…This is a very unique question that stirs up so many thoughts. There’s so many different things I’m passionate about that need attention in this world. One thing that touches me a lot of I had to choose one thing to start a movement for, it would be to end Veteran homelessness. I know there’s help out there and this is an issue that’s been addressed, but it’s an ongoing issue. It’s heartbreaking to me knowing that these men and women who have served and given us all the opportunity of freedom — things like doing what I love to do — sharing music, getting up every day to just do as I choose. Not everyone has that freedom. But as Americans, we do. These men and women have given their courage and risked their lives for us to live this way and somehow it doesn’t make sense that they are the ones living like that. No matter the reason, because I’m sure there are plenty, they don’t deserve to come back to a broken life after giving us ours.
As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Puckett. Ashley was born and raised in North Huntingdon, just east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ashley realized her passion for music at a young age, performing at vocal competitions and community events, and eventually, landing at open-mic nights and shows in bars and clubs, doing anything to keep the music and her passion alive. Her musical influences have been empowering..shaping the artist she has become: Ladies like Lee Ann Womack, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Carol King and LeAnn Rimes. At age sixteen Ashley picked up the guitar, began writing songs, and the adventurous country girl hit the road. Somewhere between skydiving and bungee jumping, Ashley was introduced to world class Singer/Songwriter/Producer, Bryan Cole and Lead Sound Engineer, Doug Kasper at Tonic Studios. With legendary musicians Mike Brignardello (bass), John Willis (banjo), Mike Johnson (Steel Guitar), Heidi Engel and Tammy Petty (Background Vocals) and hot newcomer, Adam Ernst, Ashley’s debut album and lifelong dream, “Never Say Never” was made a reality. The album will be released on MTS Records in 4th quarter 2019, with first single, “Medicine” already rising on the charts that had debuted in August.
Thank you so much for joining us Ashley! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always knew that music would continue to be my number one priority. At a very young age I knew music would be a huge part of my life. After high school I drifted a few different directions, but music was always my “home” and where I ended up.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
Honestly, the most interesting story has been the experience of really finding my identity throughout the recording process. It might seem not so interesting in words, but the experience had given me such an amazing insight on myself and where I want to go in the music industry and what I want to accomplish.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The debut of my first album is what I’ve been focusing on. All the behind the scenes stuff that goes into the project, lining up the release date, finalizing art work and such. It’s been a very exciting two years up till now preparing for it and I can’t wait to see what happens and finally get the opportunity to share what I’ve worked so hard on with everyone around the world.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
It was really cool experiencing a CMA Fest in Nashville one year. I met a lot of artists and it was really cool to interact with them and see who they really are. Allen Jackson was one of them, just so down to earth. I’ve met Joe Nichols a few times, he’s always been an inspiration to me growing up.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Those who have built such a huge career and legacy like Carol King, Patsy Cline, and Leann Rimes. They worked so hard and put in so much time and passion to have a lasting name for themselves. Same with Miranda Lambert, never giving up working hard and continues to just be herself no matter what people think. Those who show me I can keep my truth and build a reputation and a career and share my music are the ones I greatly admire.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I enjoy singing for different organizations — like the most recent one “Sharing and Caring” To assist the disabled and Vietnam Veterans in need and such opportunities like that. Although it may not change the world, it does warm hearts and put smiles on faces, and to me that’s a huge achievement. It makes me feel happy, too. I feel like I make a difference.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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 might trigger 🙂
This is a very unique question that stirs up so many thoughts. There’s so many different things I’m passionate about that need attention in this world. One thing that touches me a lot of I had to choose one thing to start a movement for, it would be to end Veteran homelessness. I know there’s help out there and this is an issue that’s been addressed, but it’s an ongoing issue. It’s heartbreaking to me knowing that these men and women who have served and given us all the opportunity of freedom — things like doing what I love to do — sharing music, getting up every day to just do as I choose. Not everyone has that freedom. But as Americans, we do. These men and women have given their courage and risked their lives for us to live this way and somehow it doesn’t make sense that they are the ones living like that. No matter the reason, because I’m sure there are plenty, they don’t deserve to come back to a broken life after giving us ours.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
You have to keep a goal and purpose in mind. It’s very easy to go for it and give it your all and not realize it until you hit that “burn out “ point, but if you stay consistent and surround yourself with the right people, work smarter not harder, and not be afraid to ask for help, and most importantly, stay happy with whatever you’re doing, it will all work out.
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. I wish I had a better idea of a road to follow (although it may not exist) to get me up the ladder in the music industry. There is so much involved and there are so many different great artists out there I feel as if as I accomplish little mile stones along the way, there’s still so much I’m missing I feel.
2. I wish someone would have told me to — or maybe pushed me to follow my dream more seriously earlier (or maybe that I would have listened haha or a combination of both). I’ve always knew Music was the right direction for me but I only wish I’d done things a little differently a bit sooner.
3. I wish I knew how hard it was to get started before I got started if that makes any sense. It’s all in how you’re promoted, who you know, having great music that fans can relate to, having a great personality, and capitol. No one really tells you how much time energy and money is spent building a foundation in the music industry. People think “oh, she has an album out- she’s making money!” There’s so much that goes into the process, and even once the album is released it really is solely dependent on your fan base that you need to focus on building which translates to your primary focus needing to be equally your music AND your fans! Branding is key. … which leads to number 4…
4. Never stop playing out at live shows and events! I took some time away from that during the recording process and even before then — and now I’m slowing my way back but live shows and live fans are what’s going to help you get where you want to be! You need to make friends with your fans and supporters — they are a huge part of your success.
5. I also wish people would have told me the secret to putting together a good band. Haha. I’ve just started going through the motions and thought processes about what I’m looking for and it’s more difficult than it sounds.
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Leann Rimes and Miranda Lambert. Both for almost the same reasons. I look up the to them both for their success, their legacy they are leaving, their dedication, their music, and such. Leann has done so much and it’s so amazing to see how she’s made a name for herself and this many years later is still seamless. Miranda, too is lovely. She’s a woman after my own heart, does as she does to make herself happy and gains friends and fans along the way and stands up for herself and never looses who she is.
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Thank you for these great insights. This was very inspiring!