Ashanti is hard at work on a new album, and watch out world ― because she says “some feelings are going to be a little hurt” by what she’s writing.
The Grammy-winning singer didn’t specify who or what she’s writing about, but if her previous songs are any indication, the lyrics will come straight from the heart.
“Right now we have so many really cool records,” Ashanti told HuffPost at Build Series, adding, “I know I have some very deep records. I have some records that people are going to be like, ‘Did she really just say that?’ Some big ballads. Some deep records that people are going to be like, ‘wow.’”
Ashanti has already unveiled one new track, called “Say Less,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
“I think nowadays we have to make it very clear that if it’s B.S., say less,” Ashanti said of the new song. “I’m a New Yorker. It’s a very New York term. And I think it’s just about being bold and getting to the point. I don’t have time for you to waste it.”
The new album, due out in 2018, follows 2014’s “BraveHeart” and comes 15 years after Ashanti’s self-titled debut and the hit “Foolish,” which catapulted her to fame.
The music industry landscape is a lot different these days for the R&B pop songstress. Ashanti’s upcoming studio album will be released on her own label, Written Entertainment. After spending years at major record labels, Ashanti said she felt like it was time to control her “destiny.” As CEO of the label, she owns the recording masters and controls the publishing, giving her flexibility and financial independence.
I’m “able to broaden the horizons and not just do music — to be able to put my records in television and film without having to pay all these astronomical prices and have my deal be direct with iTunes and cutting out the middle people,” she said. “The labels, they take their percentages. I feel like if I’m going to do the work, why do I owe you a percentage? So I feel like it’s really really important to have that ownership.”
The Glen Cove, New York, native, who joined the business at a young age, recalled making “a lot of expensive mistakes” at the start of her career.
“I just learned so much about myself, the politics, the game, the promoters. A lot of people at these companies they look at you as a commodity as opposed to a person,” she said. “So when they see you, it’s like ‘how much money can you make me?’ It’s like an object.”
As her own boss, Ashanti also can plot her own schedule, including when she tours. While on the road this year with Ja Rule, Ashanti has performed “Say Less,” along with her earlier hits, including the Ja Rule collaboration “Always On Time.”
“The really cool thing about me and Ja is we could literally not see each other for like three weeks, four weeks — not speak to each other on the phone,” she said. “Even sometimes the day of the show we won’t even see each other until they’re handing us our mics, but when we’re onstage it feels like we’ve been hanging out all day … That chemistry is organic. It’s so real.”
The chemistry is just part of the magic Ashanti hopes to show fans in concert. In the end, she wants to stay relevant by creating music that will stick around for a long time.
“Being able to have longevity, especially in an industry like this, where you’re here today, gone tomorrow — forgotten,” she said. “It’s really important to have something that will last.”
Watch the full Build Series interview below.