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She Comes First Podcast

"The Skin I'm In" with Issa Rae

Amber Riley is a woman of many talents. The first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear her name is that she's a vocal powerhouse known for solidifying her talent on the Fox series Glee. We've seen her contend with the greats singing (and nailing) vocally challenging ballads like Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way." She's also a formidable actress and dancer as well. The Los Angeles native knows firsthand, however, that even some of the most talented individuals don't always get their just due.

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It takes a certain something special to have longevity in the music business, and Ashanti is a prime example. The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, known for hits like "Foolish" and "Rain On Me," just celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut self-titled album, as well as the 19th anniversary of her sophomore album Chapter II. Looking back on the millions of albums sold and hits under her belt, Ashanti is proud of the mark she's left on R&B. On this week's episode of "She Comes First," Ashanti unveils what it took to stand tall as the only woman on a male-dominated record label, and how protecting her boundaries led to a career she gets to define on her own terms.

She Comes First Podcast | Episode 4: "A Little Bit Self-Ish" featuring Ashantiyoutu.be

Looking back, Ashanti remembers being "young and naive" starting out in the game to the point where she didn't even realize how monumental it was to sell half a million copies of her first album. "[I thought] is 500,000 [copies] a good number? Did we do good? I didn't really know what was going on," she says. "I think I appreciate it now more than I did then because now I understand how much it resonated."

Ashanti, now 41, has since become an independent artist and is forging a new career on her own terms. She says her happinness now came from sticking to her guns and setting clear boundaries about what she felt was best for her career. "It was hard walking away from the seven offers from major labels," she recalls. "I remember that space and time. The boundary was, 'I'm not taking these deals that I don't like. Don't call me with that because I'm not taking a 360 [deal].' It was hard and scary, but it turned out pretty good. I'm in an amazing space right now."

Watch the full interview above!

This post is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.

Gone are the days where we prioritize “the grind” over our own wellbeing. #Teamnosleep is canceled. Millennial women are prioritizing themselves and their rest above all else, and we love to see it. We’re seeing proof of this powerful shift everywhere we look, but especially in the #softlife hashtag that’s been trending all over social media. The soft life movement is all about pursuing the path of least resistance, choosing ease over struggle, and relaxing in your vulnerability.

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