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GRAMMY PREVIEW: ASHE

“Story” Telling

Singer/songwriter Ashlyn Rae Willson, AKA Ashe, has gotten a big look this year, thanks to the quirky, literate alternative-pop song “Moral of the Story,” which bounced into the mainstream thanks to a timely Netflix sync. The Mom+Pop breakout has since learned another moral: When HITS calls, don’t answer.


 Has your approach to making music and songwriting changed since you first started releasing music?
I think I’ve just become more honest overall as a writer and less concerned about making other people happy. Funny enough, I always feel like the more detailed and honest I get, typically, the more people are able to uniquely connect to the music.

2020 has been a strange year, to say the least. Do you think this quarantine period has been useful for you as a songwriter?
I think it’s been useful in some ways; my executive producer, Leroy Clampitt, and I started writing solely at the piano or the acoustic guitar, since we’ve been mainly outdoors at a safe social distance. It’s been nice—that way we get to strictly focus on the songwriting and storytelling of the song, not the whole production of it right away. Getting the story right is the first and most important part; everything else is ancillary.

What are some artists you’re currently listening to or would like to collaborate with in the future?
I’ve been listening to older records mainly, a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Beach Boys, Joni, Carole King. But someone I’ve always wanted to collaborate with is Miley Cyrus. I think she’s got some really keen vintage sensibilities that I love and respect— I feel like there’s a lot I could learn from her as an honest, unapologetic artist.

Your sync on Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You really boosted your career, and now you have a remix with Niall Horan. Is this what you saw yourself achieving five years ago?
I hadn’t the slightest clue where I’d end up—five years ago, I was graduating from Berklee College of Music with an orchestral-writing degree and didn’t think I had what it took to be an “artist.” I’m proud of where things have landed, but part of that is allowing life to take the twists and turns necessary to achieve things you never thought possible. The fact that we’re even having a conversation about Grammy considerations is magical and strange. Five years ago, I’d have felt like a crazy person for thinking of it.

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