“Be ready for a million “No’s” before you get the 1 big “Yes!”” — In the music industry or in any entertainment industry there will always be a million times you get a no. I’ve certainly had my fair share of those! Lol. Don’t let that hinder your success or dreams. Go after it and always work hard and become better, that’s my motto!
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ashlee Keating.
Billboard chart sensation, dancer, songwriter, and actress, Ashlee Keating is a true multifaceted talent that is sure to make 2020 her year. Her newest single, “YASSS”, released earlier this year, is a fun pop/dance tune with an up-tempo/upbeat sound, and focuses on feeling the best version of yourself. It is sure to make listeners want to dance. Ashlee is highly regarded in the LGBTQ+ industry as a supporter and activist, and she wrote this song with her LGBTQ+ friends in mind — she wants to give them the confidence through her music that they give her when she performs.
Preceding “YASSS” is her most recent single “Hurt Me So Good”, which was written and produced by Timbaland’s Anthem Entertainment/Bluestone Publishing. The song skyrocketed up the Billboard Dance Charts to #8 within days, and has already amassed over 1 million streams on Spotify. Following “Hurt Me So Good”, Ashlee’s “Bad Mistake” was released as her #1 breakout song and held its own on the Billboard Dance charts at #20 for weeks.
Ashlee has worked with some of the industry’s best, including Grammy-nominated Sean Douglas; the multi-platinum songwriter and producer has created hits for Demi Lovato, Bebe Rexha, Fifth Harmony, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera.
Born in Southern New Jersey, Ashlee is truly an Italian, “Jersey Girl” at heart. She moved to Los Angeles in her early teens to pursue her career. The songstress got her debut at just six years old, landing the lead role of “Gretl” in The Sound of Music on Broadway, where she starred alongside Richard Chambarlain in the National Tour. Shortly after, she played the leading role of Annie at the famous Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA — to which she was no stranger to — she had previously played the role of Molly in the same play at just four! Ashlee would go on to be selected as a contestant to be on CBS Star Search — which then lead to her selection for a spot as Radio Disney’s “up and coming artist” on their Incubator Program. Ashlee has opened for artists like Demi Lovato, Keke Palmer, and Raven Symone.
With all this under her belt already, Ashlee is set to become a household name within the next few years. Not just as a pop star, but as a brand, entrepreneur, actress, and philanthropist. When Ashlee isn’t busy traveling to the world, attending fashion week, writing chart-topping songs, or participating in gay rights productions, she enjoys working out and makes sure to meditate daily to keep her sanity.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
AK: Thanks for having me! I grew up in a small town in Southern New Jersey. I grew up with my parents and one older brother. Music and performing were always what I LIVED for!! I also grew up playing many sports and being a normal kid as well as being in the entertainment industry.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
AK: Well…when I was born, I was destined to be a performer! When I was only 3 years old, I was discovered and asked to perform on a TV showcase on ABC Philadelphia called Al Alberts TV Showcase. I loved every minute of it!! Singing, performing, and being in front of the camera was just so natural to me and I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life! No “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s”! The rest was history!
