GRAMMY-winning R&B singer/songwriter Ashanti recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Ashanti discussed why her new album, Braveheart, is her most vulnerable to date, the importance of her single "Scars" and the challenge of being the CEO of her own record label, among other topics.
"When you go through things that are really, really painful, obviously a scar is very symbolic [of that]," said Ashanti regarding "Scars." "It was really important for me to talk about that message because as women, and as men, when you're going through a tough time you need encouragement. You need to know there's light at the end of the tunnel."
Born and raised in New York, Ashanti burst onto the music scene in 2002 with her self-titled debut album. Ashanti rose to the top of the Billboard 200 on the strength of the hits "Baby," "Happy" and "Foolish," and garnered a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary R&B Album. She garnered five GRAMMY nominations for 2002, including Best New Artist and two nominations for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Always On Time" with Ja Rule and "What's Luv?" with Fat Joe. In 2003 Ashanti released Chapter II, which earned a nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The album peaked at No. 1 and featured the GRAMMY-nominated hits "Rain On Me" and "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)."
Following the release of 2004's Concrete Rose (No. 7) and 2008's The Declaration (No. 6), Ashanti founded her own record label, Written Entertainment. Released on March 4, Braveheart is her first release on the label and cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. The album features 13 tracks, including collaborations with GRAMMY winner Beenie Man on "First Real Love" and GRAMMY-nominated rapper Rick Ross on "I Got It."