Ashley Spencer is an upcoming singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Ashley is currently working on some really exciting projects, such as streaming live gigs via stageit.com and working on some great new music. We were really happy that despite her hectic schedule she agreed to complete a feature interview for Song Revelation. Read the entire interview below where Ashley discusses which artists she is inspired by, how she got into music and what she does to relax whilst not working.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Cool Retro-Soul sound and a unique full-bodied voice that is sure to be a musical breath of fresh air.
Q: What is your musical background?
I spent a total of 10 months in vocal training, and the rest of it has been self-education. I studied so many different styles of music, their song structure, the way the melodies were used with the words, and I used all of these influences.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
It has been pretty intense the last 6 months, really. I started building my Facebook fan page up in September last year, and it’s grown faster than I ever would have seen coming. I started with 53 people and six months later I now have a little over 4,400 people from all over the world following the page. I worked with an amazing producer named Adam Pickrell and he really brought a whole different flavor to my music. My song ‘Satisfy You’ was exactly the way I always dreamed it would be, and when I heard ‘Storyteller’ the first time I was nearly moved to tears. It was better than I could have imagined and it turned out so beautifully. He reached deep down into my music and pulled out sides of it I didn’t even know were there. I am incredibly excited to get to work with him again on building the album!
Overall, I’m still adjusting to my new reality. These things I’ve been longing to do for years are actually happening, and it hasn’t fully soaked in yet. I am so grateful though. I’m especially thankful for all of these people who are calling themselves fans. They’ve been wonderful to me.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
I absolutely love Ella Fitzgerald for her vocal ability. Also, Bill Withers is a fantastic songwriter who was able to keep his music so simple but incredibly timeless. There are a ton of amazing artists out there who all bring something their own, it’s very hard to choose which one inspires me more. I take bits and pieces from every artist I hear.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
I look up to Taylor Swift quite a bit for her career direction. She’s got her hands in every little detail of her career and is in near complete control of everything she does and releases. As an example, she’s designed sets for her tour, created the concepts for multiple music videos, writes the songs all by herself, even attends every single business meeting related to her career, among many others. Her business sense is impeccable, but mostly I admire how genuine and compassionate she is to her fans. I’ve always longed to build that kind of connection with the individuals who make up my fan base.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
This probably seems completely unrelated to my musical genre, but I would love to work with the rapper Lupe Fiasco! His style of writing is very poetic and artsy, and I think we could create a really great sound together.
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
At this current moment in time, I am listening to “Always Shine” by Robert Glasper featuring Lupe Fiasco and Bilal. Great song! I love how they combined jazz, R&B and hip-hop together and made it an art form. Lupe Fiasco’s lyrics are out of this world.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I don’t know if I have a process for writing a song. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about a subject for days, sit down and the entire song comes out in 10 minutes. Other times it takes months to write a song or even years to complete one. I used to only be able to write a song when I felt something deeply, but I’ve gotten a lot better about being able to write on request. I do have to write songs when I’m completely alone though. I take myself to a very vulnerable place to write music and I feel safest when I am alone.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Neither is more important because they are both vital to a song. You can have an incredible melody, but if the lyrics are juvenile it won’t have the power it could. Without a powerful melody, the best lyrics will go completely unremembered. One cannot breathe without the other; they must always be strong together.
Q: Where are you based?
I am based out of Dallas, Texas, USA.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
The people here are very diverse. I enjoy certain things about my city, the low cost of living mostly. My heart will always be in downtown Chicago though.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I just finished a hip-hop collaboration with a rapper out of the Houston area, where I got to write the chorus and bring my own retro-soul flavor to the song. I’m very excited to release it soon! It’s a whole new level of my writing. The next project is my album. I released a 2-song EP as an introduction into what I do, and I’m excited to finally dive into all the other songs I’ve got in hiding.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
On the day I released my EP, I made it on the Top 100 Soul Chart on Amazon.com! It was completely unexpected!! I was definitely ecstatic to see that on their website.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
Recording and releasing my album. I am beyond anxious to show people more of my musical style.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
Eventually I would like to do a StageIt.com show so I can perform for my worldwide audience. None on the calendar right now though.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I am pretty much only relaxing when I’m sleeping. I’m constantly working, learning, and challenging myself to a new level. I am a bit of a TV show junkie, and for some reason TV shows are the only thing that can get me to stop thinking and relax a bit.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
I absolutely LOVE London! There is so much history, great music and beautiful architecture all in one place. Not to mention the city is massive and there’s something for everyone, no matter his or her tastes and interests.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Push yourself. Always be challenging yourself to write better than you did before. Keep moving forward. Don’t be afraid of the business side, it’s just as much of an art as the music. Most of all, even when you are exhausted from the responsibilities of growing your career entirely by yourself, don’t give up. There is enough room for all of us in this industry, find your niche.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
It sounds cliché to say I wouldn’t be where I am without the fans, but it is very true. Everything starts with that single vulnerable moment where you write your emotions down into a song, and then you give life to the song in a recording studio, and put it out there for the world to see. It feels at times like I am handing people my heart hoping they will appreciate what I do. I’ve had times where people don’t exactly know what to make of my music, since it hasn’t really been done before, but there are those people who truly get it. I have been tremendously blessed to have been discovered by people who feel a connection to my music. My gratitude is beyond words.
Editor’s Note: Ashley Spencer has a subtle vulnerability to her songwriting and performing that is both enchanting and appeals to a wide range of the music buying public. Definitely one of Song Revelation’s artists to watch! Make sure you check out Ashley’s latest gigs streamed to her facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/ashleyspencermusic.
If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Ashley Spencer, just follow the links below:
Twitter link: http://www.twitter.com/ashleyspencer
Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/ashleyspencermusic
MySpace link: http://www.myspace.com/ashleyspencermusic
Web page link: http://www.ashleyspencer.com
Soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/ashleyspencermusic/sets/satisfy-you/
Reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/ashleyspencer