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Ashanti Page Six Magazine Cover Story

Ashanti is on the cover of this week's Page Six Magazine, published by the New York Post. She discusses her music career triumphs and the ups and downs she faced in the industry.

 

Ashanti Douglas is a girl who takes her sweet time—but luckily, she’s worth the wait. First, the Grammy winner’s fans had to go without her catchy R&B hooks for three-and-a-half years, thanks to the head of her record label’s being indicted on money-laundering charges. Now she’s more than an hour late for this interview. But when she arrives at the ­Universal ­Music Group offices in Midtown in a rainbow-­colored maxi sundress from Scoop, baseball-size gold earrings and white Louis Vuitton flip-flops, she bursts into apologies—and excuses. “I wasn’t being a diva, I swearrrrrrr,” she says with a Long Island drawl. “I’ve been stuck on the L.I.E. for over an hour. And believe me, ­sitting in traffic ain’t cute.”

The 27-year-old singer—who ­refers to her birthplace of Long Island as “Strong Island, because there are no weak people from there” and who was recently named a tourism ambassador for the area—may have left solidly middle-class Glen Cove for a posher ­section (which she doesn’t want to disclose for privacy reasons), but she couldn’t leave the island altogether. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Manhattan’s energy, but at the end of a long, hard day, I like getting the heck out of the city,” Ashanti says. “There’s something about the calmness of Long Island and being close to the beach that helps to keep me sane.”

She’s needed all the serenity she can get for the past few years since, as Ashanti herself admits, her life has been completely out of her control. The singer, who’s sold more than 23 million albums worldwide, didn’t decide to take a career-stalling break. Rather, a musical hiatus was thrust upon her when Irv Gotti, CEO of her record label Murder Inc., was indicted in January 2005 and accused of laundering more than $1 million in drug proceeds through the company. The FBI shut down the label, and Ashanti’s career (along with that of artists such as Ja Rule) came to a standstill while the investigation was underway.

“That was the worst part—not having a say as to what’s happening in my own life,” she says now. “To a singer, that’s like telling them they’re dying. It was tragic.” Never one to quit, though, Ashanti used her forced downtime to beef up her acting résumé, which now includes 2005’s The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (Kelly Ripa has told Ashanti her kids are huge fans of her and the movie), 2006’s John Tucker Must Die and 2007’s Resident Evil: Extinction.

All the while, new female stars like Fergie and Rihanna were taking her place on the pop charts. “I’m not gonna play—it was hard,” she admits. “I’d hear a song on the radio and wish mine was next. But I respect a lot of the artists who’ve come along since I was out, especially Rihanna. She’s smart and she’s worked the business instead of having the business work her.”

Ashanti speaks from experience. She knows what it’s like to be taken advantage of in the music industry. Believe it or not, she didn’t even have a record contract until after her first video, “Foolish,” came out and she had already appeared on tracks for rappers like Big Pun. After she was signed by Murder Inc. in 2001, she went on to make history as the first woman to have three top 10 singles (“Foolish,” “Always on Time” and “What’s Luv”) in the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, a feat previously accomplished only by the Beatles. “Trust me, if I knew then what I know now, that contract would have had a lot more zeros behind the dollar sign,” she says. “I was not an overnight success like people think.”

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To read the full story, visit our forum.

published on August 4 th, 2008

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IGN Review Of Lloyd's New Album 'Lessons In Love'

Lloyd - Lessons In Love Reviev

A sultry Lloyd nears R&B perfection, combining mature songwriting, experienced beat selection, and seduction into one of the year's most complete and accomplished R&B efforts.

The South's young crooner, Lloyd, is back with his third studio album, Lessons in Love, offering the first major male R&B album contender of the year. An older, post-afro Lloyd masterfully laces his voice over well selected production and once again showcases his sensuous side, lyrically seducing not only his numerous female fans but, seemingly, the very beats themselves.

Lessons opens up with Lloyd letting everyone know that "class is in session" on "Sex Education", a track which shares the album's original title and is engulfed in a characteristically Lloyd sound with Lloyd taking it to the higher registers of his voice at times with no hesitance. A solid, synthesizer heavy instrumental by Big Reese & Jasper help Lloyd's voice and lyrics make "Sex Education" a strong introduction to Lessons.

Three solid tracks later comes "Love Making 101." A brilliant guitar melody strums away thanks to Eric Hudson as Lloyd tells the girls to "bring that freak out." Once again, Lloyd's lyrics shine and his voice leaves little else to be desired. A guitar solo at the end of the song helps bring this song to a finish just as strong as its beginning. The only question here is where is the unplugged version to this song? This track surely lends itself to one.

It only makes sense after "Love Making 101" that Lloyd would want to test on the material that was covered and he shares his plan to do this on "Party All Over Your Body": "I'm kissing on your stomach, feelin' on your booty, I wanna have a party all over your body." While the album's sensuality peaks with this track, the musicality is not lost on the remainder of the album which features "Touched By An Angel", "I'm Wit It", and "Heart Attack."

