…I think it is incredibly important. I believe that we become a product of what we see, hear and witness in the environment around us. So it is therefore incredibly important that we remain vigilant to how this can affect, especially young viewers, in an era where all creative media is so widely accessible. To have the vast majority of television cast mainly white males in positions of power plays to the narrative that is at the very foundation of systematic racism worldwide. To diversify these mediums will only accelerate change.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ashley Singh. Ashley is a singer-songwriter from Stratford, London. Inspired by the likes of Coldplay, FINNEAS and Joni Mitchell, Ashley loves the art of storytelling. His artist project officially started in November 2019, when his debut single ‘Through The Pain’ was released. Ashley had previously been focusing on writing and has written with artists such as Wretch 32, Stefflon Don, Rymez, Jasmine Jethwa, KamiKwazi and Natalie 2V.
Previous to the beginning of his artist project, Ashley had accompanied Aeris Roves and Mae Muller on multiple UK and European tours.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Stratford, East London and come from a working class background. I had a charmed upbringing and have been fortunate to have undying support from my family and friends.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I had previous flirtations with music in my youth. I messed around on the guitar a lot when I was younger but this didn’t last long. My interest was sparked again in secondary school when I heard my friend Kris play. It sounded so cool that I just knew I had to rekindle my interest in the instrument. I started teaching myself using YouTube aged 14 and then started writing songs. I have not stopped ever since.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was asked to support Gavin James at a small show at the Gibson show rooms a couple of years ago. I am a big fan of Gavin so it was a massive honour for me. My main inspiration in music is Coldplay and after the show Gavin gave me a few guitar plectrums that he had been given earlier that day during a Spotify live session recording. He said to me ‘These plectrums were left at the studios by Chris Martin, here have them’. It was an incredible feeling to hold something real and tangible in my hands that had come from two of my main musical inspirations. From Coldplay, to Gavin James, to me, it felt like an affirmation.
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?
There was a charity gig that I did when I was about 17. As I walked onto the stage, I accidentally tripped on my jack lead which then came out of my guitar with a loud bang. It was not the best introduction to the audience.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am mainly working on my own artist project. I have some great friends who I collaborate with regularly and that always helps the process.
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?
I think it is incredibly important. I believe that we become a product of what we see, hear and witness in the environment around us. So it is therefore incredibly important that we remain vigilant to how this can affect, especially young viewers, in an era where all creative media is so widely accessible. To have the vast majority of television cast mainly white males in positions of power plays to the narrative that is at the very foundation of systematic racism worldwide. To diversify these mediums will only accelerate change.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Not every song you write has to be amazing. I feel a lot of artists, including myself, get down hearted whenever we write something that isn’t up to our standards or that people don’t react to positively. The key is definitely to keep writing and not to stop, because it is only by exercising that muscle, that the songs become better and better.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Most damaging thing you can do.
- There is a space for everyone’s art in the world. There are a lot of people on the planet and your future fan base is just waiting for you to make the first step.-
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Keep going, do not stop. Think big dreams and understand that those dreams can become a reality. It is your mindset that is the only thing that can stop them from realizing their potential.
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. 🙂
I’m vegan and I believe that the way we treat animals is barbaric. It is not only bringing harm to them but also to our own environment. The sooner we shift our mindsets to one of ‘love for all’ the better.
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?
I am grateful for so many people. My parents for always allowing me to be open minded and never standing in the way of my passions or desires. My music teachers at school, Mr Thompson, Mr Broadbent and Ms Brockett for always encouraging me. My Drama teacher Ms Waldron, who continues to mentor me and to set a positive example through her actions. ELAM, my music college, for providing me with the opportunities to excel and for continuing to support me constantly. My friend and mentor, ProducerWez, for musically helping me to flourish and my managers Tops and Tobi for believing in me always. In addition to this, another person is Phillip Allinson from the Jack Petchey Foundation, who gave me my first ever live performance opportunity.
There will always be people to support you. The key is recognising the ones that do and supporting them back. They are the people you want with you always.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Something is only difficult if you say it is. Whenever you feel yourself using ‘but it’s hard’ as an excuse, shift it to ‘No, this is easy’
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. 🙂
Chris Martin. Coldplay are my biggest inspiration. Chris always spreads a message of love for all and his passion for life is infectious.
How can our readers follow you online?
@ashleysingh___ on Insta and twitter. All my other social links are available easily at ashleyingh.com
On Spotify and all other streaming services, it is just Ashley Singh.