MiddleChild: Ashanti! How are you doing?
Ashanti: I'm great!
MiddleChild: That's the business. Well you're ready to drop "The Declaration" on us. Tell me why you think this deserves to be the biggest album of your career.
Ashanti: Aha! Well I would love for this album to be huge because this time I've done just about everything by myself. I've learned so much. I executive produced everything. Behind the scenes...creative process and it's been a long long journey. I'm really excited. Alot of blood, sweat and tears went into it and I'm happy that the single is being received so well and I'm excited!
MiddleChild: Speaking of which. I love it!
Ashanti: Aww! Thank you.
MiddleChild: Definitely in my top three Ashanti records. Alongside "Movies" and "Rain On Me".
Ashanti: Ahhh! (laughs)
MiddleChild: So gotta let you know that one off top. Now you said that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into making this album. What was the hardest thing about it to you since you sort of stepped out of your box and it's like you're doing this all over again.
Ashanti: I would say just doing it on my own. It was very scary. I was like Linus with the blue blanket and my blue blanket is gone. It's such a fickle industry and it changes so much. It's completely different from the last time that I released an album. So learning so much and making all of these huge, critical decisions that in turn affect my life and my career. It's a lot to think about when you're by yourself.
MiddleChild: And you're doing your thing still. I see that you got your own umbrella or imprint....Written Entertainment.
Ashanti: Ha Ha Ha! Yea! You been doing your research!
MiddleChild: I do my research! So how is that coming along?
Ashanti: It's actually coming along very great. I have a couple of ideas of what I want to do. Obviously with me writing my own music, Written Entertainment very simply stated, (laughs) is something that I formed and I wanted to focus on my album and then kind of get into what I plan on doing.
MiddleChild: Okay. So any future Ashanti albums going to be released under Written Entertainment?
MiddleChild: That's what's up. Now you know I have to ask you if you have ever googled your name to see what the internet world is saying about you.
Ashanti: (laughs) You know what? I have a nineteen year old sister. She gets all of that done. (both laugh)
MiddleChild: She gets it done. Well let me tell you about another record of yours that I like. It's real addictive but it's not on the album. What's going on with "Switch"?
Ashanti: Ahhh! You know what? "Switch" was a buzz record. Where did I record that? I did a lot of it in Atlanta and I thought it was a fun record and that it was cute for the summer. And it is what it is...we threw it out there. We had some fun in the studio and I love shoes. So...(laughs)
MiddleChild: If ya budget don't have it, I ain't mad at Steve Maddens!
Ashanti: Ahaaaa! Check my footwork...
MiddleChild: That's my line right there. Now did you have a dance for that because I know a lot of us wanted a video for that just to see how you was gon have everyone steppin left and right.
Ashanti: You know what is so funny is like people were making their own. I saw a couple of things my sister was showing me on Youtube. People made up their own little routines and stuff. It was so cute.
MiddleChild: Now how do you personally feel that you have grown as an artist? You came out strong as an artist a few years ago. You were hitting us with single after single, collaboration after collaboration and then I think this is probably like the longest break that you have taken so how do you feel that you have grown as an artist?
Ashanti: Naturally just being very knowledgeable about the behind the scenes and the politics in the business. You know you have to grow up. You have to hurt to grow and I've definitely experienced a lot of hurt and learned a lot of important life lessons. And again it's about stepping out of that box and trying things. Sometimes you have to be pushed out of your comfort zone and try it. If you don't try it you'll never succeed and move away. You know?
MiddleChild: Right. Well I have a pretty decent amount of your fans that visit my messageboard and some of them wanted to know. Well the last time you were on 106th and Park they presented you with a fan book from Ashanti Daily. What was the most memorable part of that experience for you?
Ashanti: You know what? That was so crazy. Like I got very emotional because I was like "Oh my God!" Its one thing to have somebody love your record, but when someone goes out of there way to do something for you thats really gonna touch your heart and like they don't know me on a personal level. You know what I mean? They didn't grow up with me. They're not in my house every day but I can feel the sincerity in each and every one of them and it was a really great feeling and I was so so grateful and so thankful. I got their information and I told them I was going to do something special for all of them so I'll definitely keep you posted on that.
MiddleChild: So tell me what your favorite song from "The Declaration".
Ashanti: That's a hard question. It's a hard question. They change everyday. It so far through. I love the joint I did with Robin Thicke. I love the Rodney Jerkins joint. I love "Girlfriend"...uh... "Struggle". I don't know. I'm just happy with the album. (laughs)
MiddleChild: Well I'm definitely looking forward to it. One thing I did notice when I heard the lead single and then I just got streams for the "Body On Me" joint with Nelly and Akon and I also have the mixtape version of "In These Streets"...I do notice that you're a little more vocal this time around as well. Like you're trying new things vocally. Was that intentional on your part?
Ashanti: Definitely. Definitely. Again just going in and working with so many different people you never know what's going to get pulled out of you. And I think that was the experience that I was talking about. Again it's been four years, you're getting into the studio with people that you don't really know. I mean you're hoping for the best and people push different buttons and it's about experimenting and trying different things so I definitely made a conscious effort to definitely do that.
MiddleChild: I hear you. Well another question from your fans. I mean I know you're hitting the road, but you have international fans who want to see you to. So are you planning an international tour? How is that lining up because they want to see you overseas as well.
Ashanti: I definitely want to go overseas.I haven't been there in a minute. (laughs) It's always great going over there and it's different now. When I was going it was hardly any music artists going over there (laughs) and the crowds was like over the top. Again I haven't been there in awhile so I'm definitely looking forward to going overseas.
MiddleChild: Cool. Well thank you for your time Miss Ashanti and I'm messing with you hard this time around. Like I've always enjoyed most of your singles, but I don't know...it's like everything I've heard so far for this project has been incredible so I'm excited to see what you bring on June 3rd.
Ashanti: Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
MiddleChild: No problem at all! Thanks again for your time and good luck with this album.
Ashanti: Thank you so much.
MiddleChild: I know you're going to do some damage with it. So just have fun with it and handle your business.
Ashanti: Fo Sho! Thank you so much.
MiddleChild: Have a good day.
Ashanti: You too.
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