Ashanti's Photo Diary

After four years, Ashanti is back with a new attitude and new album, The Declaration, which she calls her best work to date. "I've definitely grown and learned so much, musically, vocally and lyrically and you can hear that growth with this album," she says.
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 27, 2008

1 of 10 Courtesy of Universal Motown Records

After four years, Ashanti is back with a new attitude and new album, The Declaration, which she calls her best work to date.

“I’ve definitely grown and learned so much, musically, vocally and lyrically and you can hear that growth with this album,” she says.

Listen to the first single “The Way That I Love You” from Ashanti’s new album The Declaration.

2 of 10 Courtesy of Universal Motown Records

On her new album The Declaration, Ashanti shares you have to hurt to grow.

“It makes you such a stronger person,” she said. “I was what they call very spoiled and used to getting things my way all the time. I learned and accepted the fact that growing up is so crucial and essential in life.”

3 of 10 Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com

Diddy and Ashanti beam at a LIFEBeat event in New York. Ashanti admits the music business has made her develop a thicker skin.

“You can’t take anything personal,” said Ashanti. “It’s a business at the end of the day so you have to differentiate.”

Listen to the first single “The Way That I Love You” from Ashanti’s new album The Declaration.

4 of 10 Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com

Ashanti and rappers Nelly and Kanye West party in Hollywood. Although Nelly and Ashanti have been deemed one of hip-hop’s power couples she doesn’t place a title on their relationship, choosing to describe the rappers as a “really good friend.”

5 of 10 Stephen Knight

Ashanti rocks the stage at R&B Live in New York with her latest hit, “The Way That I Love You.” which describes a lover scorned.

“I want people to feel the passion of getting your heart broken whether you’re a guy or a female,” she said. “We all get hurt at some point.”

6 of 10 Frank Trapper/Corbis

In the early 2000s, Ashanti and rapper Ja Rule filled the summer airwaves with catchy hits like “Always On Time” and “Happy.” After a break from the limelight, they are both preparing for a return.

“Ja has been busy working on his album,” she said. “We all collectively have to get on the grind to get it back poppin’.”

7 of 10 Steve Azzara/Corbis

Ashanti wins her first Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album in 2003.

“I’m so blessed, thankful and content that I’ve been fortunate enough to have the success that I’ve had,” she said. “But I’m still a competitor at heart. You always want to do better.”

8 of 10 Fred Prouser/Reuters/Corbis

Ashanti and Smokey Robinson hug after serenading Soul Train’s Don Cornelius at the 2005 TV Land Awards.

9 of 10 Reuters/Corbis

Ashanti gets into the groove while performing “Do I Do” with the legendary Stevie Wonder during the finale of the 2003 “VH1 Divas Duets” concert.

10 of 10 Tracy Bennett/Paramount Pictures/Corbis

Ashanti’s character contemplates teenage pregnancy with co-star and on-screen beau Rob Brown during a scene in the 2004 film, Coach Carter, which starred Samuel L. Jackson.

She reveals that she definitely wants to act more in the future. “I’ve been out in L.A. working on a few projects so I have my fingers crossed.”

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