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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 9, 2002

It was 'Foolish' to have missed Ashanti's talent

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
Associated Press

R&B singer Ashanti has three top-10 hits on the Billboard charts, including the No. 1 tune "Foolish."

Associated Press

It seems as if everything Ashanti touches these days turns to gold — or platinum.

The 21-year-old R&B singer has a No. 1 hit song, "Foolish." She knocked Celine Dion from the top of the charts with her self-titled debut album, which has sold

1 million copies in less than a month. And she is the first artist since the Beatles to have her first three singles on the Billboard top 100 chart be in the top 10 simultaneously.

Ashanti also helped write the latest smash for J. Lo, the remix to "Ain't It Funny."

Yet not one but two major record companies let Ashanti slip through their fingers before she signed late last year with Murder Inc., which has racked up hit after hit thanks mainly to her and rapper Ja Rule.

Ashanti Douglas, a native of Glen Cove on New York's Long Island, has been singing since she was a child in local talent shows. She got her big break at age 14, when she was signed to Jive Records, home of teen-pop superstars.

But the music wasn't working, and after about a year, Ashanti and the label parted ways, she says. She wasn't discouraged. At 17, she signed with Sony's Epic Records.

It would take another two years before she found career success. Her persistence paid off in 2000. Ashanti was featured on Ja Rule's hit that fall, "Always On Time," and in his video. Soon, she was on another hit collaboration, with Fat Joe on "What's Love." With those hits rising on the charts, she was soon signed to Murder Inc.