Sunday, January 16


When fear and drive collide, it totals up to be a great motivator. Fear of unhealthy living keeps us on inconvenient diets and exercise plans; fear of poverty gets us out of bed to work and earn a living. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote of fear, “you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” and she is undeniably correct. It is only when one faces the fears surrounding a new venture that anyone can accomplish anything great. I have chosen to write about singer Ashanti because, not only I am an admirer musically, but I have been motivated by her drive towards success, even though it has led music listeners to criticize her as an incompetent singer stumbling into rejuvenated formulaic radio singles.
I’ve been following after Ashanti’s career ever since I was 12, when she made her debut back in 2002 with ashanti.jpg

“Foolish,” which seemingly dropped like a melodic atomic bomb, shattering album records way before her time. Along with her success, came great critique and general hate as many dubbed her as an insubstantial singer with little range, because while on some of her live performances, her voice sounds muffled, like she’s doing a poor recitative. But, in my defense as a supporter, I say not every singer has a great day for singing every single day; there is definitely much to learn to accommodate yourself to while singing live on stage. Ashanti may not have that big voice you’re use to, but she has a quality: her voice is sweet, soft, and light. As a first soprano (or in technical opera-esque terms, she is defined as a coloratura soprano), she is capable of hitting those high whistler notes with ease and control while maintaining a clear sound.
But, there’s more to Ashanti than just the good looks and pretty honey-suckled voice: she’s actually has a story of triumph that can relate to many of her young audiences out there who are currently struggling to break in the business. When Ashanti was 14, she was discovered by Hip-Hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, but due to negotiate a worthwhile contract, she eventually signed with Jive. There, the record executives wanted to mold the singer into a pop act. Because she didn’t like the image Jive wanted her to become, she turned the contract down and dived into four years of schoolwork. After graduation, at 18, Ashanti was offered the chance to go college (because of her athletic abilities) with full-blown scholarships at Hampton University and Princeton, but she turned it down to pursue her dream of music. She was propositioned with a contract with Noontime Records (a subsidiary of Epic Records), but due to structural changes, her contract was eliminated. She then returned home to Glen Cove, New York, to give her dream another shot. She started singing at open-mic clubs, and then caught the eye of hardcore Hip-Hop mogul, Irv Gotti. He offered her the dream version of a singer’s apprenticeship, to sing verses of some of his rapper’s work. Fast forward 9 years, 23 million records sold thus far, more than 10 top 40 Billboard entries, and 3 movies later, Ashanti is still at!
Although Ashanti may not be in front of the camera, she definitely stays busy with prior obligations and gigs. Some ask “what is she doing? She needs more songs out.” We must realized that this is a human being, not a mechanical bunny that just goes without stopping. I believe Ashanti has the right to disappear for some time, enjoy herself as she accomplished great goals at a tender age. As far as more singles being pushed, the industry has changed so abruptly: at one point in time, you could release a gazillion singles to keep the consumers happy, but with the recent economic meltdown and recovery, even artists are feeling the pinch. Budgets have been cut in half and in some cases, cut off. But, through the grace of God, Ashanti, who is like the phoenix has risen from the ashes and flown to new heights.
Despite the negativity that has plagued her, Ashanti remains graceful and focused on what’s most relative in her life: her family, friends and her career. Unlike many of her peers who are manufactured artist that have been corrupted by the hands of the industry, Ashanti is real: she’s intelligent and relatable. She’s inspired as a singer not only to search within myself to connect with the audience on a more intimate connection emotionally and lyrically, but she also has taught me to become more drive and enthused about my own dreams— the similarity is in the determination to get where you want to be. It is this ambition, this decision to stare down the fear of failure that has motivated me because of the belief in myself, through the inspirational music of Ashanti from her viewa on acceding past her own expectations. And for that, I live! This is my declaration of admiration for Ashanti…

SHOUTOUT TO Kahari Kyles For this great write up


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