An Interview with Tiffany Ashton

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There is a new crop of wonderfully talented and charismatic young stars within Country music. These artists have slowly but surely been building their brand, and making their mark on the genre and the industry as a whole. Georgia born and Carolina raised singers/songwriter Tiffany Ashton is one of those young stars. Tiffany began singing at the young age of 3 and by the age of 6, she was ready to take the stage. Since that time, she has been performing ever since. Still early in her career, Tiffany is already well decorated, having been named Nashville Universe’s “Rising Star 2018″ and “Best Country Artist” by the Hollywood Music And Media Awards, along with multiple regional awards to boot. Tiffany also has a keen ear for other’s music as well, and she has bene selected as a member of The Recording Academy and is a Grammy voter.  Tiffany has a new single out called “Cowboy,” and more on the way where that came from. If you would like to learn more about Tiffany Ashton, you can head over to her website here or her Spotify here. So, give her music a listen, and while you’re doing that, give this interview with Tiffany a read. It’s a good one. Dig in.

Andrew:
Tiffany, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been rough, right? How are you holding up during this seemingly ever-raging dumpster fire?

Tiffany:
Hey Andrew, thanks so much for having me! 2020 was a wild one for sure– I’ve used the break in playing live shows to focus on songwriting, and although it was a change, it has also been a big opportunity. This past year, I’ve been able to work on the soundtracks for multiple films, including “The Farmer and The Belle” that came out this Christmas, with even more songs coming out in films in 2021. I also have a brand new single, “Cowboy” and more brand new music scheduled to release in 2021.

I feel very fortunate, even though I know that this has been a hard year for the music industry and the world as a whole. I definitely miss performing because touring is such a huge part of what I love about my job. I’m a people person, so getting to see my friends and fans face-to-face and giving out hugs at shows is something I’m praying returns in 2021. For now, I’ve been spending my time working on these next huge projects. The songs I’ve been working on through the pandemic are some of my most personal and my favorites of anything I’ve written so far in my career, and I can’t wait to share them!

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway so to speak? How did you get into Country music?

Tiffany:
Music has always been my passion. From the time I was able to toddle around, I was dressing up and singing the songs to my favorite movies and performing in the mirror! I started performing in front of crowds at churches, joining choirs and singing the anthem for the local baseball leagues when I was 6 and continued to grow as a performer from there –I absolutely love being on stage.

From the beginning, I also loved to write and had notebooks full of poetry and prose, but it took a while before I brought it all together and realized how to create my own music. You’ll get a kick out of this – I recently rediscovered a notebook from when I was 8 years old. I was already beginning to try and write down my own songs back then (despite not knowing how to read music- I had “Do Re Mi” written underneath for note reference!). By the time I picked up guitar at age 11, I knew what I wanted to do and started a catalog of my own songs almost right away and haven’t stopped building since!

I have so much admiration for all genres of music, but I fell in love with Country music from a young age because it is dedicated to everyday storytelling and adds dimension to what some would call the ordinary. Think of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, “Jolene”, “Live Like You Were Dying”…. even “Red Solo Cup.” Country music is the music of the people and the story tellers, and that spoke to me from the start.

Andrew:
As a musician, who are some of your earliest and most important influences? How did you develop your signature style?

Tiffany:
Growing up in the foothills of North Carolina and also attending a primary school centered around the arts, I got a little taste of everything, from Bluegrass and Folk to Broadway and Opera. The smooth, clear vocal tones from Alison Krauss and Jewel were a big influence on me growing up – their voices were my favorites, and my mom would play them both right alongside early noughties Pop and Country hits. I’ve always been a huge fan of the ladies of country that write their own music and put their truth into song, such as Dolly Parton and Miranda Lambert. That appreciation for songwriting has only grown deeper over the years, and I definitely think creating the songs you sing adds an extra element of truth and conviction.

Andrew:
In 2017, you released your debut, Crazy Bout You. Tell us about the recording of the album. What was your inspiration at the time?

Tiffany:
That year was my freshman year in college, I was in my first real relationship, and overall, it felt like I was diving head-first into the deep end of things. All those feelings came flooding out in my music, and it was also the first time I had worked with musicians out of Nashville, which anyone in the industry knows is a huge step for an artist. It was a fantastic experience and I still love listening to the EP!

Andrew:
In 2018, you were named Nashville Universe’s “Rising Star 2018” and “Best Country Artist” by the Hollywood Music and Media Awards. As an artists, how gratifying was that for you?

Tiffany:
Incredibly gratifying for a number of reasons – the Hollywood Music in Media Awards is known as one of the best indicators for the Golden Globes and the Oscars, so to even be a part of the nominees for the HMMAs is humbling. Walking the red carpet next to the likes of Earth Wind and Fire, Diane Warren, Randy Jackson – I mean, you are standing next to legends of the industry who not only attend, but decide the winners. It’s simply an amazing community to be a part of, and winning recognition of that level by other creators who know their stuff is such an honor. Likewise, the Nashville Universe Awards is recognition by over 25,000 industry professionals and music lovers, and the Nashville Universe organization as a whole truly works hard in acknowledging independent country artists, so to be their Rising Star is an honor. As an artist, I couldn’t be more thankful for the support I have from all sides of the music world!

Andrew:
In 2020, you released three new singles, “California Dream” and “Matter of Time,” and “You Haul It.” Tell us about your new singles. How have you evolved since your debut?

Tiffany:
“California Dream”, “Matter of Time”, and “You Haul It” were released in 2020 and all have different elements to them, from super raw Country to an Ambient, dark Pop sound. As I’ve developed as a songwriter – and as a person – my music has as well. 2021 is bringing new music that will sonically combines all of these elements, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this next chapter with y’all, starting with “Cowboy” – my next single!