A few years later at the age of 5, I landed a leading role in The Sound of Music on Broadway and then the National Tour playing Gretl. At the age of 10 I had auditioned to be on the TV showcase on CBS called Star Search. I ended up having the most amazing opportunity of competing on the show and it was my first time to Los Angeles! From that point on, I always knew I wanted to be a Pop recording artist and move to LA!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
AK: I had the opportunity to open for Demi Lovato for a concert in Philadelphia, PA. I got to meet her very briefly backstage after she performed. She was super sweet. Before my performance, they had rushed me to the stage because a thunder and lightning storm was coming. I had a great show and after I finished, I had an autograph signing and people rushed over to meet me at my meet and greet table. I couldn’t believe how many people were there wanting to meet me and buy my merchandise! It began to pour rain, and no one left, they just kept standing in line. I sold out all of my merchandise! The fans were so amazing I loved them so much. The funniest moment of the day was when I was trying to leave the fans rushed and followed me to my car chasing after me. My family, brother and his friend had to act as my bodyguards pretty much so we could safely get in the car haha. It was such an amazing day and experience I’ll never forget!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
AK: When I was on Star Search, I had won my round and I was super excited, probably a little too much! Lol. I had gone to hug my competitor and I was wearing butterfly clips in my hair and my clips got caught in her hair and we were literally stuck together and we couldn’t detach. This was super funny yet embarrassing at the same time because I was on national television in front of a live audience and thousands of viewers. Yikes! Lol lesson learned, never wear hair clips that might get caught in someone’s hair while hugging them on national TV!! Haha.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
AK: Interesting projects have definitely been doing virtual concerts/performances and connecting with my fans fully on a virtual basis. It has been interesting, but cool in many ways adapting to the times given the circumstances with the Corona Virus. I started a new series on my YouTube channel called “Sofa Sessions w/Ashlee: Live Quarantine Covers” which is very raw. It’s just me, my phone on the couch or floor, my voice singing live, and my guitar sometimes. That’s been really fun and I’m happy people have been loving it. My music has really saved me and kept me going during this pandemic. Exciting things are definitely this new music I’m working on and many other things in the works ;). Stay tuned!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
AK: I think it’s important to show different cultures as well as different sexual preferences and race. In today’s society, the world is very diverse and shares all walks of life. In order for TV and film to be relevant and relatable, it needs to have stories that share those different things in order to transpire onto the viewers. Diversity is very important.
It affects our culture because TV and film is how we essentially see ourselves sometimes. We live through the relatable stories and moments that are captured through the screen. If we don’t have diversity which is the world we live in today, how can people relate?
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. “Never lose sight of who you are” — Letting my music and my brand reflect me and my personality no matter what style or what I’m doing! Always have “me” transpire.
2. “Learn at a young age to accompany yourself with singing on an instrument you like” — Recently, I have picked up the acoustic guitar during quarantine and I really love it!
3. “Journal your thoughts and turn them into lyrics and then songs” — I always had a natural ability to be a songwriter, but never knew it or had the confidence until 3 years ago. My songwriting ideas always come from thoughts and melody turning them into songs.
4. “Take every opportunity that comes your way, you never know where or what it may lead to. It could be your ultimate dream!” — The opportunity to be on CBS Star Search opened up many doors for me and was my realization of wanting to pursue pop music as my career. It also led me to travel to Los Angeles for the first time. You never know what’s next!
5. “Be ready for a million “No’s” before you get the 1 big “Yes!”” — In the music industry or in any entertainment industry there will always be a million times you get a no. I’ve certainly had my fair share of those! Lol. Don’t let that hinder your success or dreams. Go after it and always work hard and become better, that’s my motto!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
AK: Find a good circle of friends, family, and co-workers to surround yourself with. Working and being with the right people can really make a difference! You have to make it be fun and exciting even while working hard. That’s what helps me not burn out and love what I do even more than I already do every day.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
AK: Awe thank you. Despite what is going on in the world right now I am a huge supporter and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. In today’s society, any sort of racism should never exist! Period! The color of one’s skin, religious preferences, or sexual preferences should not define a person. We are all created equal. We are one race, the human race.
I am also a huge supporter and believer in women empowerment. I believe us women should all lift each other up and inspire one another! We should be able to access the opportunities to us without limitations.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
AK: This is very true. To be honest, I can’t say one particular person. I am so grateful for the many people who have helped me achieve my success, where I’m at now and where I’m headed.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
AK: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This quote is what I believe and stand for. Never give up on your dreams, live every day working towards them.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
AK: I would love to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with the iconic Clive Davis. He is one of the music industry’s most innovative and influential executives and has also signed many of my favorite artists. It would be such an honor to meet & talk with him about his experiences in the music industry, how the music business has changed over the years, what sparks an interest in him to sign an artist, and where he sees the music industry going in the near future.
How can our readers follow you online?
AK: You can check out my new single “YASSS” and my other original music on all streaming platforms by searching Ashlee Keating!
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashleekeating @ashleekeating
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!