Thursday night the long-awaited first VERZUZ battle of the year between Ashanti and Keyshia Cole took over the timeline, Apple Music and Instagram.
The legendary celebration of the R&B Divas was sponsored by CÎROC White Grape, in which Ashanti created a signature drink for the battle in the CÎROC 235 Splash.
After exchanging hits like “Foolish,” “Rain On Me,” and “Happy” with Keyshia Cole’s “I Should’ve Cheated,” “Love” and “Last Night,” Ashanti spoke with The Source to let fans know how the battle came together, the history of Keyshia Cole and more.
The Source: How was this VERZUZ battle first presented to you and how does it feel to be one of the first major music events of the New Year?
Ashanti: Apple reached out to my team on behalf of Swizz and Timbaland and it’s an amazing feeling starting off 2021 with this energy and celebration, especially after the unprecedented year we’ve all experienced in 2020. I was excited to hit the stage and raise a glass of CÎROC with the fans.
You have an entire catalog of hits, is there one that you can’t wait to play or have seen fans requesting heavily and how did you strategize for this event?
I’m super humbled to have my catalog and I’m grateful to see so many different requests from fans. I’ve seen a lot of requests for “Foolish,” Rock With You” and “Baby.” I listened to a lot of my music and it brought back memories of touring worldwide. I also listened to a lot of Keyshia Cole’s music to catch a vibe and get into that celebratory mood.
A part of these celebrations of music has been the presence of CÎROC. You have a signature drink, the CÎROC 235 Splash, what makes this your go-to cocktail, and are there any others that you lend your bartending skills to?
With this battle being the first of the year, I was excited to create a signature cocktail using the limited-edition CIROC White Grape for fans to celebrate with! The name is inspired by my new single “235 (I Want You),” and the cocktail itself is easy-to-make – perfect for those tuning in at home!
You and Keyshia Cole collaborated on the 2012 single “Woman to Woman,” how did your relationship start and how has it developed over the years?
Keyshia reached out about an idea for a record after we saw each other at Platinum Studios. She ended up playing me the song at a different studio a few days later. I loved the concept and song. I even wrote my verse right there and recorded it that night!
We love all of your classics and we catch you on features today, are there any projects in music or elsewhere, that fans can look forward to receiving from you?
Yes, absolutely! My new single, “235 (I Want You)” is coming! I can’t wait for everyone to hear my new music. I’m definitely putting out lots of new music this year.