With today's release of Braveheart, Ashanti fans can finally stop holding their breath for the R&B songbird's fifth album. While pushing a release date back from late 2011 to early 2014 might indicate apprehension, the singer claims she's "super, over-the-top excited" about the LP, which comes six years after her last album, The Declaration.
"I love the body of work," she told the Breakfast Club radio show. "It's scary when you put your all into something and you're not really satisfied. [But] when you're confident about the music, that's all that matters. You could ride like, 'I'm proud of this, whichever way it goes.' The reaction to the album has been phenomenal, so I'm excited."
With over a decade in the biz now, Ashanti also revealed how she's become a better vocalist over her 13-year career. "In the beginning, a lot of times I'd go, 'No, I don't sound like that! That ain't really how it sounds!'" she said. "I learned a lot about in-ear [monitors], that you can't be moving around and have things sound good. Becoming more confident and perfecting your craft over time, that's what does it.... We didn't have Auto-Tune when I was making my records. I definitely have grown a whole lot."
While Braveheart has yet to produce a smash hit, we're sure fans were curious to find out who Ashanti's "Never Should Have" (below) single is about. With heartbreaking lyrics like, "From that moment, couldn't imagine / You ever hurting me or mistreating my love," many thought it was signaling the end of her on-again, off-again relationship with rapper Nelly.
"'Never Should Have' is a record that talks about me and him [when we] were going back and forth," she explained. "It's weird because when I wrote the song, it was talking about things that happened between us. When I was singing the record, me and him were actually Skype-ing. We were cool and talking about it. It's kind of weird how things came together…he loves that record, to be honest."
Here's to hoping the best for Braveheart. We missed you, Ashanti!