Ashanti was on Last Call with Carson Daly on Friday night, where she promoted her new book, ‘Foolish, Unfoolish.’ She talked about how she got into the business without a demo tape, the trouble she’s having finding a man, and she denied reports that she was dating Ja Rule. Ashanti insisted, “I mean, it’s so crazy. ‘Cause me and Aisha [Ja’s wife] are cool, I’m cool with his kids. And it’s nothing like that. You know what I mean?” Read on for a transcript.
Carson: You have just finished putting out this book. Tell me about
this. This is “foolish, unfoolish, reflections of love.”
Ashanti: Yeah. On love.
Carson: What is this book of what, poetry?
Ashanti: Yeah, it’s a book of poetry, and it has like reflections and
kind of reasons and influences that made me write the kind of poetry that
I’ve written in the book. And it has like certain experiences that I’ve
gone through in my life that kind of influenced the records that I wrote
on the album. So like the first time I got a hickey or —
Carson: Tell me about the first time you got a hickey.
[ Laughter ] What page is that on? Oh, it’s right here. First time I
got a hickey. Eighth grade! What? No, I’m kidding. No it’s not in here.
Would you read something for us, just give us an idea. Would you mind?
It’s valentine’s day.
Ashanti: Of course, of course.
Carson: Figured it might be some thing kind of romantic for people at
Ashanti: A little somethin’ somethin’ here.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Carson: Could we dim the lights a little bit? Perfect.
Ashanti: Get a little moody in here. All right, this is a poem that’s
called “imagine.” I’ll just read a little snippet. Every morning I am thanking
my stars, feel so lucky having you in my arms. Wouldn’t be the same without
you, babe. There’s not a thing about you I would change. I’m incomplete
when you’re far away. And when you’re here, you make me whole again. At
first, I really didn’t trust it or believe it. I found someone who’ll make
me say this and mean it. Couldn’t imane life without you. I want to wrap
my arms around you. You’re like a miracle in the month of may. I just want
to kiss your face.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Carson: Who was that about? Is it about someone, is everything in here
about something or somebody?
Ashanti: Honestly, yeah.
Carson: Right. You don’t want to say who it is. Why isn’t that a song?
Why is it in this book, how do you decide that?
Ashanti: To be honest, some of the poems are records that really just
didn’t make the album. But, I mean, a lot of it is just, you know, how
I felt at that time. And what happened in the book — the way the book
is structured, like, after that poem, it’s a reason why I wrote the poem.
You know what I mean? So it kind of shows, okay, what influenced me. What
real experience influenced me to write something like that.
Carson: You gotta read this one. This one’s my favorite. It’s called
[ Laughter ] I’m not kidding.
Ashanti: Oh, gosh.
Carson: Dim the lights again. Read slow. This is “three-way” by ashanti.
Ashanti: You are crazy.
Carson: From the book, “foolish, unfoolish.”
Ashanti: There’s been something on my mind. I want to let it out today.
I heard that you’ve been conversating with this girl from around my way.
Now I’m not jumping to conclusions, I just want to know the deal. Yeah,
I trust you, but I want to know if you can keep it real.
Carson: That’s right. And can we all hook up together?
[ Laughter ] You know, a little three-way? Read the reason for that
poem, right? That was about — you had a guy at the time, but you were
talking about this other chick in the neighborhood. And you kind of feeling
Ashanti: No! Never!
[ Cheers and applause ] Three-way.
Ashanti: Never, never, ever, no!
Carson: Isn’t that what it’s about?
Carson: Clearly, that’s what it’s about.
Ashanti: Not at all, not at all. Not it all. This is about — I was
— okay, this girl, I heard —
[ Laughter ] Go ahead.
Ashanti: All right, it’s about this guy that apparently was cheating
on me. And it’s a girl running her mouth about it. So I’ve been hearing
that them two was messing around, so I decided to call her and say — ask
her what’s going on. And have him on the line, so we could find out who
was telling the truth and who was lying.
Carson: Did that happen to you?
Ashanti: I ain’t telling.
Carson: Well, it did, right? I mean, it must have.
Ashanti: Kinda sorta.
Carson: What happened? Who was lying? Can you tell us the end result?
Ashanti: Um, I’m single.
[ Laughter ]
Carson: Oh, really? How come you are single, do you mind me asking?
You don’t have to get broad, just keep it —
Ashanti: Honestly, the real, the honest truth is just in this business
there’s a lot that the significant other has to deal with. You know, me,
I’m around guys 24/7, the whole murder inc. I’m never at home. I’m in a
different state every single day. When you don’t see that person, and it’s
kind of a trust issue.
Carson: There’s also other guys in the business that can kind of get
Ashanti: Exactly. But see, I don’t know, I never get a chance to really
just get to know somebody. ‘Cause I’m ain’t the type of girl that, you
know — see you in one state and the next state it’s a different guy. It’s
not like that. So I don’t really have the time to sit and just, ah, you
know, chill out.
