her recording debut as a featured artist on Big Pun's song "How We Roll" in 2001. The following year, she released a single of her own, "Foolish," from her self-titled debut album,
"Crazy how speaking to the right people helps you understand the right things. Always follow your gut; don't be blinded by the facades."
"Rivers of tear drops, these sharp pains in my heart, if this was the way that you love, you never should have loved me."
which dominated the charts and made a name for the R&B newcomer. Ashanti has since branched out into TV and film, having made appearances on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2003) and Army Wives (2013), and in films like John Tucker Must Die (2006).
Singer, songwriter and actress Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York, to Tina Douglas, a former dance instructor, and Kencaid Thomas Douglas, a former singer. Ashanti's mother, who enrolled her in various forms of dance classes, including tap, jazz and ballet, nurtured her gift of dance from a young age. But it wasn't until later that her singing talents were revealed.
At the age of 12, Ashanti was following the usual routine of doing chores while listening to music on her headphones and singing along, when her mother told her to turn off the music while she worked—not realizing that what she thought was the radio was actually her daughter singing. What followed was the revelation of a pop star. After realizing her daughter's talent, Ashanti's mother entered into talent shows, where the future singer placed first.
Ashanti went on to actively pursue a music career, but she got off to a slow start. She first signed to the well-known Jive Records, but decided not to release an album with the recording company because she wanted to write her own music. By age 17, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in an attempt to sign with another well-established record label, Epic. That goal would fall though, however.
It wasn't until Ashanti met with Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. that her singing career finally began to take off. Although the label was known for its hardcore rappers and aggressive music, the R&B singer offered a more soulful sound to the label without losing its edge—a musical style that was inspired by singer Mary J. Blige. Ashanti first debuted her vocals as a featured artist on the late rapper Big Pun's single "How We Roll," which made its way to the top of the Billboard charts in 2001. Thereafter, she signed with Murder Inc. and began work on her debut album.
Before releasing her debut album, Ashanti made her presence known by being featured on several songs by rappers signed to Murder, Inc. She collaborated with rapper Ja Rule—the first of many collaborations between the two artists—on the song "Always on Time," and later lent her voice to the chorus of Fat Joe's single "What's Luv." With the success of those singles, it wasn't long before Ashanti was ready to release a single of her own, introducing her solo vocals to the world with the song "Foolish." All three of these songs were hits, simultaneously making their way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the Top 10 slot, with two of the three singles holding the No.
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