Ashe | Falling Into the Depths Of Her Alt-Pop Rabbit Hole
You may know her through electro-pop songs with Louis the Child or opening for Whethan, but this time around Ashe is going down her own path. The singer has made her way from a mere vocalist to a standout solo artist. As the experimental indie virtuoso gears up to release her debut EP, The Rabbit Hole, she’s kept fans enticed by tossing out a few singles. The down-to-earth, Bay area babe stopped by the Troubadour to show off some of these cool girl, alt-pop singles and tease her upcoming release, which drops June 22nd. We got a chance to catch up with Ashe before her performance and see what’s in store for her impending EP.
How did you get started in music?
The classic question! I’ve been making music since I was 10. I took piano lessons around that time. My family didn’t encourage me to do music as a career, but I’d always write my own little songs and I’d show them to my friends. Writing music was always talked about as a hobby. So, that’s what I thought of it as until I graduated high school and I realized I didn’t know what the fuck I wanted to do. The only thing that made sense to me was making music. I got into Berklee [College of Music] on a scholarship and continued making music. As far as a career, when I moved to Nashville I started doing road trips. From Nashville to Chicago, I’d work with different artists and get familiar with the music scene out there. Then one day Freddy, from Louis the Child, walks in and I’m like 'Oh shit!' Once I started working with them that’s what changed things for me for sure. I definitely feel like I owe a lot to them.
Who are some of your biggest influencers in the music industry?
My biggest influencers are definitely Louis the Child, Whethan, and Laav. The people I toured with. As far as sound, I’d say Carole King and Stevie Nicks. They’re such incredible, powerful women. Also, Ella Fitzgerald. I really dove into jazz during my college days.
What’s your songwriting process like? What’s the best environment for you to work in?
It definitely changes. If I’m by myself, it can be as simple as having a melody in my head or lyrics. Typically, I have to be by myself unless it's another creator. For instance, my good friend and songwriting buddy, Justin Gammella, is someone that helps me with that process. We have our own way of going about it that just works. However, if I’m with a friend or something like that, I can’t create. Whether I’m writing solo or co-writing it changes. It’s always different. For instance, one song for Louis the Child was created with all of us in the room, but another time I’ve done vocals for him at home by myself. So, it’s pretty unpredictable. I think it’s best to always know how to acclimate in any situation.
What do you want your listeners to take away when listening to your music?
I want them to feel less alone. You know to feel as if someone gets them or understands them because, I’m weird and sometimes I feel alone, but I know I’m not. I look to my favorites to make me not feel alone, like listening to Carole King or John Mayer. He’s a king. He makes me feel less alone. Music heals when you feel like nothing else can. That’s what I want people to take away. The singles I have out are a brief introduction to who I am, but I want the EP to reflect that whoever is listening has a friend.
What’s it like performing on stage in front of massive crowds. Do you have any techniques that you do before you go on stage?
It depends on the day and my mind set. When I played at Coachella last year with the band Big Gigantic, there were 15,000 people. I remember crying backstage. It was so exciting, scary, and overwhelming, but once I went out there I wasn’t nervous. Then, I sang at Red Rocks for the first time with Big Gigantic. It was less people at the venue, but I was more nervous than I’d ever been. I don’t have a go-to ritual, but I used to do a headstand at become zen before a show. Sometimes, I’ll take 10 minutes before a show to just be one with myself and focus on being present. That helps a lot. You know, just taking a moment to remind myself that I have a cool job and I have the opportunity to perform in front of people who want to listen. I just feel incredibly blessed.
Your style is very cool, quirky, and carefree. Who are some of your style influences?
Diane Keaton! She is my role model. If you haven’t seen Annie Hall, she’s the main lady and her style hasn’t changed since the 1970s. She still wears big high waisted pants with belts and ties. She’s just unapologetically herself. If you wanna laugh, watch a Diane Keaton and Ellen Degeneres interview. It’s one of my favorites! My style is just very weird so I can’t pinpoint who it would relate to. The first time I go to the red carpet, I wanna wear a blue crushed velvet suit and I’ll probably be barefoot.
How do you stay authentic without feeling the pressure to make mainstream music?
A part of me says I don’t feel the pressure at all, but that’s bullshit. Just like everyone else, I check my Instagram likes. I think what keeps me authentic is surrounding myself with other unique human beings that don’t give a shit. I’m always inspired by that. Even when I’m with Freddy and Rob from Louis the Child, they inspire me to believe in myself and to not care whether I talk different or act different. If I tried to conform to what everyone else was doing, I’d be lying to myself. Don’t get me wrong, mainstream music is cool. It’s cool to pull what you think is cool from it, but still maintain a sense of yourself.
Lastly, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned while being in the industry?
First off, drink water and be good to people because it’ll be reciprocated. Don’t talk badly about people behind their back because they will find out. Warming up before going onstage is very important. You’ll regret it if you don’t. You have to sleep when you’re touring. That’s how I got sick every time.
Photos and Words by Essence Moseley