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Ashanti Talks New Music and Nelly Breakup

Heartache and personal growth are two things to which everyone can relate. You can find plenty of both on “BraveHeart,” the new album from hip-hop and R&B songstress Ashanti.

“BraveHeart” is the 33-year-old Grammy winner’s first album in nearly six years. And as expected, the long-awaited 13-track opus features the singer tapping into her R&B roots and collaborating with the likes of Rick Ross and Beanie Man for the album’s two lead singles, “I Got It” and “First Real Love.”

During a recent interview Ashanti opened up on recording the album, how her defunct romance with the rapper Nelly inspired some of her writing process, and details on her rising acting career.

How would you describe the meaning behind the album’s title, “BraveHeart”?

There’s a few things about it. The title kind of speaks for itself, just being brave and having heart in everything that you do in life. I feel that this album is my most vulnerable, my bravest album that I’ve spoken the most about personal experiences. My last album came out in 2008 and here we are in 2014, and I’ve grown, obviously. The music industry has changed so much. And people have seen me go through so many things in the public, whether it’s my personal life or my career, and I feel like a lot of answers [are] in this album.

Were there any difficulties adjusting to today’s R&B scene, in comparison to your last project?

Not so much difficult to adapt, but more so being brave in sticking to my roots and sticking to what my core fans love me for, in addition to understanding that things evolve. And it’s good to be creative and it’s good to try new things. Not totally abandoning where you came from musically, but kind of enhancing. So it’s kind of like giving the best of both worlds. Like showing your growth and showing your progression, but not necessarily abandoning what people love you for.

How much of an impact did your public relationship with Nelly affect your writing process?

I definitely feel like my situation has played a huge role in the records and how I felt. As far as dropping a ‘hot 16’ [song verse], I might have recorded them but they didn’t make the album. [Laughs] There is a record that I have called “Scars” that is weird, because [it’s] talking about being scarred in a relationship, but it’s not a ballad. It’s a head nod record. So I think that was a great twist for me.


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