Ashanti thinks social media can be a blessing and a curse for artists, but thinks it probably would have propelled her to bigger stardom when she broke out in the early 2000s.
"We didn't have Instagram in 2002, so had I posted my first album with the power of the internet to reach millions at that time, it probably would've been a bigger and better thing," the Grammy-winning singer told TooFab in an interview.
"Don't get me wrong, I don't want to take away from the history that we made and all the amazing things that have come from my music and my journey -- it's been a blessing -- but had we had the tools back then that we have now, it could've been even better."
Ashanti added that the immediacy and vast exposure provided by today's age of social media can be "both a gift and a curse, as is everything."
"I think it's awesome that with the press of a button, you can reach millions of people to let them know that you have music out or let them know that things are going on for people to get involved with you as an artist in your career and to take them along for your journey," she said. "But the bad thing is that you have millions of people that are judging and criticizing, and a rumor can get started the same way."
Not only is the "Foolish" singer gearing up to embark on a three-month tour with Ja Rule, she's also busy making music of her own, and her latest collaboration with Ty Dolla $ign on "Say Less" is only the tip of the iceberg.
Ashanti chatted with TooFab to spill the tea on everything from her upcoming album to landing a gig as as an unofficial spokesmodel for Diddy and French Montana's new French Vanilla Ciroc.
Read the rest of TooFab's Q&A with the Grammy winner below.
You're reuniting with Ja Rule -- that's so exciting! What's the fan reaction been like? I'm sure people are stoked you two are getting back together.
It's been awesome. It's been surreal. This is probably, I want to say, our third or fourth tour together, and the fan reaction feels like I'm back in 2002. The energy is amazing. Fans still show up for meet-and-greets, showing us tattoos of my face on their arm, like it's really, really crazy. It's an amazing feeling to have so much love.
Tell me about your new song, "Say Less," with Ty Dolla $ign. How did that collab come about?
We both were putting out there that we wanted to work with each other, and my brother -- he actually is A&R on my project -- he kind of just put us in a group text. It happened really quick. So we were texting back and forth for a little while, figuring out our schedules, and we met up in L.A. and made it happen. We did like two or three records in the session that we had. There was a lot of chemistry and he was super cool.
You're an unofficial spokesperson for Diddy and French Montana's new French Vanilla Ciroc vodka. How did that even come about? What's it like working with them?
The synergy of me, Puff and French kind of just happened, but the buzz has been undeniable. [Puff and I] We were both in Vegas and I went to one of his parties and we were just kickin' it, and he pulled me to the side and he's like, 'Yo, I need you in my commercial. I need that bikini shot [from 'Say Less'] in my commercial.' I thought he was just joking, but he was serious! He texted me the next day, and our people got in contact with each other and made it happen. It's funny because we have history. I sat in Puff's office when I was 14 years old, so it's crazy how things come full circle.
You executive produce and star in the film "Stuck" and you are CEO of your own record label, Written Entertainment. As someone who started out as a young woman in the entertainment industry, what kind of power abuse have you witnessed? Do you see less of it now that you're top dog?
I don't think things have changed perception-wise unless you force it. As a woman, you just have to demand and command your respect. Sometimes you're still looked at like, 'Oh, she's just a girl,' but sometimes when you have that power hat on and you're making moves and you're a boss, you demand and command respect. I think women nowadays are taking more action, like myself. Just being able to say that I own my own record label, it's very important, and it garnishes a different kind of respect.