Grammy Award-winning singer-actress Ashanti, a Glen Cove native, has wrested control of the original audio masters for her 3X platinum-selling 2002 eponymous debut album and will reissue it in remastered format.
"It's so surreal," the R&B star, 40, born Ashanti Douglas, said Tuesday on the syndicated daytime talk show "Tamron Hall," seen locally on WABC/7. "I have an amazing legal team," she said, crediting the rare success of an artist battling old and often unbalanced record-company contracts in order to obtain the rights to her work and the physical media on which it was recorded. "The fact that I'll be able to rerecord my first album and put everything together and — "
"Wait, that's the big announcement!" interjected host Hall. "I was going to build up to that! … She's recording the album now as an independent artist!"
From 2002 to 2008, Ashanti released five albums on the label Murder Inc., aka The Inc. In 2014 she released her most recent, "Braveheart," on the independent label eOne. In addition to her debut, her albums "Chapter II" (2003) and "Concrete Rose" (2004) also went platinum. Her recent single with DaBaby, "Nasty," went gold in April.
Proudly saying she was "just a young girl from Long Island" when she released her debut album, for which she wrote all the songs, Ashanti recalled, "I used to live in the basement of my house — I wanted to feel like I had my own apartment. So I used to be downstairs in my own section, and I would put on the Cartoon Network on mute and I would just write. And it sounds so crazy, but I would be … having cartoons on, playing the beat and then just writing. It made me feel comfortable. It allowed me to kind of get into my zone."
Calling that "one scenario," she also said "I would be in the city, at the … Murder Inc. studio, and I would be the only female and there would be guys in there rolling dice and doing things that guys do and throwing money on the table and there was a lot of stuff in the air," making a gesture suggesting marijuana, "and I would be in the corner … just writing in my pad."