In between her two new acting projects, Ashanti has been working on her music and has already recorded three songs for her next album.
Though she won't reveal who's producing, she said there'll be a host of new talent working on the record, which will be lyrically deeper than her 2002 self-titled debut and last year's follow-up, Chapter II. "It's a new sound, a new flavor," she said. "I definitely want to touch on more topics that I didn't touch on with the first and the second record. It's a wonderful thing to have so many new people come to the label and bring so much more talent."
Ashanti's also excited about her upcoming remix album, due in April. The first single will be a remix of "Breakup 2 Makeup," and the disc will feature three or four previously unheard songs, including one called "Show You." In addition, Ashanti recently sang on the first single from Lloyd, the newest addition to the Inc.'s roster.
"I feel like a very blessed person," Ashanti explained. "I have a lot of people that love me and I'm surrounded by great, genuine people that help me, and we all work hard. It's taken such a long time to get here, so we're just very happy that it's working out the way it is."
As for her movie projects, Ashanti recently wrapped a shoot in India for the upcoming "Bride and Prejudice," a comedic remake of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."
"That was bananas," Ashanti said of the film, which also stars Marsha Mason ("2 Days in the Valley"). "I'm playing an Indian songstress performing on a beach in Goa. And I had to actually sing in Hindi. They thought I was Indian because I was singing with the little twang that they have, so it was definitely a life-altering experience."
And she's currently working on "Coach Carter," a basketball film that stars Samuel L. Jackson as the real-life school basketball coach who benched his team for poor academic performance. The movie, which will also feature 3LW member Adrienne Bailon, is due in theaters this October.
"My character's name is Kira, and she is the girlfriend of one of the basketball players on the team," Ashanti said. "Me and him have a little problem that needs to be solved. I'm not gonna tell you what it is. You gotta go see it. The script is really good."
If that's not enough screen time for Ashanti fans, the R&B chanteuse will also be releasing a DVD later this year full of performance shots and behind-the-scenes footage. "It's incredibly funny," she said. "They captured all of the bad things that happen, like if my shoe comes off or my skirt flips the other way and backwards. It's all about seeing who I am as a person and the things we go through to make the show happen."
She may deserve a long vacation, but Ashanti's not about to rest. She's constantly working on her music, continues to receive scripts in the mail, and is planning a summer tour with Ja Rule and Lloyd. "I don't want to spread myself too thin," she said. "But I want to get out there while the getting is good."