Michael Ashanti
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Michael Ashanti

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Michael’s shows with us have been astonishing vocal workouts- “a little classic soul/funk, neo-soul, house, and acoustic soul, with contemporary R&B, gospel and jazz elements.” Not only a great original songwriter, Michael is a human jukebox, conjuring a string of classic soul gems in response to requests from a delighted audience.

Hearts & Voices audiences got to keep a taste of Michael’s work when he gave us his song Stranger (You Never Know) for our first annual Hearts & Voices CD, given to audience members for the holidays. Stranger is one of the key cuts from All Of Me, the new album that Michael describes as “a soul-fusion collection of music that speaks through different emotions, experiences, and moods. It’s a labor of love.” All Of Me is available on iTunes and CDbaby via Michael’s label, Ambassador Music Group, and New Yorkers can obtain a copy at Disc-O-Rama. And, of course, Michael’s music is on Myspace.

© 2007, LIFEbeat - The Music Industry Fights AIDS, Hearts & Voices Program - LIFEbeat: HEARTbeat - The Newsletter of Hearts & Voices


"All of Me" is the debut album from an exciting new singer Michael Ashanti that you may want to keep a close eye on people. Born in New York but a world traveller from the age of 7, "All of Me" is a collection of songs which I do believe encompass many of his musical influences and cultures he absorbed as he was growing up around the world. The CD kicks off with "Cry", a tight track with Michael asking his woman whys she wants to make him cry. Don’t be deceived by the subject matter though, Michael is not a whimpering wet mess in the corner asking this, he is in full control and making her know that this can’t go on, and she shouldn’t think she can find someone better than him. He reassures her that he can be the man that she wants to be; and listening to the track I believe him. The next track "Let Me Go" reminds me of British artist Don-E, who is one of the Don’s of British Soul. In it Michael tells his woman “If you need me then keep me, but it don’t need me let me go”. Now before you start thinking this CD is album man and woman relationships I assure you it isn’t. There is a refreshing upbeat track called "Hold On" which is a true delight to listen to. Michael sings about holding in during the hard times, and reflects on some of the blessings he has. It’s a beautiful inspirational track, with some very good choral backing vocals too. Another favourite track is "Stranger (You Never Know)" in which Michael reflects on his dad telling him not to talk to strangers, but now he’s a grown up it’s a stranger that his given him the most love. It really reminds me of Rahsaan Patterson’s "Where You Are", especially the beautiful acoustic guitar, amazing harmonies and groovy finger snaps. His first single "Again/Contigo Yo Naci" is a re-fix of the Billy Preston and Syreeta classic ballad "With You I am Born Again", with a reggae beat and some real nice Spanish raps courtesy of Sooso. For those who like things a little slower Michael turns up the heat with "Crossing the Line" which is about thinking about someone close to you and then seriously considering taking things further. I personally felt the title track "All of Me" was not as strong vocally or production as some of the other songs on this album, which is a shame as the song is about Michael giving himself totally to his partner as he has full trust in her and he can truly be himself. Overall this is a good debut album for this singer/songwriter. Other good tracks on this CD include "Fathers Anthem" which celebrates all the fathers out there taking care of their children and being great role models, and encourages them to keep it up. Also "The Sun will Shine Again" is a song of hope and inspiration to victims of recent wars and disasters around the world.

Richard "Ricardito" Ashie [Just Soul] - JustSoul.net


Ein Mann für alle/viele Fälle – Michael Ashanti´s musikalisches Spektrum umfasst gefühlt alle (zumindest nahezu…) Spielarten aktueller und traditioneller Schwarz-Musik – irgendwie unentschlossen, aber zumindest mit Kompetenz umgesetzt. Zudem ist Herr Ashanti ein feiner Vokalist, der immer den richtigen Soul-Ton trifft. Zum Start gibt´s mit „Cry“ einen veritablen Old-School Funker, garniert mit allen Zutaten, die schon Sly Stone oder die Gap Band zu ihrem Vorteil zu nutzen wussten. Ebenfalls Funk, aber in der modernen Sparsam-Version bringt „Let Me Go“, und damit auch die passende Gelegenheit der Stimme den nötigen Freiraum zu schaffen. Immer noch Funk, aber dann nur noch als rudimentäre Erscheinung im semi-akustischen „Stranger“, das zudem mit netten Pop-Einflüssen aufwartet. Aber dann – Michael Ashanti präsentiert in der Folgezeit eine bunte Abfolge diverser Rhythmen und Grooves (von der Reggaeton/Dancehall Bearbeitung von Syreeta´s und Billy Preston´s „With You I´m Born Again“ bis zum House-Dancer „Hold On“), um irgendwann und irgendwie im Land der großen Balladen anzukommen – „All Of Me“ ist ein genretypischer Lionel-Ritchie Pop-Soul Kitscher – bei „Crossing The Line“, „My Tears“ oder „My Father´s Anthem“ bewegt er sich eher in aktuellen R&B Slowie Bereichen und wartet zudem mit einem kunstvoll ziselierten Vokal-Arrangement auf, während „The Sun Will Shine Again“ auch unauffällig in einer Reihe von R.Kelly Downtempos wirken würde – also, wie eingangs erwähnt – A-L-L-E-S ist in „All Of Me“ und Michael Ashanti ist durchaus in kompetenter Verfassung Funk; Dancehall, Pop, House und R&B zu erfreulichen Einzel-Ergebnissen zu führen – bei entsprechender Konzentration auf das für ihn Wesentliche dürfte ein eventueller Zweitling dann wirklich interessant werden.

