Check out this great interview that I did with New York-based pop musician Ashley Allen. Read as I speak with Ashley about her music, her new single "Let's Go", and more!
How long have you been playing music?
My mom came from a small city upstate to become a famous singer. Then she ended up having me! Once she had a little girl, you know, singing and dancing was something that I was always doing with her around the house. For as long as I can remember, that’s what I was doing. My mom always had me in dance, I was always singing. It was a natural love. Since I was probably two, I was singing before I could even talk.
What is the song “Let’s Go” about?
That song is my way of portraying an anthem. Like, the sky is not the limit; there are so many other things that you can reach for. Think of the craziest dreams possible, whether it’s climbing the Eiffel Tower, or becoming a singer or a doctor, anything, from the littlest dreams to the craziest dreams. People are constantly being told that they can’t do something. For me, it wasn’t just about writing a song of inspiration, but a song of truth. Your dream can come true.
Where did the inspiration for the music video for “Let’s Go” come from?
I’ve been getting a lot of different comments on it. There’s been a lot of love, but it’s also confused a lot of people. That video is my first introduction to the world, since no one knows who I am, so it’s the first thing that we wanted to do. I wanted to introduce myself now and as a child. When you see all of the other kids in the video, they’re all kind of dressed the same. And then you have little Ashley, and she’s bedazzled with pink and colors, and everyone’s kind of looking at her funny. I think it’s important for people to understand artists as they were children. I wanted people to learn a little more about me as a kid growing up.
Did you ever that moment where you decided “This is it. This is what I want to pursue.” When was that moment?
I don’t even remember how old I was, but Britney Spears came out and my world flipped upside down. It was like, “oh my god! Who is this girl?! She’s just everything and more.” I can’t even begin to explain. My dad was always really good to me by taking me to concerts. We got to see Backstreet Boys, and all these other concerts. My dad took me to see Britney Spears on her second tour, where she sang “Lucky”, “Oops I Did It Again” and all those other songs. I remember watching the concert, and it was magical. There were people dancing. There were little kids having fun, it was just goofy and fun. I remember looking at the stage and going “This is what I want to do. I want to entertain people with my music.” That was what I felt was my “oh my god” moment; after seeing that concert, how big the production was, how magical it was, and how you can touch peoples’ lives so intensely.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
That’s a really interesting question, because I’m someone that listens to a little bit of country. I’ll listen to dubstep, or I’ll go to an acoustic set. I think a lot of my inspiration though, if I were to pinpoint it exactly, would be the pop world. I feel that as a child, and as a girl, I naturally gravitated towards all of these solo and major themes of doing what I wanted to do. And although I was writing all of my own songs, I would want to sing to their songs in my room. My songs were just words in a notebook. To me, theirs were something that I could sing to, and I could sing with them. I respect everyone from Britney Spears to Katy Perry. I’m a massive Paramore fan in their Warped Tour days. Gwen Stefani. I love country like Rascal Flatts. I love Marilyn Manson. If you listen to my music, you know it’s pop, but sometimes I get a little country, sometimes I get a little indie-rock. I think I take my music and I let that inspire my sound. I can’t choose one!
What’s a typical songwriting process for you?
Well the first thing is “What am I writing about? What’s going on in my life right now?” We just sit down and jam. I’m a firm believer that two brains are better than one. So I’ll bring people with me to help me write, and we just jam. It’s never mainly tracked. I always start everything from scratch. But we’ll set up the guitar and start jamming, and just freestyle.
In your opinion, what would you say separates you as a performer and singer from any other artist out there right now?
I think that what really separates me from every female artist that would be placed in the same category as myself is that I’ve lived a different life. I went to college, I went to Arizona State. I’m your average girl, but I’ve been through a lot growing up. I feel like I have a message to show people, that positive things can come out of negative situations. Growing up was really hard, in terms of the pressure and people not being so nice to me. And I feel like that’s a lot of kids these days. I feel like I want to be that example. I want to be that light at the end of the tunnel.
What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
When you’re feeling down and things aren’t going your way, and you don’t want to wake up in the morning because things are too hard, I want them to look at me and say, “You know, I know that shit can get really bad, but Ashley made me hold on a little bit longer, because she did and she’s happy now. I want to instill hope and let people know that they can come to me and that they’re not alone. I set up something on my website, a personal email. If anyone wants to contact me, I’ll answer them back. I feel like when I was younger, even though I was looking up to all of these girls like Britney, I never had this connection in my heart, like they were ever going through what I went through. I want people to know that I get it. I’ve been there, and it sucks. But life is so awesome, and you can figure it out. I did.
What are your future plans right now?
On Friday, I’m filming another music video that is going to show everyone a completely different side of who I am. I’m going to be filming an acoustic version of my ballad. I’m really excited for people to finally see more emotion, see me putting my heart on my sleeve. That will be coming out within the next couple of weeks!
You can keep up to date on all of the latest music and news from Ashley Allen on her Facebook (www.facebook.com/itsashleyallen) and website www.itsashleyallen.com.