From The Grio — Fame is a fickle lover; just ask Ashanti. About a decade ago, she was the hottest artist in R&B.Her debut album Ashanti hit the number one spot out of the gate, going gold in its first week by selling 504,593, a Guinness Book of World Records feat (at the time) for most albums sold by a female artist in her debut.

The gravy train kept on rolling, as she won eight Billboard Awards, a Grammy and two American Music Awards. Her single “Foolish,” which has sold at least 7.2 million copies to date, hit number one on six Billboard charts simultaneously. She also became the first female artist to have three singles land in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, matching a feat first achieved by The Beatles.

To date, Ashanti has sold more than 15 million albums. In April, a decade to the month her debut album was released, she will unleash her fifth and latest album, Braveheart.

With a Busta Rhymes-assisted version of her latest single, “The Woman You Love,” steadily gaining airplay, Ashanti is hoping to make a return to the top of the pop stratosphere. But, despite Ashanti’s record-setting accomplishments, she’s never been particularly respected as an artist. Her early success was greatly fueled by her membership in the Murder Inc. family, led by producer Irv Gotti and rapper Ja Rule, during a time when they had the charts in a stranglehold.

Even as she rode high on the charts, there were loud rumblings that she could not actually sing or perform well. In fact, when it was announced that she would receive the Aretha Franklin Entertainer of the Year Award at the Lady of Soul Awards on the heels of her record-setting debut, controversy erupted, with thousands signing a petition protesting the honor. Many argued that Ashanti was nowhere in the neighborhood of receiving an award bearing the Queen of Soul’s name.

Ashanti’s brand survived, scoring more hit singles, including “Rain on Me,” as well as roles in the films like Coach Carter and Resident Evil: Extinction. Then, in the midst of Murder Inc.’s trials and tribulations, she began to fade into obscurity. In the latter part of the 2000s, her relevancy on blogs had more to do with an alleged love affair with rapper Nelly than with her music.

Last year, she started to reemerge with a single for the Hollywood film Dream House in September 2011, and even joined the likes of Michael Bolton and Philip Bailey on the David Foster & Friends Overseas tour a month later.

David Foster, if you recall, composed Earth, Wind & Fire’s “After the Love Is Gone,” Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire,” as well as Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” with his then-wife Linda Thompson from The Bodyguard. He actually produced the mammoth songs “I Will Always Love You,” and “Run to You.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • Rosey

    I really like her. Hope she comes back strong!

  • sandy pants

    Idk what problem have with her. I think she can sing and in my opinion, she sings better than most of singers out today. The art of knowing how to sing and write songs are slowly fading away and it’s being replace by having amazing beats and good hook.
    ashanti is an artist because she can sing and she is a good song writer, a lot of women can relate to the things she writes about. She is almost stunning.

  • I like her voice better live than post- production. They do weird stuff to her voice that makes it sound like an RnB version of Britney Spears.

  • Jasmine T.

    I must say that Ashanti is a very beautiful woman. However, generally speaking, I am tired of beautiful man & women in the music industry, that lack talent. If you are a singer, then you are required to know how to sing. I don’t understand why people give artist the benefit of the doubt. This is not a karaoke contest or a school talent show. ”Maybe he or she will do better next time” or ”She/he has improved.” You signed for a record deal, but do not know how to do the job? If you are a dancer, then why did you sign for a record deal, when you can easily become a back up dancer etc. & if you are good looking, why didn’t you sign for a modeling contract? If you are great at writing songs, why don’t you become a song writer? If you can only offer sex appeal, there are many ways to use it other than the music industry. That is why the music today has become garbage & no one raps or sings about anything anymore. It has become a thing of image & not actual talent or realness. The sad things is, people support this without demanding better. So you get products with pretty wrappings but nothing on the inside.