Boston Bred R&B Artist AASH talks to us about ambition, drive & recent Single "When I'm With You"
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Producer, Singer & Songwriter AASH has been applying a lot of pressure over the past couple years. As a Boston-bred, New York based, Haitian-American, AASH comes from humble beginnings. Her influences come in a wide range of musical styles and backgrounds, as she grew up in a household of Caribbean roots in Kompa to deep American Rock (think Aerosmith), to the smooth island sounds of Gloria Estefan. In 2013, she started producing her own music, and in 2014, she debuted her first single, "Can't Help Myself". Her next project SILK in the works.
Boston Culture: Where did you grow up?
AASH: I was born and raised in Brockton, MA. Growing up in Brockton was dope because the whole city is predominantly black, with people of different multicultural backgrounds and walks of life. Anywhere you turn you can find a Cape Verdean, Nigerian, or Haitian person (shout out to my Zoe's!). When I moved to New York to pursue my music career, it was definitely a culture shock. I was like, "..What do you mean yall don't play Caribbean music at the function?!" I moved to a small city outside of Brockton in elementary school and it was a complete 180 from what I was used to. It went from seeing people who look like me at every corner, to moving to a town where I was one of 3 black students in class.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about "When I'm With You". How did you get the idea?
AASH: I have a huge extended family and we're all really close. When the pandemic started in March, we started doing weekly Zoom calls to stay in touch. I was living alone so it was my only form of communication with humans at the time. My debut single, When I'm With You, was inspired by the deep gratitude I had to have loved ones and friends who were in good health, during a time where that's few and far between for some, unfortunately. The song was 80% done when a friend of mine, Jesse Gibson, hit me up and asked if he could help develop my project. He added exactly what it needed to make it fire.
Boston Culture: Was there ever a studio session when you thought. "Yo this is crazy" ?
AASH:Man, I have like 7 albums in the vault that I never released. I started writing like crazy in high school but I've always been such a perfectionist with my craft. We used to stay up until 6AM some nights writing in the studio. I'm sure I have some tracks that I thought were fire at the time, and my long time collaborator, (shout out to JP!) would say they still are, but I feel like they were stepping stones/practice to the music I'm making now. 10,000 hours is real.
Boston Culture : What made you want to create your first song and how old were you?
AASH: LOL! I wrote my first song when I was like 7. It came from just admiring who I looked up to and mimicking what I thought I had the potential to be. Still have those notebooks of the first few songs I ever wrote. I'm never throwing those away.
Boston Culture : What was the best advice you got early in your career?
AASH: "Don't let your pursuit of perfection be the hindrance of your growth"
Boston Culture : What do you dislike about the art world/music industry?
AASH: Clout. I love social media for opening doors for independent artists but I hate it for making artists feel like likes and engagement are more important than the music. I wish artists could exist in a bubble like they used to. Maybe the streaming platforms should create a new "instagram" for artists, where all the content is centered around the music, and only the music. THAT would be dope. Then the pressure would be on making good music/visuals that resonates with people, not posting bikini pics to keep people interested. But hey, that's how it goes, and I play the game until I don't have to anymore.
Boston Culture: How did the pandemic affect your plans?
AASH: The pandemic definitely put a delay on my progress but it also inspired me to write more, as opposed to spending time elsewhere. There’s a silver lining to everything.
Boston Culture : Who are your biggest influences?
AASH: I have such a diverse round up of musical influences, so it's hard to answer that question. I'm Haitian, so I grew up listening to Kompa, against my will. (But now, I definitely appreciate it for what it is.) Other influences I grew up listening to include Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Curtis Mayfield, Sade, Prince and Micheal Jackson.
Boston Culture : What do you think of the music scene in the city?
AASH: The Boston music scene is definitely booming but I feel like we've got a long way to go. We've got so much talent but for some reason, people overlook us as cultural leaders. Some dope artists I'd love to work with are Bia, Latrell James or Micheal Christmas.
Boston Culture : Tell us about your goals for the rest of the year and 2021.
AASH: I won't be too specific because I believe that you shouldn't share things until they are permanent or until the "ink dries", so to speak. But I will say that the rest of 2020 is all about planning and being strategic in my moves. 2021 is all about execution and results.
Boston Culture : What inspires you to wake up everyday and stay hungry?
AASH: Seeing my numbers grow really motivates me. Granted, I only have one song out right now, but everyday when I check my stats and if my listeners or streams increase by just 100 more, I'm HUNGRY to keep seeing that number grow. Small wins are just as important to me as big wins at this point in my career. I just can't wait to look back on it and be like "I remember when I only had 1,000 people listening to my story. Now it's the whole world..."
Boston Culture : How do you seek out opportunities?
AASH: If I told you, I'd have to kill you... LOL. Nah, it's networking and keeping your network close. I know that's so cliche and people hear that from everyone but once you understand what networking truly means, you'll get it. And no, networking isn't "hey! check out my beatz!"
Boston Culture : When was the last time you were in the studio?
AASH: I haven't been in a real studio since I set up my home studio in 2018. I do miss that natural magic in the room when you created something special. I hope to get back soon.
Boston Culture : Who's your favorite producer and artist?
AASH: I'm LOVING D-mile right now. He produced both Victoria Monet's new album and Lucky Daye's album, Painted. Those are two of my favorite projects right now.
Boston Culture : What brands should sponsor your?
AASH: I'ma need Nike, Uniqlo and Savage X Fenty to hit my DM with a quickness...
Boston Culture :Anything else we missed you want to tell your fans?
AASH: Make sure yall follow me on IG and Spotify to get updated on when my new EP, SILK, drops this Fall!