Everyone who knows me will know that I’ve worked with Ashlinn Gray since the launch of her musical career in early 2015 with the release of Battleships. The song did way better than we could ever have imagined and it was the start of a budding and beautiful friendship.
We’ve experienced a number of ups and downs, as with most things in life, but over time, we have grown as both individuals and professionals in our individual careers, and to this day, Ashlinn Gray is still an absolute pleasure to work with.
The singer recently relocated to the States to expand her career into new territory and the fruits of her works are clearly visible. As we continue to work together from opposite ends of the world, I wanted to write this article to honour her for her hard work and dedication.
With the release of her new single STFU, Ashlinn has taken a risk, she is making a stand and in many ways is moving into a new era of her professional career. The song is bold and in your face and it is everything I have known Ashlinn to become. It is also the many reasons I love her so much.
After all the media and interviews we’ve done and set up, I did my own little interview with the rising star, asking the questions I’ve always wanted to ask her. So here it is – my chat with internationally established Ashlinn Gray.
Indie Does It: Why the decision to relocate to the States?
Ashlinn Gray: I signed a management deal in LA with BTB MGMT and decided to start making some music and performing there. I’ve always had my eye on doing some work in the States and when I signed my deal, it seemed like it was the right time to make the move.
Indie Does It: What has the journey been like so far?
Ashlinn Gray: I’ve actually loved every step of the journey I’ve been on. I’ve enjoyed looking back and realising that the doors that closed on me were blessings in disguise and the doors that opened were waiting for me all this time.
Craziest stories from the US: I got hit by a car (not my fault) and also got asked if I wanted to get into porn while I was riding the subway. That was the last time I wore hoop earrings, if you get what I mean. The bigger the hoop, the bigger the…
Indie Does It: What has been your biggest challenge in your career so far and how have you gone about overcoming it?
Ashlinn Gray: The biggest challenge is always putting yourself out there. Whether it’s writing about your most vulnerable thoughts or convincing someone that you’re good enough to play that big show, you have to overcome your fear or at least use it as fuel. You always have to gather all the courage you have and take each step with confidence. I guess the way I’ve started to overcome it is by teaching myself to be okay with the idea of failure. It’s inevitable and I might as well enjoy the ride, wherever my crazy ideas take me.
Indie Does It: You seem to have stepped into a new sense of self. Why the more aggressive approach?
Ashlinn Gray: I’m naturally an aggressive person. I’ve always tried to shy away from that but it’s a part of who I am and STFU was a song that really needed that fire behind it. We all have that side of ourselves and I’ve decided to put it out there on full display.
Indie Does It: How do you think you have grown over the years as an artist and an individual?
Ashlinn Gray: As an artist I’ve definitely grown in skill and vision. I have more of an idea of what message I want to put out there as well as what kind of artist I want to be. As a person I’ve learnt that you have the power to do anything you want. Nothing and no one can stop you from being happy and achieving your dreams. I’ve also learnt that kindness goes a long way and communication is key to every relationship.
Indie Does It: What do you miss most about South Africa?
Ashlinn Gray: The people. I love how South African’s are so friendly and always ready to say “howzit”. I miss home way too much.
Indie Does It: Have you spent a lot of time in studio as a musician and what have you learnt about the recording process?
Ashlinn Gray: I’ve spent so many hours in the studio it’s become my second home. I’ve learnt that you have to let go and experiment in studio. It’s the only way you really find out how to produce or write something you hear in your head and make it come to life.
Indie Does It: What do you love most – performing live or recording in studio and why?
Ashlinn Gray: I love both but performing live is fun because you get to play around with music in front of a live audience. You get to share a musical experience with people who relate to your message. That is power. That’s what creates a change in peoples’ hearts.
Indie Does It: List your top five travel tips for people always on the go?
- Always drink a lot of water.
- Put your phone down and go for a walk. Explore.
- Make at least one new friend.
- Eat a lot of good food.
- Don’t rush. Take your time and enjoy each moment.
Indie Does It: Name five songs currently on your playlist and what you love about them
1. Donna Missal – Keep Lying
Ashlinn Gray: Her vocals are mad on this track.
2. Ariana Grande – Thank u, next
Ashlinn Gray: I can’t get it out of my head. It’s clever and catchy.
3. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Ashlinn Gray: It’s just too beautiful for words. I’m a sucker for sad songs.
4. Lennon Stella – Bad
Ashlinn Gray: I love the lyrics and message in this song.
5. Kacey Musgrave – High Horse
Ashlinn Gray: She’s one of the few country artists I like. I love the chorus on this song.