Website:
http://www.soulsite.de/sonic/review.shtml?id=607 - Joerg Michael Schmitt


“. . . a music mixture of Soul, Hip-Hop and Jazz on which his voice walks with delicacy.” (Audiosong.net)
- Audiosong.net (France)


“If A&R isn’t listening, we are! Wake up labels . . .” (MP3.com) - MP3.com (International)


If you're a big fan of Rahsaan Paterson, you'll find comfort and enjoyment in Michael Ashanti's debut album "All Of Me". The CD delivers a fresh soulful assortment of original tunes from Ashanti and a couple of flashbacks that are sure to keep your heads bobbin'. Michael's style of music has been appropriately branded as soul fusion to signify the core presence of soul and gospel-influenced vocals that soars over backdrops of R&B, house, dancehall/reggaeton, jazz, gospel and pop. — Yes, all of that in just one album.

Few are able to put together such an assortment of sounds and have them so well received. This New York native born to Jamaican partent has done just that. "With You I'm Born Again" and "Cry" are great tracks, but our favorite here at Click is..."Hold On". If you're a lover of house music, this track alone makes the purchase of the CD worth its weight in gold. . . . - Clik Magazine (United States)


"Michael Ashanti, born in Poughkeepsie, New York to parents of Jamaican descent, is a diverse and natural songwriter and vocalist that shows his audience effortless styles and blends of fusion soul, jazz, pop, acoustic, funk, dancehall, reggaeton, and even a little classical. At the first thought of an artist like this, the first thing that comes to my mind is a true lover of our sweet soul music...." - Pulp Magazine.net (Toronto)


Artist of the Month: March 2007

Michael Ashanti introduces us to his music on his debut album "All Of Me". On fourteen tracks including two interludes and one outro we discover the drive for originality and creativity from this New Yorker.
As we have learned from Michael Ashanti, he is vocally inspired by gospel and soul music. Musically, he embraces different styles from different cultures which might have to do with his childhood when he travelled around the world with his father.

On "All Of Me" we hear a young, gifted and conscious singer-songwriter holding notes. The main ingredients of the album are soul music and r&B accompanied by gospel-oriented backgroud vocals. In "With You I'm Born Again" Michael steps into dancehall and in "Hold On" he moves into dance.

"Cry" is a kind of song that brings in mind "Sly and The family Stone" with their crossover music from soul to pop songs. A delicious and cool groove will make you play "Let Me Go" over and over again. We notice that Michael Ashanti makes a difference between backing vocals and choir vocals. Especially the choir vocals in the gospel tinged song "The Sun Will Shine Again" are fantastic, just like those in "Hold On". In "Hold On" gospel and dance come together to celebrate the good times.

The sweetest R&B song undoubtedly is "A Father's Anthem". In the title song "All Of Me" you'll make a connection to singers like James Ingram and Michael McDonald, artists who really sing from the heart.(TA)

Stand Out Tracks: Let Me Go, Stranger(You Never Know), Hold On, All Of Me, The Sun Will Shine Again, A Father's Anthem

© 2007, SaveOurSoul - Save Our Soul Radio (Online Reviews)


Discography

Fall 2010:
Michael Ashanti - Jet setter: Soulful Journeys (full-length CD project to be released)

2010:
Michael Ashanti - 'the Internet (There's Nothing Wrong with Love)'
receiving video airplay on Logo Channel - MTV Networks and support on internet radio streams

2007:
Michael Ashanti – 'All of Me' (Debut Album)

Other Projects:

2004: Digg Deep – 'InDiggNation' (Session Vocalist)

2002: Kristin Hoffman – 'Live' (Background Vocalist)

1997: Sony Music Employees Christmas Album – 'And Peace On Earth' (Featured Soloist on 'Do Not Be Afraid')

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Bio

Most aspiring recording artists would consider a call back audition for the X-Factor talent competition to be a major mark on the path to becoming an overnight success — but Michael Ashanti is not most artists.

After reading the release form that would force him to hand over ownership of his entire identity, Michael made the bold decision to believe in his talents and walk away from the second round of auditions.

In a matter of several months after those initial auditions, Michael’s belief and persistence have already been rewarded. The debut single — the Internet (There’s Nothing Wrong with Love) — from his forthcoming sophomore EP release made its broadcast premiere December 2009 on MTV Networks (Logo Channel) in the United States and has achieved Top 10 status on the Click List Top 10 music videos countdown.

This New York native is no novice to the music industry. This is made evident by the growing resume of musical accomplishments which include: a critically-acclaimed independent release — All Of Me — featuring both a widely accepted pop/reggaeton cover tribute and music video for the Billy Preston/Syreeta Garret classic 'With You I’m Born Again' and the soulfully charged club anthem 'Hold On'; a live performance on Showtime at the Apollo in Harlem, New York City; a National Basketball Association (NBA) center-court performance of the American national anthem at the Madison Square Garden in New York City; live touring performances as a solo artist or in support of well-known international acts; and a growing international fan-base.

Michael’s authenticity as an artist is further supported by the fact that he utilizes diversity and inclusion as key drivers for creative inspiration. Michael has joyfully dedicated his time and talents as a volunteer performer to LIFEBeat: The Music Industry Fights AIDS — a charitable organization dedicated to reaching America’s youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention. Michael is also setting new standards and challenging negative stereotypes by accepting numerous invitations as a favored live performer for LGBT events around the world in such cosmopolitan cities as Barcelona, New York, Amsterdam and London.

So while Michael Ashanti may not have chosen the path of becoming an overnight reality TV sensation, he has well established himself as someone with a special brand of artistry that will be defined by both authenticity and longevity.