Ashlee, a junior majoring in music business, has ambitions of becoming a Bollywood pop sensation. She sat down with us to discuss how she tries to extend her Indian culture to South Florida.
How long have you been singing?
I’ve literally been singing since I popped out of the womb. My first performance was the Christmas service at Plantation United Methodist Church singing “Silent Night” at 6-years-old and I haven’t stopped singing since. I started learning how to play the violin at 3-years-old. Then I began messing around with the piano and songwriting around 10-years-old.
Can you tell me about the music that you are interested in?
I have a great interest in top 40 hits because that is the music I enjoy writing. I love Bollywood music and Latino music as well. It honestly depends on the kind of mood I’m in. Sometimes I feel I need to be more artistic and that’s when I’ll turn on The Civil Wars or something like that. Who are some of your musical influences? I first fell in love with music in an artistic sense when I heard John Legend on the radio. I immediately fell in love with his music, stage presence, and writing. I currently am in love with The Civil Wars, David Guetta, Sia, Janelle Monae, Coldplay, Shakira and Alexandra Stan.
What are some of the events you have performed at?
Oh geez, I have performed at a lot of places. My top 3 favorite performances were, number one, singing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYAT Amateur night where I was crowned a winner. Number two was sophomore year with the Westminster Academy Honor Choir at Carnegie Hall, which was pretty epic as well. The third was being Shakira’s back-up dancer and singer at the Premios Juventud 2010. It was also a life defining moment for me. While performing, I realized the type of artist I wanted to be after that experience. How many hours a week do you spend practicing? I sing every day either for classes or when I’m just writing music or getting ready for shows. I don’t like the word “practice.” It’s a huge turn off for me. I don’t have set times when I sing just because I spend a good amount of time singing every day. I would say anywhere from to two to six hours singing through out the day though.
What has been your favorite class at UM?
So far, I have had two amazing, phenomenal, fantastic, incredible classes that make you want to sing “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston. The first was my business law class with Gilbert Fiorentino. He taught me how to think differently about assessing various situations. He was just a phenomenal teacher that really helped me understand the subject. I even considered for a short time changing my minor to business law. The second was Lyric Writing with Rey Sanchez. As a songwriter, I am constantly trying to reinvent myself with my story telling. The assignments did just that for me and pushed me to think outside of the ox.
Are there any upcoming performances that you are excited for?
International Week hosted by COISO is going to be really fun on March 26.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Oh man, I have always been a huge dreamer. My friends call me the Disney child because of the way I think. Ultimately, I would love to be a Bollywood Pop Global Superstar with my own Bollywood Kingdom pretty much, but that’s kind of pushing it. I would love to tour the world sharing my Indian culture with the American world I grew up in. Realistically, I just want to be able to make a living making music. I love writing music and I love performing even more than I love singing. To be able to do music and support myself and a possible future husband, children, etc. would be more than I could ever ask for. I’m not in this for the money. You can’t be in the music industry and work for money; it just won’t happen for you like that. You have to have a passion for what you do. I hope in the future I will continue to fall in love with my passion for music over and over and over and over again.
How can people stay in touch with you and stay up to date with your music?
I’m really glad you are asking me this. I will be releasing my first ever 4 track EP produced by Grammy winning producer Paul Ebersold very soon. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/ashleemofficial and leave me funny notes to respond to or follow me on Twitter @ashleemofficial and send me hilarious tweets to RT. You can also visit my website www.ashleeM.com to keep up with what I’m doing.