With an alt-pop style and sunny, vintage vocals, indie artist Ashe is in the fast lane to stardom after the release of her debut EP The Rabbit Hole.
Tackling topics such as the human condition, escapism, existentialism and love, the seven track extended play encourages listeners to embrace their weird, authentic selves through its very own brand of psych-pop.
“The rabbit hole is my wonderland,” says Ashe on the EP. “It’s a whole different universe, I hope people feel understood; like they have one more person in this world that gets them.”
One rainy summer afternoon in New York City, Celeb Secrets stopped by a funky apartment in Union Square to catch up with the indie pop songstress. From the recent release of her EP The Rabbit Hole to her affinity for Post Malone, no topics were off-limits during our candid conversation about the artist’s musical journey from Berklee to big time.
Keep reading to learn more from Ashe and follow her musical journey on Instagram at @ashemusic.
CS: Can you tell us about your musical journey and how you got to where you are today?
Ashe: “The classic question! My musical journey has been… I don’t know kind of a weird ride. I never thought I was going to be an artist – I come from like a family of engineers and my dad was a police officer for 20 years and a construction worker and my mom was a teacher, so no one in my family did music so it was kind of weird that I went down that route. Outside of high school I was like I don’t know what the “f” I want to do and I met this boy whose dream school was Berklee College of Music and I was like sh*t, I love music and if I can get into there… So yeah, I applied and got a scholarship to go and that was sort of the initial like “I’m going to do music for my life.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do, three years later graduated, still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I moved to Nashville and was thinking, I’m going to be a famous songwriter – I’m going to be Carole King without being an artist. But then 6 months in I was doing these road trips to Chicago and I met these guys, Louis the Child, and met a bunch of people out there and suddenly I was like “hey, I could really do this for myself and be an artist.” And then ever since I decided to be an artist, things have sort of just done it’s own thing.”
CS: What was your experience like at Berklee?
Ashe: “I just kept my head down. I had an interviewer ask me how I stood out at school – ah, I didn’t stand out at school! I kept my head down, no one knew who I was, but then again I also think about it and the Berklee stars at school are doing nothing now. I have to think that maybe it’s okay that I kept my head down at school. Berklee is incredible though, it’s where I fell in love with jazz. I just went to the Village Vanguard here in New York the other night – which is this super old-school jazz club and yeah – I love jazz!”
CS: For those not familiar with your sound, can you describe it?
Ashe: “Weird. It’s definitely weird. It’s pop for sure, but it’s got this alt, alternate indie vibe going on. It’s weird. If you listen to my new EP, it’s just weird. I don’t know how to describe it.”
CS: Tell me more about the EP! You released it this summer — what was the process of making it?
Ashe: “The EP came out on June 22 — The Rabbit Hole — and people like genuinely like it, so that’s really cool! I was just saying the other day – you know that I came to the conclusion that these are songs that I’m really proud of and I put my whole heart into and if nobody likes it, that’s okay because I’m proud of it blah blah blah, but in reality if people hated it it was going to be pretty tough. But they like it! So that’s great! So that’s cool and the whole process, I mean we really started working on the EP the minute I signed my record deal with Mom and Pop, which is about a year ago. So it’s been about a year in the making. Some of the songs are from like right when I signed that deal, the first single off the EP “Choirs” that was written the most recently, maybe 4-5 months ago. So yeah, we’re already working on the album and getting going on that. Yeah, the process was cool – I mean, I have the best job ever. I make music and people don’t hate it, so that’s cool.”
CS: So you recently wrapped up a tour? What was that experience like?
Ashe: “Tour is cool! Tour is tour – it’s dirty and you don’t get to shower very often so that kind of sucks sometimes but it’s fine you make it work. I just got off tour with Lewis Capaldi who is this incredible Scottish man who’s got the voice of an angel and also the devil like it’s guttural and delicious. He’s unbelievable, so that tour was great. Just before then I was on tour with Lauv for about a month at the top of the year and then was on two tours before that last year so I’m starting to get used to it. It’s good, it’s like the most exhausting thing you’ll ever do. I got sick on like every tour because of just lack of sleep and you’re drinking like more than you should and you’re pouring your heart out every night. Although I didn’t get sick this most recent time, I think I was more well-behaved and prepared so yeah, tour is great! I want to go back out soon.”
CS: What kind of musical influences do you have?
Ashe: “The big three are Carole King, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin. Those women are pretty much my idols but also then there’s like John Mayer and most recent inspirations like Post Malone, Daniel Caesar.”
CS: And if you could collaborate with anyone today who would it be?
Ashe: “Post-y! Yeah, I was actually invited to his party in LA this past Monday but I was here in New York and I was like “no freaking way! I get invited to a Post Malone party and I’m not even in LA.” Uh, I was so mad and my friend is going to see him live tonight and I can’t go to that either. So sad. Anyways he is the best, I would love to work with him.”
CS: What is your favorite part of the musical process – from writing, recording, touring?
Ashe: “Hmmm my first love is writing so the process of making the music is probably my favorite but it’s all by like a pinch because performing and getting to connect with people on stage is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever been allowed to do in my life. And you treat it however you want to treat it- every show is different, it’s like it’s own animal. So like I had the shittiest day the day I played at the Troubadour opening for Lewis Capaldi like the beginning of this past month, the worst day of my life and I still went on stage and I just intro-ed it with like “hey guys! I’m Ashe and I’ve had the worst day and I need this as much as you do. I need some therapy, I hope you do too and let’s like make the most of it.” Then I played the whole set and right before I sang the last song, I cried for like a minute on stage and just the crowd cheered me on and my guitarist comes over and hugs me and just makes it worse, obviously and I just keep crying more but it’s just such a human experience. It’s like I’m hanging out with a bunch of my friends and I’m getting to share my life with them. So I’d say touring is a close second. Writing is still the number one – because you couldn’t tour without the writing.”
CS: What are you most excited for this upcoming year?
Ashe: “We’re looking at a couple new tours so that’s going to be exciting to get back on the road. I’m also in-between where I’m going to be living, I’m not sure if I’m going to stay in LA or straight up going to move to New York City. If I do move to New York, I just feel like that would be the next biggest exciting thing cause I feel like if I’m going to do New York -I’m going to do it in my 20’s. And I was talking to manager, like “hey, wouldn’t that be cool to write my first album in New York” and he’s like “f*ck yeah, let’s go!””
CS: We are Celeb Secrets – can you share a secret our fans might not know about you?
Ashe: “The whole EP is basically a collaborative EP so all of the songs have been written with other people except for one – I don’t think everyone knows that, the main single “Real Love,” I wrote completely by myself. Just alone in my room and sat on the piano and had a good cry, right around the time of the election and there was just a lot of hate going on. So that song kind of fell out in like 20 minutes and I wrote it by myself.”