With No One To Say 'Awww Baby' To, Ashanti Turns To Her Friends

Singer finds song inspiration all around her as work wraps up on Chapter 2.

MIAMI — Like many successful singer/songwriters, Ashanti didn't have to look too far while penning hits for her multiplatinum debut. Inspiration for songs like "Foolish" and "Baby" came from the Long Island native's relationships.

But now that Ashanti has been single for quite some time, just what did she use as a muse while writing lyrics for her second album, Chapter 2? "Honestly, just living life, and life experience," she said on Saturday in Miami, where she was in the studio with Irv Gotti, murdering ink by penning some last-minute additions for Chapter 2.

"Although I'm single, it doesn't mean that I don't ... you know," she said before breaking into a huge laugh. "I'm officially single, but it's just things you go through. I go out to eat with people. You experience certain things when you go to whatever event you go to. And still I have people that's surrounding me all day, every day. I witness certain things they go through, so I can easily write about it. If it's something I didn't necessarily go through, I listen to my friends or family or my guys; I listen to their stories when they come in [the studio]. They don't think I'm awake, [but] I listen to what they go through on South Beach."

One of the first songs Ashanti wrote for her new album was the leadoff single, "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)."

"I was like, 'OD on it. Say ["awww baby"] every four bars,' " said Gotti, who produced Chapter 2 with Chink Santana. Ashanti said she felt like maybe she was repeating it too much, but then Gotti suggested the singer could call the track "Awww Baby."

"I liked it because it reminded me of 'Foolish,' " Gotti said. "The format was: hook first, then eight bars, then a very catchy hook. ['Foolish'] was about relationships. This song is about relationships. It's about her — she likes a guy and the guy ain't totally all hers. A lot of girls could relate 'cause they know the guy they're sitting next to, they know that piece of sh-- ain't totally all theirs."

The video for "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)" is due to air in a couple of weeks, and Chapter 2 drops July 1. Later on that month, Ashanti will hit the road with Mariah Carey for the U.S. run of Carey's Charmbracelet tour.

"I still don't understand how the whole thing unraveled," Ashanti said of how she was chosen for the outing. "My mom was hemmed up for two days straight working everything out with the whole tour. I'm just blessed and happy that it's a done deal. I'm definitely looking forward to it. I think that's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to even be affiliated with Mariah Carey. She's phenomenal."