Magazine article Newsweek

She's Killing Us Softly: Pass the Courvoisier, Ashanti's Debut Lands at No. 1

Magazine article Newsweek

She's Killing Us Softly: Pass the Courvoisier, Ashanti's Debut Lands at No. 1

Article excerpt

Byline: N'Gai Croal

What do you get a girl who has the No. 1 album and the No. 1 single in the country? For 21-year-old Ashanti, who looks like a million bucks in her chic navy-blue tracksuit--thong peeking over the waistline, natch --and a single bling's worth of diamonds, a raisin bagel and cream cheese will have to do. "They won't even let me eat," she whispers mischievously, just out of earshot of her handlers on the set of a photo shoot for a teen magazine. "So I'm sneaking it." With just three hours to catch her plane, however, there's no time for the petite beauty to chow down. So she hugs the photographer and his assistants, and heads for the car that will take her to the airport, with bagel in hand and camera crew in tow. During the 50-minute ride to JFK, the most endearing thing about Ashanti is the wide-eyed enthusiasm over her new pop life. Crying fans? "I've never experienced something so sincere." Three top 10 singles? "Never in a million years would I have thought it would go down like this." Five hundred thousand copies of her debut sold in the first week? "Beyond my wildest dreams--I'm still shocked."

Ashanti isn't alone: the whole music industry is shocked. Last week her eponymous album stormed past debuts like Lauryn Hill's and Alicia Keys's to set a record for first-week sales by a solo female artist. (Ashanti had already become the first artist since the Beatles to have her first three singles simultaneously occupy the top 10. …

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