Carson: Everybody thinks that you and ja are together.
Ashanti: Yeah, and that’s the other thing. I mean, it’s so crazy. ‘Cause
me and Aisha are cool, I’m cool with his kids. And it’s nothing like that.
You know what I mean?
Carson: It’s just ignorant people in the media, they see you guys, ’cause
you have so many songs together.
Carson: Did you ever mean to do that many songs, or was it because “always
on time” was just big, and you saw, “this is something special here. Let’s
do another one”?
Ashanti: You know what it is? With irv and ja, it’s all about hit music,
you know what I mean? So when we’re in the studio and collectively together,
we’re all coming up with ideas and just coming up with creativity. It’s
all about what’s gonna sell and what’s gonna be hot and what the people
are going to relate to. You know what I mean? So when we in there, we’re
“yo, this sounds hot. Get sean on the hook, let ja do his verse.” You know
what I mean? And it’s all about the creativity. So it’s not necessarily
pat and down, like, “okay, we’ll definitely have to do a song this year
together, you know?
Carson: And nas now. Come on. I got some time, right? I gotta talk about
your acting, ’cause I know you said you did “buffy the vampire slayer.”
That’s very cool. Are you enjoying that?
Ashanti: Yeah! It was very educational. It was more than I anticipated
for stars to work.
[ Laughter ]
Carson: Working with the sword there, yeah.
Ashanti: Oh, god.
Carson: Can I show the clip? I want to ’cause I think it’s ol. “American
dreams,” you are on a show. Here on nbc.
Ashanti: Oh, my god!
Carson: And this is cool because you portrayed dionne warwick. Why do
you say that? You didn’t like it?
Ashanti: Did you see my hair?
[ Laughter ] Oh, my gosh. Did you see my lipstick?
Carson: Let’s roll the clip. Here’s ashanti on nbc’s “american dreams.”
Ashanti: You’re inrouble, carson. You’re in trouble.
Carson: I think it’s good.
If you see me walking down the street and I start to cry each time we
walk on by walk on by
Ashanti: Pretty quiet today.
Ashanti: I guess I just have a lot on my mind.
Ashanti: Like what we’re about to do?
In private cause eache I see you I break down and cry
Ashanti: Like your best prize, huh?
Walk on by don’t stop walk on by
[ Cheers ]
Carson: The longest clip in late night history.
[ Cheers and applause ] That’s ashanti portraying dionne warwick in
“american dreams.” And it’s coowhen the camera plans past the black and
the white. They were rolling in real footage. So you had to match dion.
Ashanti: Yeah, it was actual black and white.
Carson: And sing like her, I guess. You did well.
Ashanti: Yeah. I went into the studio and we recorded it that day. And
then after a couple of hours, we did the show.
Carson: I’m going to let you go in just a second. But I want to ask
you when you were getting started, ’cause I know there’s a lot of young
people who watch this, they’re big fans and they want to see how they can
break into it. For you, you didn’t even really have too much of a demo
Carson: What did you do? You went into buildings and start singing.
Ashanti: Yeah, I had to do the a cappella way. You know, the all-the-way
real. When, you know, you’re sittin’ — you’re in the room with all the
a & rs and they’re sitting at a big long wooden table and they’re staring
at you. And they’re like, “okay, why should we sign you?”
Carson: And did you have the courage to just start singing?
Ashanti: I had to. I had to.
Carson: Why didn’t have you the demo tape?
Ashanti: The money. You know, it’s like $3,000 an hour to go in and
record. Have you to pay producers, you have to pay parking in the city.
Like, it’s crazy. It’s a lot of money.
Carson: So you would get the meeting and you would just go in and sing
in front of them.
Carson: What would you sing? Was it earlier music? Was it your own original
Ashanti: I used to sing this little mary J. Blige snippet all the time.
Carson: Yeah, will you sing me a little of it?
Ashanti: A little bit?
Ashanti: Should I sing him a little bit?
[ Cheers and applause ]
Carson: Put yourself back when you were young and you were in the business
and you were scared and you just had to let it all go. You know, I want
to hear what it sounded like.
Ashanti: Oh, god. I used to do a little snippet of “sweet thing.”
You are my heat you are my fire
you make me weak with your desire
love me child my whole night long
it’s be right or be wrong I just want to satisfy you ’cause you’re not
mine I can’t deny it
don’t you hear me talking, baby
love me now or I’ll go crazy
[ Cheers and applause ]
Carson: What?! Where do I sign? Excellent. Thank you. Ashanti, everybody.
Check out the book. “Foolish, unfoolish.” We’ll be right back with the
stand-up comedy when we get back right after this. Mr. Burr.