At LD, we’re all about empowered, talented young women with a message and Erica Ashley is just that. At only 15 years old, she has already collaborated with rapper Jor-G, appeared in “The Vocalist” magazine and toured with Aaron Carter (among many other accomplishments). We had the great pleasure of interviewing Ms. Ashley about her past, her future and what keeps her going in the crazy business that is making music.
Down to Earth and super sweet, Erica Ashley is the type of artist you want to support for more than just her talent. She was the classic music lover as a 12-year-old girl, who grew up singing in her childhood bathroom, the neighborhood grocery store and her sixth grade choir. Her uncle and co-writer, Ian MacGregor is a producer at PopRiot music group and helped her get started professionally. Heavily influenced by “Paramore[’s] stage presence, sound, and energy, Adele[’s] soulfulness [and] Sara Bareille[’s] melodies and harmonies,” Erica quickly grew from extracurricular singer to full on pop performer.
In the past year, her music took on new meaning, as Erica lost her dear friend Chris to suicide. Following his tragic passing, Erica wrote a song entitled “Me Against The World,” (MATW) documenting her personal experience losing someone so close, unexpectedly. Erica describes MATW as “probably the most personal song I’ve written. [It’s] surreal that something so crazy happened. [I] need to share the message of teen suicide and don’t want other people to go through this.”
In fact, Erica admits that her most memorable experience to date was performing MATW live when opening up for Aaron Carter. Ashley admits to being scared that she would break down performing such an emotional song, “It was incredible to see the whole audience engaged in the song and the comments and tweets [I got] after about people connecting and relating to that experience made it incredible.” In an effort to bring awareness to teen suicide, all of the proceeds of MATW go to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. To purchase the song on iTunes and help support the #EndSuicide campaign, click HERE.
In regards to being a role model, Erica believes you should “not just sing to sing but sing to have a message. [Music] should mean something… should be relatable and universal.” Powerful words from such a young woman. When asked what she would say to anyone considering suicide or experiencing similar feelings of hopelessness, Erica said, “Things do get better. They are not alone.” Erica has dealt with these feelings herself and wants to share that message of hope.
We asked Ashley what it feels like to perform in front of a live audience having come from such humble beginnings, and she told us, “it’s an adrenaline rush.” Her photo has already been in Times Square. Ashley said, “it didn’t process through my brain. My mom sent me the picture and I saw it after school. It doesn’t seem real. I’m so grateful because a lot of people don’t have this opportunity. A girl from Richmond, Va. getting to be seen in Times Square. Crazy seeing my face that big!” Ashley says she stays “normal” by being in school and hanging with her friends. She also admits she is a huge gamer and loves her PS3 and The Sims.
Ashley has set the bar high for herself and we have even more to look forward to in the next year. Ashley and her uncle hope to release more music from the studio as well as a lot of upcoming shows. Ashley will be opening for Aaron Carter again, and Kingsland Road, a recent band featured on X Factor UK. Though fairly new to the industry, self proclaiming that her success to date “doesn’t seem real” as she’s usually “the one going to the concerts and fangirling,” Erica is surely on her way to a successful and impactful career as a singer, songwriter and performer. She hopes to be an inspiration to others as artists like Demi Lovato were to her.
What would she say to all the aspiring artists out there? “You should definitely go for it and have a passion for it. The worst that can happen is you get a bunch of no’s. It doesn’t hurt anything. You never know what might happen.”