Meet the Music: A Conversation with Ashlyn Austin
Ashlyn Austin is a talented singer-songwriter from Burleson, Texas who views her music as an integral part of who she is. Ashlyn is able to take personal, real life situations and transform them into emotionally raw and contemplative lyrics. This process is made evident in her recent single “Sleep” where she writes about her father’s battle with pancreatic cancer. We recently had the opportunity to talk to her about her music, her life, and fidget spinners. Be sure to check out Ashlyn’s music on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple Music.
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser.: So to warm you up for the interview I’m going to hit you up with some rapid fire questions. Is that okay?
1. Are fidget spinners the new vaping? Heck yes!
2. Why or why not? Because they’re awesome, but I haven’t ever played with one.
3. Do you like questions? LOVE them!
4. Crabs, spiders of the sea? I guess so! I’ve been in the ocean multiple times and I’m always scared one is going to pinch me.
5. Can you do a kick flip? I wish!!! But I can longboard pretty well!
6. Have you ever read Charlotte’s Web? I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t, but I will someday I’m sure.
7. Should I grow out my mustache? Sure! You only live once. Grow it out and see how you like it.
8. If Optimus Prime writes a book about himself is it called an “Autobotography”? Good one! Yes, I would think so.
9. Ummm I can't think of anything else. That’s ok!
9. Why are there so many songs about Christmas, but only one about being a dancing queen?
Touché, it’s truly a shame there’s only one about the dancing queen.
9. Can you count to 10? I’d hope so! Haha yes of course!
Isaac: So it’s kind of funny how I stumbled upon your music. An artist that we both follow on twitter quoted one of your tweets and I saw it. Then I looked at your profile and saw you were from Texas and I was so excited, because not many people know who he is. I followed you on Twitter and I saw that you had a single (sleep) and I checked it out. Wow, I just realized how weird that is. What a creep. Um…. I…. I’m bad at this. I'll edit this out later. Tell us about yourself.
Ashlyn: First off thank-you so much and I’m so glad you enjoyed my song! I’m Ashlyn Austin and I’m from Burleson Texas! I love my hometown! I longboard in my spare time, play piano every day, and sing my butt off in my car constantly. If y’all follow me on Instagram: @ashlynaustin97 you’ll have the enjoyment of seeing my car music videos frequently (perhaps too frequently haha). My favorite color is blue and I like to consider myself a tomboy. I’d say my most favorite thing in the world to do is driving around and listening to music with all my windows down.
Isaac: When did you release your single “Sleep” and can you describe what that experience was like?
Ashlyn: I released Sleep February 2017. Recording for my very first time ever was very intimidating, but I always push myself to do things I’m not comfortable with if I know I need to accomplish them. As Josh Dun says ( of Twenty-One Pilots aka my favorite human being in the world), “You’ll fear your fears forever if you never do things you’re afraid of.” I felt like my song wasn’t ready to record, but it was. I’ve recorded two songs since sleep and I’m very excited for the release of them!
Isaac: If you had to describe your sound how would you do so?
Ashlyn: I’ve always felt like my voice doesn’t fit in with anything, along with my personality. Thus I call my sound “it.” Perhaps a better term for my sound would be modern pop. I’m always playing keys so it’s hard to categorize song that solely depends on the piano.
Isaac: How long have you been writing and singing?
Ashlyn: I’ve been singing as long as I can remember. I used to take a broom and pretend it was my mic stand and sing my little heart out. I’d say I started writing when I was about 9. My first song, I believe I ever wrote, was called Pink Nails haha.
Isaac: This song (Sleep) refers to cancer quite a bit . Why did you choose to write about a topic which generally isn’t discussed too often in music?
Ashlyn: Great question! My father recently passed away from pancreatic cancer and this song is based on that journey of suffering. I want people to know that when they’re facing something like that in life with a loved one, they’ll eventually get through it and a better day will come. I always thought I couldn’t live without my dad, but God has brought me this far I know He won’t abandon me now.
Isaac: What is your songwriting process like?
Ashlyn: Lyrics along with the melody come to my mind sometimes when I least expect it and other times when I feel my emotions building and I have to let them out musically. Usually song lyrics will come to me while I’m going to sleep, driving, or taking a bath. I always grab my phone and record it then I’ll play back the lyrics and find the right key on my piano. It usually goes very fast from there.
Isaac: What is your most memorable moment as a singer/songwriter?
Ashlyn: Such a good question. It’s hard to pick one. I suppose my performance at Johnnie High's Country Music Revue (now called Arlington Music Hall) when I was twelve years old. I sung Taylor Swift’s Love Story.
Isaac: Who are your musical (and non-musical) influences?
Ashlyn: Twenty-One Pilots, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Toby Keith, Aerosmith, Coleman Hell, Josiah
Leming, Lisa Marie Presley, Amy Grant, Lorde, Tim McGraw, George Strait, LeAnn Rimes, Gun’N’Roses, and Miley Cryus. Just to name a few haha. My life experiences are my musical influences, every song is a piece of my life and what I was going through during that time. It’s hard for me to tap into that emotion once it’s over.
Isaac: What would be your dream tour?
Ashlyn: Wow that’s the best question anyone has ever asked me. It would be a world tour with
Twenty-One Pilots, Lisa Marie Presley, and Coleman Hell touring with me. Having interactions with my fans would be my number one priority. I’d design a team to pick certain fans out to meet after, also I would try my best to design a system to where I could get to a smaller stage in the middle of the pit and also get up into the nosebleed sections. Also making sure the pit is monitored and safe for everyone is one of my biggest concerns and priorities. I’d would create cues for when the lights would hit a certain part of the stage and or crowd during my songs. I’d hire an amazing choreographer to travel with me to create awesome dances. Playing a huge part in designing my wardrobe would be so important to me also I’d have a revolving stage with a grand piano placed to where I could spin to see the entire arena. Having a band that would follow my cues like clockwork would be so important too.
Isaac: What does your future concerning music look like as of now?
Ashlyn: Pretty good! I just finished recording two new songs as I mentioned earlier. Stay tuned with my social media and you’ll see!
Isaac: What would you say has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a singer/songwriter, and what is your next big challenge?
Ashlyn: Believing in myself has been the biggest challenge. I’ve always been a loner and outsider honestly and my musical career is no exception. I’ve paved the way for everything that has happened so far, with God’s help of course. I’m the only one in my family that has ever truly pursued music so I’m alone in this journey. The obstacle has always been just getting out there and doing it, pushing through that self doubt is the hardest part. My next challenge would be doing local touring, which I’m determined to start very soon.
Isaac: What is it that motivates you to keep pursuing music?
Ashlyn: I can’t not pursue music, I don’t have a choice. The lyrics are within me and I can’t lay my head down at night knowing that I haven’t tried. Besides I have several promises to keep on my musical career and I try my best to be a person of my word haha.
Isaac: What is one thing you want to achieve with or through your music?
Ashlyn: Being relatable. Having someone come and tell you, “ hey your song truly impacted my life and it helped me get through such a tough time.” is priceless. Letting the lonely know they’re not alone in the fight of everyday life, that I’m fighting just to keep breathing just like them.
Isaac: What would be your “I made it” moment where you know you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish?
Ashlyn: When I’m on stage playing the piano and pause to hear the crowd and get to say, “I told you dad I would make it, I did it and this is for you.” Dad was always pushing me to go. There will always be a piece of my dad in every song. In any album that I make, he will definitely be an influence.