Lloyd displays personal and musical growth on Lessons In Love without losing the vocal and lyrical qualities that have come to define him and become the cornerstone of his tracks. In a world full of similar sounding music, Lloyd offers his self-developed formula which captures the essence of what R&B once was and needs to be once again: fun, youthful, and seductive. Lloyd offers Lessons and although he may have been talking to the ladies when he said "class was in session" at the beginning of the album, other R&B hopefuls and have-beens need to pay attention and take notes as well. One can only hope that the next lessons aren't too far in the future.

To read the full review, visit our forum.

published on August 4 th, 2008

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Ashanti Performing 'Good Good' At Six Flags In New Jersey

Ashanti performed at Six Flags July 31st, in New Jersey. Check out the clip below of her performing "Good Good" with an "A Milli" and "Grillz" melody.

 

published on August 4 th, 2008

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Lloyd Lessons In Love Street Interview Part One & Thanks To The Fans

LLoyd sent over a video thanking his fans for your input and helping to choose his album title. His new album, Lessons In Love is out on August 5th.

Make sure to check out  Part One of the 'Lessons In Love' street interviews. Lloyd spoke to random people in various cities about  relationships and love.

Check out the videos below.

 

published on August 4 th, 2008

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Ashanti Misses Murder Inc Days, Talks IDeclareMe.com

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Ashanti Douglas has earned her industry stripes. From internal label quarrels, her dealings with the rumor mill, or disappointing album sales, Ashanti has endured it all. Regardless, Murder Inc’s former first lady has emerged from her industry strife bearing nothing but an upbeat persona and the attitude of a champion. BET.Com caught up with Ashanti to discuss her long haul from point A to point B, her positive memories of Murder Inc and her new website, IDeclareMe.Com

Whether you were a fan of Murder Inc or not, you knew their track record; Grammy’s, #1 album’s, Top 10 singles, you name it, they’ve accomplished it. And of course, with Ashanti riding shotgun for a majority of their musical joyride, life couldn’t have been better for the Long Island native.” We had a lot fun man. I can honestly say, some of the best times of my life and career were shared with Murder Inc and it was a lot of love. We created a lot of great music and broke history” Ashanti beamed of her past experiences with Murder Inc. But, as we all know, good things always come to an end, “I definitely say, I miss some of those days, but you know some relationships run its course.”

Above and beyond her past troubles, Ashanti is focused on the promotion of her new single, “Good Good”, which hails from her fourth solo offering, The Declaration. Amidst her boss’s legal woes and her label mates’ public feud with popular rap trio, G-Unit, Ashanti’s poise was slightly rattled, but not destroyed. Was it tough for the R&B Princess? According to Ms. Douglas, yea, it was, “It was very tough. Just handling everything on my own and wearing so much on my shoulders, it kind of felt like an uphill battle, but it made me a stronger person at the end of the day”

With her new surge of energy, Ashanti is ready to share her trials and tribulations with the World Wide Web as she presses on with IDeclareMe.Com, a new website slated for males and females to present their obstacles and what it took to overcome them. Of course, the site’s initiator, Ashanti, will be front and center detailing her troubles as well. “IDeclareMe.Com is a wonderful platform that enables people to get on the site and express what they’ve gone through in life” Ashanti explained. “Whether it’s getting out an abusive relationship or getting your G.E.D, it’s just basically a lane for people to express how they’ve overcome specific obstacles and be proud about it. I’m definitely going to be blogging back very soon about my own obstacles because we all have them and it’s the best thing to talk about them and how you overcame those issues.”

Though The Declaration is still fresh in the minds of her core demographic, Ashanti’s work ethic has already ignited her to get an early start on the next body of work. “I’m already you know [laughs]. I’m already in the lab scheduling with the next project, so definitely, I’m just working hard. Gotta work!

The Declaration is in stores now. 

published on August 4 th, 2008

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Ashanti Named Tourism Ambassador Of Long Island

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The R&B singer was introduced Tuesday at a news conference as one of nine ambassadors who will promote tourism in Nassau County on Long Island.

County Executive Thomas Suozzi placed an orange blazer with a tourism patch over her white dress at the event at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, where 16 tourists were offered an all-expenses-paid tour of Nassau. Ashanti sang at Suozzi's two mayoral inaugurals in her native Glen Cove. She also performed at his executive inaugural.

Ashanti says it's "amazing" to be asked to "give something back to the community." The singer recently released her fourth studio album, "The Declaration."

Source: USToday.com

published on August 4 th, 2008

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Lloyd Performing At The Down South Takeover In Atlanta

Below is a video of Lloyd performing at The Down South Takeover Concert at the Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta on July 19th.

 

published on August 4 th, 2008

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New Track From Ja Rule - Pushing It Ft. Robin Thicke

Listen to this new track from Ja Rule feat. soul singer Robin Thicke called 'Pushing It' below.

Leave your thoughts on the track in our forum.

 

 

published on July 28 th, 2008

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Real Talk NY Sits Down With Lloyd

Check out a new vid of Lloyd discussing his latest album 'Lessons In Love' among other things with Real Talk NY


published on July 27 th, 2008

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Ashanti 'Body On Me' Music Video

You can watch Ashanti's new video for 'Body On Me' feat. Nelly & Akon. The track is featured on Ashanti's latest album 'The Declaration' which is in stores now.


published on July 20 th, 2008

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