Arts, Features

INTERVIEW: Berklee alumna Ashe talks inspiration, growing independence

As a young girl, pop artist Ashe hardly imagined she would pursue a career in music. Now one of 20 Vevo Dscvr Artists to Watch in 2018, the budding performer is defying all of her childhood expectations.

After releasing her first single, “Used To It,” and collaborating with duo Louis the Child on “Right To It” in early 2017, Ashe released a sassy sophomore single in November that has pop fans turning up the volume.

“Girl Who Cried Wolf” will be part of Ashe’s first EP. In an interview with The Daily Free Press, the 24-year-old California native, known to family and friends as Ashlyn Miller, said she is proud of the team that united to write the single: herself and her two favorite writers.

“I’m a storyteller,” she said. “I kind of say that in my own world I’m telling my own stories.”

Professional writers help bring these stories to life in a relatable, clever way, Ashe said. The team approached the song with an open mind, not worried about the expectations of pop radio.

The result was a self-empowerment anthem the singer said reflects her own insecurities in her writing and career. Ashe said she wanted the song’s message to be, “I can do this, I am good enough … I can make it on my own standards and in my own way, and nobody’s gonna tell me different.”

Since writing “Girl Who Cried Wolf,” Ashe said she’s applied that same self-assured attitude to her general outlook on her career as a musician.

“The fact that … all I have to worry about is being honest and authentic and being 100 percent myself and making music that I one hundred percent back is a pretty amazing thing,” she said.

Though she did not grow up in a very musical family, Ashe said talk of a music career was neither discouraged nor encouraged throughout childhood. She cites artists such as Carole King, Stevie Nicks, The Beatles and The Beach Boys as some of her biggest inspirations.

Her interests led her to Berklee College of Music, but even as a college senior, the singer said she was still unsure if a musical path was right for her.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna do music, I guess I’m gonna wing it,’” Ashe said.

Her leap of faith has brought her a life of professional songwriting, performing for thousands of fans and touring all over the country.

Regardless of her goals for her Berklee experience, Ashe said she looks back on her college days fondly. She said jazz played a large role in refining her sound while in school, crediting the transformation to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane, whose melodies inspired her.

“I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of jazz but fell in love with it at school,” Ashe said.

She is currently touring with Lauv, who wrote and sings the 2017 hit “I Like Me Better.”

“He’s on the edge of just bursting into a thousand stars,” Ashe said of Lauv. “The tour’s been nothing but amazing.”

Ashe said her favorite aspect of tour life is being surrounded by music all the time. Getting to perform almost every night for a happy, excited crowd is what drives her to go on stage.

The emerging songstress said she hopes to maintain an autonomous career, like Lauv.

“He writes and produces his own music, which I really admire,” she said. “Not every pop artist, especially in his sort of pop world, does.”

The singer will be returning to Boston on Friday for a performance with Lauv at Brighton Music Hall in Allston.

“Boston goes hard,” Ashe said of her last experience performing in her college town. “It was one of the best shows of the whole tour … I’m interested to see how it goes again.”

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