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Featured Artist Interview | Ashlinn Gray

Posted By: Candice Anne Marshall On:


Ashlinn Gray

By Candice Anne Marshall

IMM – Hello Ashlinn! Welcome to Indie Music Monday (IMM)! I always like to ask what the Artists first reaction was when they found out they were being hosted on the front page of our site – what was your reaction?

AG – I got the email and obviously, a smile jumped onto my face. I was super happy!

IMM – So let’s start with the accumulation of events that lead to where you are at this point in your career – can you tell us where you began and how music became an important part of your life?

AG – I have always been interested in the arts since the age of 8, and acting came naturally to me. However, when I was 10 years old, my sister who can naturally sing, took me to her singing lesson. I was terrible but I really loved it so I kept practicing and doing competitions. Eventually at church, my worship leader asked if I was serious about singing and I said yes. So, we started writing songs together and the first song I wrote, Battleships, was released and did very well. It took off from there.

IMM – You are a Singer-Songwriter AND an Actress – Wow! Can you share with us how the two worlds have come together for you?

AG – Well I see them both using the same instrument, your body. And while you’re singing, you need to access the emotions an actor would need to when they’re working. In a way, I’ve combined the two for now as time doesn’t always allow for me to focus on the acting as much as my singing career, but they both have equal amount of space in my heart.

IMM – Your discography is extensive and is very impressive! I read that you have been writing since you were 16 and you are 19 now – that’s a lot in such a short time-span. Can you tell us what your muse is?

AG – I guess you could say people in general are my muse. I am inspired by the people around me and I like to right about my experiences with them.

IMM – I have listened to your music as well and its beautiful – very unique. When you are writing songs, are you thinking about how they can apply to film?

AG – When I write, it’s about the story or message I am wanting to tell. I don’t specifically think about applying it to film. But once a song is finished, I do think to myself where it could be placed when it comes to film and television.

IMM – I read in your bio on your website that singing was a challenge for you growing up. How so?

AG – I wasn’t a natural singer. I had a unique voice, but it was difficult for it to sound good all the time. So, while practicing my technique, I got better, but it wasn’t an easy road. I really had to work hard and practice a lot. As a child, competitions weren’t easy especially knowing the work that went into getting my voice to where it was each year.

IMM – In reference to the last question, how did you overcome this challenge?

AG – I believe you can overcome anything with the right attitude and persistence. So, that’s exactly what I did. I made sacrifices and kept at working my craft, even when I wasn’t seen as “the singer” or when I was told I wasn’t good enough.

IMM – You are an Ed Sheeran fan as well! I am too! Love his new music – what are your thoughts on the new ‘Divide’ album so far with the three new releases?

AG – How can you not love them. His stories are just beautiful and the songs he has released so far off the album are fantastic. He never disappoints.

IMM – Who would be your dream Artist to collaborate with for a new single?

AG – I would love to collaborate with a South African rapper – Nasty C. But if I could collab with my dream artist/duo, it would be Twenty One Pilots.

IMM –  Are there any instruments that you play?

AG – I play the guitar and piano.

IMM – When you are writing a sing, what is the general ‘theme’ behind it – how is that generated?

AG – I have always wanted to inspire people so I guess that’s my general theme. When you’re writing music, you know what you generally gravitate towards and my thing is looking at the dark and light side of things and remembering the it’s important to stay true to yourself through everything.

IMM – It looks like you’ve received a lot of media support as well – can you tell us which media platforms you would like to give a ‘shout-out’ to and why?

AG – I’d love to give a shout out to Reverbnation. They have helped me gain fans all over the world, which is fantastic. They’re really supportive!

IMM – What was your most memorable moment performing live?

AG – My favorite performances are when everybody is having a good time. I remember this one time when everyone was sitting a listening to my slower, meaningful songs and when I started picking up the energy with the fun songs, they were dancing. It turned into a party! It’s always great to know your audience is enjoying the music, after all, the music is for them.

IMM – Have you been played on Radio? Which stations would you like to give a shout out to?

