Fueled by her own lofty aspirations and a love for music passed down from her father, Ashlie Amber is ready to leave her mark on Country Music. The Colorado based artist is set to release her first self-penneed song, Those Nights, next Friday and she could not be more excited for this part of her journey.
Recently I had the chance to speak with Ashlie about everything from her upcoming release, to the relationship between country radio and female artists.
Worlds Of Country: How would you describe your musical style?
Ashlie: My musical style is very “country-vogue” . “Country-vogue” stands for country but also fashion at the same time and it is kind of eclectic, sometimes there is RnB influence, sometimes it is country-country, and sometimes it has more of a pop-rock influence, so it depends on the song and that creates a different kind of feel. I would say “country-vogue” is a little bit of everything incorporated into this incredible genre of music and I would say at it’s core it is always country.
Worlds Of Country: What artists influenced this musical style?
Ashlie: I would say a lot of different artists influenced this style. Some of the first music I was exposed to was Shania Twain and I think that she is the definition of “country-vogue”, she doesn’t have that traditional twang and when she hit the scene she was very fashion forward as well, she was not the typical girl next door girl country image. In terms of my writing there’s a lot of Shania and Faith Hill, my writing is very quirky. Those Nights is definitely more of a sexy song, it has little bit of Shania with the sultry voice. I’m definitely a mix of those two along with other artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. I think I have a little bit of each of those people depending on the song.
Worlds Of Country: Do you see this style fitting in with what country music is today?
Ashlie: Country music has evolved so much and you can see the transition with a lot of pop influences. Now, with Kane Brown and Sam Hunt there is a lot of RnB influences. So, country music has evolved but it’s a lot more on the men’s side. Whereas, the women have stayed far more traditional. I’m basically just merging the two together, because why do the guys get to have all the fun? I just read an article on K. Michelle and she summed it up in a brilliant way, we are not trying to change the sound of country music we’re just trying to change the color. I’m working with top Nashville musicians who’ve worked with everyone from Brett Young to Reba and songwriters who’ve written number one’s for Tim McGraw. I’m using all these people but at the same time incorporating a lot of the sound that the guys get to get away with.
Worlds Of Country: How did you get fortunate enough to work with all of these top people?
Ashlie: I say the universe always has signs and it’ll lead you right where you need to be. I was actually performing and my now manager Don Ellis Gatlin, he just happened to be in the audience and came up to me after the show and we started talking. He mentioned about country and I told him that I always wanted to be the “Beyoncé of country”, and he thought that was a great idea. We just started talking and he started to name drop so I kind of tuned him out. He gave me his business card and he was exactly who he said he was. So, I reached and thanked him and told I’d love to work together in the future but I’m just not ready now. We stayed in touch over two years and then I reached out and told him that I was ready. He was all in and because of his connections in Nashville, he was able to set everything up.
Worlds Of Country: When did you know music was what you wanted to do with your life?
Ashlie: I knew from a very young age that music was going to be a huge part of my life. I started singing when I was six years old, my father was the one who told me that I could sing. I’ll definitely never forget that and he’s since passed away. We were always very active in sports so singing was just kind of for fun. It wasn’t until a few years later when my dad got sick and passed away that I used music to really deal with my pain and grieve and through that I learned that music was what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve been very fortunate to perform and travel the world for almost a decade and I’m really thankful. Life throws you curve balls and I’m a firm believer that you have to swing the bat and take your chances. I do music because I love it, it’s in my blood but also it’s in memory of and in celebration of my dad.
Worlds Of Country: What’s the story behind your upcoming single Those Nights?
Ashlie: This song is a bit sexy. It’s very fun and it’s about that early stage of a relationship when you’re just so infatuated with each other and just want to be with each other. It’s also a song about spending time with your best friend, there are lines in the song about laughing, of course you need that fire and passion in a relationship but you also need that friendship. I wrote it based off an incredible relationship that I had and even though we are no longer together that doesn’t mean that I have to take away from the amazing time that we spent together. My writing is very positive so I always try to focus on the really good side of relationships or situations instead of the negative part.
Worlds Of Country: What would you say has been you biggest obstacle trying to make a career in country music?
Ashlie: I would say the biggest obstacle right now is the lack of diversity, not just from a racial perspective but just a lack of women. If you look at the stats and just look at the Spotify top 100 playlist and it’s 85% male. The same with the radio they are I think 90% dominated by males. Being a woman in country music is difficult to begin with and then you factor in my ethnicity and it gets even more difficult. There has never been a black woman with a top 40 hit on country radio. There isn’t research to show that we can be successful and at the end of the day this is a business so they go with what they know works. The whole tomato-gate theory kind of shifted the game a created a more male dominated industry, when I was growing up you had all of these incredible women dominating the charts, like Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Reba, Leann Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, Sara Evans, you had so many women dominating the charts but then this shift happened and ever since then it’s been really hard to try to get that back. I’m not here to say “I’m not getting time because I’m a black artist”, I’m an artist, above everything else I’m a person, I’m a strong woman and I work really hard. I want the labels and the fans to be like, she has such a great voice, she has such a cool look, her branding is amazing. I want them to focus on everything else and then in addition to that I want them to acknowledge that I am a black woman.
Be sure to check out Ashlie’s new single Those Nights when it comes out next Friday! You can pre-save the song by clicking this link. https://orcd.co/ashlieamber
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