Andrew:
You’re a Recording Academy and Grammy voter, right? How did you end up in those roles? Are you enjoying it so far?

Tiffany:
I was accepted as a qualified Grammy voting member for the Recording Academy, and 3 years later, the day I got that letter is still one of the highlights of my career so far. The process is rigorous, and they are highly selective, but to be deemed as one of the decision makers of music’s highest honors still has me on cloud 9. The Recording Academy is also such a gifted community, and they do a fantastic job of having events throughout the year and connecting their members. I’ve met so many talented individuals throughout my time with the Recording Academy that pushed me to the next levels as a songwriter and singer, so I’m beyond thankful to be a part.

Andrew:
You’ve made a name for yourself as an outstanding performer. What is it about the live setting that brings out the best in you?

Tiffany:
Throughout my life, I’ve always loved people and love being there for them through my music. Sure, performing is an art, but it’s also a connection – for however long that show lasts, you have the audience in that moment with you, and you’re making memories that could literally last a lifetime. I’ve had so many fans become friends and so many friends become fans at shows, and just knowing we share those moments in music is amazing. That’s the magic of performing live, and I can’t wait to be back up on stage soon!

Andrew:
I know often times songwriters’ lyrics can be deeply personal, and other times they’re merely telling stories. Which is it for you?

Tiffany:
A bit of both. The best songs are rooted in basic human truth that we all feel and can relate to – the anger, the pain, the love– and those moments can be spun into poetry through words and details. I have many deeply personal songs, but every song in its own way is personal because I’ve experienced those emotions in one form or another, even when the details are embellished.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the state of the music industry a bit. What are a few things you would like to see change for the betterment of both the fans and artists alike?

Tiffany:
In the era of COVID, there’s been lots of speculation as to where the industry is going simply because touring, as the main source of income for both indie and signed artists, has dried up until further notice. Hopefully all of that will be coming back soon though, and it appears that by summer things will be back to some semblance of normalcy, and I’m truly looking forward to that. There’s also still a notable lack of women being played on radio and in the country industry as a whole, and although there are some great strides being made, I’d love to see that continue. I can say that fans of any artist should recognize and support their favorites any way they can because every bit of love and support helps!

Andrew:
In a world dominated by capitalism and social media, can indie artists really, truly get ahead? How do we keep the playing field level so that everyone has a chance to succeed?

Tiffany:
The way I approach technology and media is as an extension of who you are as a person and musician. It’s a great way to connect and keep in touch with fans you’ve met, but live in another town (or even continent!) you toured years ago, and also helps to make new fans who may never have heard you otherwise. For the first time in human history, nearly everyone has access to a tool that allows your song to be heard instantly by a fan across the world – isn’t that mind blowing?

I graduated college this year as an Economics major and history minor, and I have to say I’m thankful to have a degree that’s helped me in the business side of the music world. Being an artist is running your own small business, and in my experience the reality of that is tough for a lot of people, especially creatives. Only a fraction of small businesses make it to the 10 year mark – combine that with high personal investment and creative input, and that rate goes down steeply for independent artists trying to make it. At the end of the day, you have to absolutely love music and people and have a passion for this line of work, so that despite the hard days and long hours and personal costs, you know this is where you’re meant to be.

Andrew:
Are you into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music?

Tiffany:
Mostly digital now, I love making personal playlists. My music taste is a little all over the place – if it’s good music and well written, I’m not a stickler for genre, so mine range from the mainstream Country and Pop to obscure Gaelic and Classical music. I do have a handful of my old CDs from when I was younger –The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood – and my mom has a whole collection of classics that we break out sometimes.

Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most you and why?

Carrie Underwood’s Carnival was one I played on repeat – absolutely love her voice, and I thought it shined on that album. The Band Perry was my first arena concert, and they had an edgy, interesting sound and great songwriting abilities that really inspired me in my music.

Andrew:
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ones that mean the most to you.

Of course I have so much respect for classic Country – George Strait, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Reba. I’m a fan of those who write their stories into music, and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of excellent songwriters like Ashley McBryde, Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, and Hardy.

Andrew:
Last question. What advice would you have for young artists just starting out? How do bands and artists stay afloat in a world that seems to be so abhorrent to creatives?

Tiffany:
If this is your passion, keep going. The people you hear on the radio weren’t overnight successes and there is a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes, so don’t be discouraged if the big opportunities don’t come right away. It’s a process! Also, I’d advise artists to be discerning as to where your advice and input is coming from. Take career input from people who have your best interest at heart or the experience to know the ins and outs of the industry – I’m thankful for my awesome team, and I promise once you do, you’ll be much better for having a great team around you!

Music Spotlight: Tiffany Ashton - Tennessee Star

Interested in diving deeper into the music of Tiffany Ashton? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, USA, Andrew has always loved writing, music, drumming and collecting music on CD, tape and vinyl. After losing his life-long vinyl collection in 2014, Andrew began his vinyl collection from scratch again when he met his future wife Angela in 2015. Andrew’s love of music only further blossomed as his collection spanned all genres possible. After amassing over 3,000 albums in under two years, he knew it was time to finally follow his dream of being a music journalist, and thus, Vinyl Writer was born.

Andrew’s not only the go-to friend for music trivia, but his intricate knowledge of the ins and outs of the music industry allows him to develop engaging questions that really tap into each artist and individual to deliver insightful and enjoyable interviews. He’s proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict, for fellow music addicts.

Andrew lives on Long Island, NY, with his wife Angela and their four cats, Oliver, Patrick, Charlie and Kevin. Andrew’s collection of over 4,700 vinyl albums, plus several hundred tapes and CDs, tells the story of his passion for all that is music. Andrew works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer website by night. Andrew is also the admin of several Facebook groups dedicated to music.

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