It was the summer of 2016 when I fell back in love with the purest love I’ve ever known; the music. Fortunately for myself, I had the brightest light in the form of a magnificent woman leading me back in the right direction. Thugging it out as a millennial in the city of Atlanta trying to make a name for himself, I found myself on the cusp of greatness and failure contemplating on the direction of my life and happiness. Fatefully, I forgot to turn off my SoundCloud queue after jamming to the newest single from my favorite indie artist at the time, leading a now unforgettable tune into my life.
I remember replaying that song, “I Know Who” for an hour straight, dancing non-stop as I regained my jubilance and boundless determination two-step by two-step as the singer marvelously chanted “I know who you really loveeeeeee.” Even more fatefully, I happened to attend a live concert right in front of this same artist when she toured in Atlanta just a month later. Screaming the lyrics measure for measure, and dancing all night, I thanked the artist personally for a soundtrack that had literally saved my life.
Fast forward one year later with all of my trials, tribulations, and transcendence, I happened to be a writer under the premier DMV publication, The Demo Tape, while also being in the same city in which this same sacred guide to the purity of modern music happened to be touring again. And with that, I sat down with the one and only, ASH., for an exclusive interview.
During the PJ Morton tour in Washington DC, MAJOR took them to church and PJ Morton had the whole place swooning, but it was ASH. who stole my heart once more with her versatile catalog of innocence and power.
My first question to the globally traveled artist and Spelman College alumnae concerned when she began coming into herself as an artist ready to change the world and make a mark with her artistry forever. ASH. candidly revealed that she, in actuality, was still coming into herself. Losing her Dad in 2015 inspired her to push farther, “to really dig” as she self-described. “As an artist, you’re still figuring it out. You never stop trying to find it.” At this point, through a shout out mid-interview, I met the man behind the music of ASH. (composition, lyrics, production, etc.) T-Brown, who happened to be a Morehouse Man like myself. (Spelhouse power worldwide, baby.) ASH. let me know that Brown was more than the super cool keyboardist on the tours, he was the “immaculate spirit”; “her feel” as described. This gave me a first-hand account of the chemistry that a team should have when taking over the world.
Speaking of the world, I followed up asking where some of her favorite places to perform were. ASH. did not hesitate to shout out D.C (a particular favorite), Detroit, Nashville and a special shout-out to Atlanta. One beautiful part of her artistry was seeing the cult following every city had for her (your boy Maurice Valentino included).
It’s hard to sit down and be humble per decree of King Kendrick Lamar when you have appeared on Vh1, winning the national competition Kelly Rowland’s Chasing Destiny as well as touring worldwide with Janelle Monae and graduating the number one HBCU in the nation. Still, when my next question came about the accomplishments she is grateful for, one of the first things that came out of ASH.‘s mouth was simply being grateful for “something that God Gave Me.” Since 8-years old, she has had all the materials that she ever needed. She was shy and unique but didn’t start expressing her gifts until she grew up. Regardless, she worked hard and was humbled and grateful.
As an artist myself, my next question concerned the process of becoming “big time.” ASH. and I talked about the journey and how it makes us everything we are, but I asked what were some pieces of advice would she give to artists in her genre or artists in general who were once in her position. “Trust the process. Get two jobs even if you have to. The universe works when you are with it. Get outside of your bubble and don’t get caught up in the hype.” Take notes, clout vampires!
When asked about her favorite records and musical moments, the whole room shared a large laughing session when ASH. and T-Brown exclaimed how they knew “ANYWAY” was the HIT. Bumping that song at least 100 times myself, I could tell that they weren’t just talking out of their behinds with that statement. The team really connected to that song, making it pop but still talking about the deeper issues of the world such as racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination for people treated any type of way by the powers that be. Regardless of the hate, the song was a secret message of love saying “I love you anyway” to those trying to make hate prevail.
With such a powerful story and musical journey, my next question was how far did she plan to go with any new material to be premiered to the world. Other than the brand new Peachtree Blues that she debuted at the venue, and the Florida dates for the Gumbo Tour with PJ Morton, ASH. stated that new music is coming to those who wait.
Catch up with the amazing journey of ASH. on her Twitter and Instagram at @iamjustash. Currently, she has two EPs on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and SoundCloud called “The Perfect EP” and “The Please Like Me EP”. She happens to be heavily DMV affiliated as well with immediate family living in the area, so DMV, stand up for a real one. As I have come to in the past full year, regardless of your musical preferences, you will come to love her anyway.