AG – I want to shout out to 5FM, UCT Radio and 94.7.

IMM – Your self-titled EP released February 2015 and is a true reflection, I feel, of your Art – since this release, how do you feel your art has improved or changed since then?

AG – I feel like I’m finding my sound more and more as I write and record. I’m also growing up more, so my goal is to allow my music to grow up with me but never stop it from being fresh.

IMM – Your ‘Finding Home’ music video that was released January 27th 2017 is stunning! Can you tell us who the creative team was behind it?

AG – I co-wrote it with my two friends, Howie Combrink and Rici Martins. They both also produced the song and the video team behind it was Witch and Wizard Productions.

IMM – What is the synopsis behind the song ‘Finding Home’?

AG – Finding Home is out that journey of letting go of the things that hood you back from being the best version of yourself and knowing that you’re not alone. Sometimes we find comfort in our insecurities and therefore we don’t want to say goodbye to them. However, we must learn to be brave and let them go in order to reach our full potential.

IMM – I also noticed that you want to be an influence on younger girls – how so?

AG – I have three younger sisters, so my whole life so far, I believe I have been a role model to them, and I guess that role of mine has filtered into my passions and career. In South Africa, our music scene specifically doesn’t have many female role models. I have always had a passion for girls knowing their worth and for people in general to go for their dreams. I want to influence young girls to reach for their dreams, love themselves, and the people around them.

IMM – I read that you are also very faithful to your church – how has your faith affected your music in terms of song writing? We know many Artists whose lyrics are cleverly woven into their lyrics….

AG – In my first song, Battleships, I remember writing the lyrics “I won’t let them win, He’s got another plan” which then later changed to “I won’t let them win, we’ve got another plan”, but the intention of the lyric always stood. In my lyrics of “Finding Home” I saw “I’m not alone.” and I wrote that because I know that God is walking beside me. So, a lot of lyrics reference my spirituality even though it’s not directly written. I have this talent because of Him and I never want to forget that and it will always be seen in my writing if you look close enough.

IMM –  I read that you also grew up with a family of talented people. Can you tell us how many siblings are in your family and what their talents are?

AG – My three younger sisters can all sing and act, the youngest two can also dance. They’re more involved in the musical theatre and film side of the industry. I am always amazed by how talented they are.

IMM – Did you ever feel like it was a challenge being raised in a family of talented people?

AG – It was definitely a challenge when it came to the singing. I was always known as the actress; the others were known as the singers and dancers. Eventually when my love for singing grew, it was tough to change the perception of my family and friends as well as myself. Because of those prior expectations, you have to change your mindset as well as the people around you. It sometimes felt like a competition between all of us, but at the end of the day we really did support one another and love each of the talents each sister has.

IMM –  What is your peer support like?

AG – I had a small group of friends who all supported me. I also had people in my circle via association with the arts that didn’t necessarily support me or root for me. I was the underdog and had to fight for the respect of those people, but I wouldn’t have had it any way. It made me work even harder.

IMM – What has the family support been like?

AG – My family has always supported my talents. Some took convincing about them being used to make a career but now they’re really proud of my achievements and always support when they can!

IMM – Can you tell us five things about you that no one else really knows?

AG –

  • I am quite artsy and I can do things like embroidery and paint.
  • I love doing make up for myself and people. It’s so relaxing and fun.
  • My favorite words are: rusks (say it out loud) and charisma.
  • I do boxing every day. It’s my favorite kind of work out.
  • I used to be a nerd in school, I thought math tests were fun.

IMM – Okay, final question – What are your plans for the next 3-6 months in terms of your career? Are there any tour dates in there?

AG – I am looking to release more music this year, as well as add some cool factors to my live show. I’m working in South Africa for the first half of the year and then venturing out as the second half commences!

IMM – Thank you Ashlinn!

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Ashlinn Gray’s Social Media Links (click to view):

Website 

SoundCloud 

Facebook 

YouTube 

Twitter (@ashlinngray)

Instagram 

Reverbnation 


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