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Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas was born on 13 October 1980 in Glen Cover, Long Island to a father of black, Filipino, Chinese, Irish and Sioux Indian heritage and an African American, Puerto Rician, and Cherokee Indian mother. Her singing career began at the age of 14 when she was discovered by Bad Boy Records, however due to a bad contract she was not signed to the label.
Eventually, she signed with Murder Inc. where she was to find fame with her eponymous debut album, which sold over 503,000 copies in its first week of release throughout the U.S. in April 2002. The album went on to set a Soundscan record as the biggest opening week sales for a new female artist, outselling debuts by Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill. In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "Foolish", and "What's Luv?". Ashanti again broke records by having three top ten songs, "Foolish," "What's Luv?" and "Always on Time", on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week, being the first woman to accomplish this feat and being second only to the Beatles. In 2003, her debut album won Ashanti her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B album. By 2008, she had sold more than 15 million records worldwide. Ashanti ended the decade (2000–09) as the third top new R&B artist behind Alicia Keys and Beyonce Knowles. She also ended the decade at number 38 on the Top Artist of the Decade list.
Ashanti has also had successful ventures in everything from record producing and dancing to modeling and acting.