"Country is no longer traditional or conventional, and projects like mine are helping redefine what that new norm looks like" We chat with Ashlie Amber
Hey Ashlie, first question... where are you right now?
I’m home in beautiful Las Vegas. I just returned from a successful trip to Nashville laying down some new music, doing radio interviews and meeting with some amazing people.
Tell us a bit about you, what do you do for fun?
Well, fun has a different definition these days. I just binged all 23 Marvel movies in sequential order, had multiple Harry Potter marathons, lots of gym love and wasting my life on Tik Tok.
You’re from Colorado, which I guess isn’t thought of as a traditional country music state; what was your first experience of listening to country?
My first experience listening to Country was LeAnn Rimes… 'How Do I Live'. I fell in love with her voice and wanted to master her yodel.
You’d be surprised by Colorado! Country singers and fans are everywhere. Country is no longer traditional or conventional and projects like mine are helping redefine what that new norm looks like.
You released your latest single, 'My Revenge', in April, what can you tell me about it?
It’s a beautifully orchestrated song with all live instruments, including a cello. The song was produced by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning producer Jamie Tate, written by Rachel Thibodeau and Amy Foster, recorded in Nashville at the famous Rukkus Room.
What can we expect from you next, another single, an album, or an EP?
All of the above! And in the meantime, I’m releasing live acoustic sessions, podcasts, interviews and an exclusive look in the studio from my recording project in Nashville so you can join me on the journey. Make sure to stay tuned to all my socials: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok.
If you could choose one song to record a cover version of, what would it be, and what kind of treatment would you give it?
I’m constantly covering artists all the time so it’s hard to just pick one song. For me, it’s important to maintain the integrity of the song while still making it my own. Some of the favorite covers I’ve done are by Maren Morris, Whitney Houston and Prince.
Lots of people talk about Spotify streams and chart positions; what does success look like for you?
Success is doing what I love to do. Of course I want to go viral on Spotify and have a Number One single but at the end of the day, I just want to make good music and connect with my fans.
Gender and diversity are much discussed in the music industry, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
From personal experience, I have been booked to headline shows where they will only hire one female for every five males. Which in turn limits the opportunities to work and how much women are paid. I have experienced a man earning more than me for the same job. Obviously this is a real problem. Then there’s Tomato Gate, a ridiculous theory that women can’t be played back to back on the radio without a decline in ratings. It’s hard to believe that’s still a thing. But it is just Google it.
There’s also a lot of conversation at the moment about black artists in country music, why do you think there are a relatively small number of black artists in the genre?
It’s not an easy question to answer. Is it lack of interest from record labels? Or maybe up and coming black artists don’t view country as a viable option due to the lack of representation in the genre. In my opinion, it should be a healthy collaboration between artist and record labels, with their full support and equal opportunities given to all other artists.
Give me a flavor of the kind of music you listen to in your spare time.
Music is just like ice cream - if it’s good its good! But I would say I listen mostly to country with a mix of hip-hop at the gym.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Willie Jones. He’s a black country & hip-hop singer/songwriter who is currently signed with Black River Publishing, just released a brand new EP and is breaking boundaries!
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
“Why am I so passionate about this project in country music”
Country is a genre that I love and grew up with. I want the world to see that country music also looks like me, a curvy black woman with a giant Mohawk. It represents any person who wants to sing it.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Grande Soy Vanilla Latte – extra hot ☺