Singer/Songwriter Mason Ashley Sits Down With TMI For An Exclusive Interview

So you started your music career at a very young age, did you always know you wanted to be a singer?

I started writing when I was 9 and performing when I was 12. There has not been any doubt in my mind since then that this is what I want to be doing. I’ve known that this is my passion from the moment I started.

What inpsired you to try music at all?

I have always been a huge music fan. We always had some album on in the house and I grew up loving music. My dad is an amazing musician and can play a lot of instruments and my mom is a beautiful singer, so I also have a very musical family, even though none of them are songwriters. I remember being nine years old and listening to Taylor Swift and changing the lyrics on her songs to lyrics that fit my life. So I think one day I just thought “hey..maybe I could actually write my own songs.” And I did. I also started playing guitar at nine years old when my grandpa was throwing away a fifty year old, beat up Conn guitar. I saved it from the dumpster and I shut myself in my bedroom for days teaching myself simple chords. I honestly don’t remember a point in my life when I wasn’t inspired by music.

How would you describe your musical style and how did you get into this style of music?

I have a really hard time describing my sound… but it’s kind of a mix of indie/singer-songwriter/pop and it has some throwback influences too. I like a lot of 80’s/90’s guitar and keyboard sounds and I find it interesting to mix those sounds with more singer/songwriter type lyrics. I’m inspired by so many different types of music, so I draw from a variety of artists and genres when I write and it somehow works in production and creates my style.

What artists do you look up to right now?

I have to say that The 1975 is my favorite band at the moment. They have such a throwback 80’s sound that blends perfectly with modern themes and every playlist on my phone has at least one of their songs in it. They’re definitely my go-to band. I also love OneRepublic for their unique music production and Seinabo Sey for her lyrics.

What are your friends and parents thoughts on your career in singing?

I honestly have been blessed with the most supportive friends and family. They have never tried to push me in a different direction or discourage this career. I could not be more grateful for the people that God has blessed me with. My parents have poured so much of their time and love and money into my music and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Creative. Stubborn. Passionate. Messy. Sassy.

Did you write the songs for your EP “Strangers”? If yes, whats the process for you to write one of your songs?

I wrote every song on “Strangers” by myself. My songwriting process is very messy and unpredictable, like most things in my life. I always write best when I’m inspired and not when. I make myself write. I normally get lyric ideas first and they’ll come at very random times.. in the car, in the grocery store, even sometimes listening to other music. I’ll write down the lyrics that come to me and try to build music around them.

What was the process like creating your EP?

This EP had a pretty unique process. Instead of waiting on all of the songs for the record to be written, we started recording the two songs that I knew I wanted on there and then waited for the other songs to come. So as I wrote new songs, we would pick the best and then start recording them as they came. Fun fact: we were almost done recording all the songs when the title track, “Strangers”, came along. The project was originally going to be called “Paper Planes” and then I wrote “Strangers” and it just fit the record perfectly.

What would you say is the main topic in your EP “Strangers”?

“Strangers” is very much inspired by complications. Most of the songs come from a mix of emotions and late at night thoughts. The main theme is relationship. It’s mostly about how I’m affected by different situations and how I deal with them. We all have different ways of coping, and writing is mine.

Are the songs on the EP based on real events/stories?

Every song on “Strangers” is based on a real experience in my life. I mean, I exaggerate a lot of the stories, but they’re all very real. The album is really a diary of the past two years of my life.

Can we expect any new music videos soon? If so can you spill some details about them?

I have two new music videos that are actually in the editing process right now. They will be realeased in the next few months and I can’t WAIT for everyone to see them. I’m staying pretty secretive about them but I will give a few hints… one video includes a full band performance and a pretty cute love-ish story. And one involves masks, unbelievably haunting dance choreography, and I got to wear a wig for some of it.

What is the process to make a “Mason Ashley” music video? How do you come up with the ideas for your Vids?

I work with an incredible team, Burning Lakes Productions, and they are really the masterminds behind the videos. They’re very creative people and their ability to capture emotion on camera through visual imagery is amazing. They came up with the ideas for the videos and I basically show up and do the easy part and help explain the vision for the song when needed.

Did you have a “break out” song that started things for you with your followers?

My first record “Into the Song” was much more folk/Americana than this record. They have two completely different sounds. So one of the songs called “For a Moment” got a radio play all over the country on folk and even country radio stations.

Whats your favorite song to perform live?

Show and Tell. It’s the last song on “Strangers” and it makes me emotional every time I play it. Singing it always takes me back to when I wrote it.

Whats the feeling you get when on stage and you hear people singing your songs back to you?

I love it. I love watching people connect with my music… it’s honestly the best feeling in the world.

Does your fanbase have a name? Would you want to give them a name?

They don’t have a name…but if I were clever enough to come up with a name, I think eventually that would be pretty cute.

How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?

I love when artists have real and personal relationships with their fans and that’s how I want to be too.

What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?

I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to connect with my fans.

What’s an average day for “Mason Ashley” look like?

My life outside of music is pretty normal. I get up, get a cappuccino from my favorite small coffee shop, then go to cosmetology school…(I also do hair). I leave school at four and normally stop for a second coffee on my way home. My evenings usually full of yoga, writing, or binge-watching a TV series I’ve seen a million times… The Office is my favorite.

If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

It would…without a doubt.. be titled: It’s Complicated.

Who would you want to play you?

Julia Roberts. She is my favorite actress of all time. She’s quite a bit older than me and we look nothing alike but I absolutely love her.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your singing career so far?

I think my most memorable accomplishment was hearing myself on the radio for the first time. It had always been a dream of mine and I remember being very emotional listening to a song I worked so hard on. My family was all staying at a lake house in Dallas, Texas and we all got up early to listen to the song being played at 7 a.m. I’ll never forget it.

Whats the best thing thats come out of this career so far?

The best thing for me is honestly when someone tells me that my music resonated with them. I’ve gotten some very honest and detailed messages from people telling me their stories and how my music helped them through something or made them feel less alone. THAT is why I’m doing this. That’s my favorite thing about this career.

What’s your biggest struggle in this career so far?

This career is mostly based on luck and connections… nothing is certain. It’s hard to put yourself out there and just hope that people like and accept you. You definitely have to get used to being turned down, but be strong enough to keep going. I think my biggest struggle has been giving up my stories in my lyrics and making myself vulnerable and open…because I’m not really that type of person. I don’t talk about my problems or my feelings other than in my music, so to put my emotions out there for the world to hear is scary, but it’s also somehow freeing.

Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists?

Be honest. Dont be afraid to write or sing your feelings. Don’t be afraid of what people think about you. Don’t stress about hitting a bad note or being rejected… because you’re going to hit a lot of bad notes and you’re going to hear a lot of “nos”. It’s not an easy career in any way… but if you are passionate about it and willing to put your heart into it, then it is absolutely worth it. You have the power to tell your story with music and make people feel something and that’s rare.

What goals have you set out for yourself in your singing career?

My main goal is to always be real. To always believe in the power of music like I did when I first started as a nine year old kid. Aaaaand I would LOVE to someday have one of my songs in a movie soundtrack or on a TV show. Music has such an impact on film and really sets the mood for the scenes and I would love to be a part of that. That would be the coolest thing ever.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me!

Photo Credit: Travis Reinke

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