Ashanti Douglas was born in 1980 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York into a musical family. Her father used to sing and her mother is a dance instructor. Ashanti began to sing in a gospel choir at the age of 6. As she grew, her musical talent developed and with it, appearances followed. She danced in a show at Carnegie Hall and in the Disney television musical Polly. It was in high school that she honed her songwriting skills and harnessed her talent for creating a story that people could relate to, song after song.
Ashanti first announced her presence with the Big Pun hit "How We Roll" in 2001. Her sound was infectious and caught the attention of record producers. Irv Gotti, the polished producer with Murder Inc. Records, was credited with her discovery and what was supposed to be an initial collaboration, turned into a record contract. The demure and feminine Ashanti was hesitant at first to sign with a label named Murder Inc., but she filled a void in the company stable of talent. What was a pure rap label became stronger with the arrival of the R&B singer. The marketing team at Murder Inc. went to work to promote Ashanti in time for her debut release.
She was featured on the Ja Rule smash "Always On Time," receiving major airwave and video exposure. In addition, her voice was loaned out to reigning Don of the Terror Squad, Fat Joe, for his big hit "What's Luv?". Ashanti stole both songs away from the thug rappers and created such a buzz that her self-titled debut album was released early, on April 9, 2002. The first single "Foolish" ripped apart the charts and the video was on heavy rotation as well.
As a result, Ashanti sold over half a million units the first week and debuted in the top spot, a major achievement for a relative unknown with almost no expectations on her shoulders.
In the future, you can expect to hear and see much more of this young talent. Ashanti has served notice that she is moving on up.