By Alan Ho-- Chief Head, Chief Editor/Publisher
2010 is still pretty early but for fast emerging singer-songwriter Ashlyne Huff, it has already been one whale of a year for her. Armed with a hit single and an impending debut album now due out May 11, the triple threat daughter of famed Nashville producer and session guitarist Dann Huff is currently on tour with runaway pop/rockers Honor Society and fellow newcomer Just Kait. Chief Head Alan Ho sat down with Ashlyne while at the Chicago tour stop.
Alan: This is Alan Ho. I’m the chief head and chief editor of Musiqtone.com. I’m here with Ashlyne Huff. For our readers, can you introduce yourself?
Ashlyne: Sure. My name is Ashlyne and I’m from Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t do country music though. I do a kind of pop with a rock edge to it. I dance and I write all my songs. My album comes out May 11th. My single is currently out on radio and it’s called “Heart of Gold”
Alan: When did you know that performing music was going to be your thing?
Ashlyne: I knew it after I wrote my first song. I was always on stage from dancing, so it was natural. It was never a choice I had to make. I really wanted to have something to say in order to sing. I felt that I had a lot to say, dancewise. But then, after I wrote that song I knew that if I continued to, I wanted to be the one that communicates it. Later on, I would like to write songs for other people. I already have a song cut by the Pussycat Dolls. I love when other people do it but I like to sing certain ones.
Alan: In your bio, you’re described as a pretty gifted songwriter
Ashlyne: I hope!
Alan: Every songwriter seems to have their own process going in. What makes Ashlyne Huff tick?
Ashlyne: I keep a journal; I’m on my twenty third one since I was a freshman in High School. I’m crazy about writing in general. I have a couple of different methods because it always doesn’t come in the same way. Sometimes you get an idea and I just have to write it down. So I have a book for just ideas and I make myself waste the paper to keep it separate. I don’t always have to, what I call, flesh the idea out but I just stick a line or whatever in there and after sometime I’ll revisit it and try to make something of it. Other stuff, I write out a little longer. I have a co-write section every now and then and we look through them.
Alan: On the performing side, it’s much different. A lot of people have told me that performing and writing is different.
Ashlyne: I’m an introvert in some ways and extroverts in others. I can become one as soon as I hit the stage. I think I take the introvertness and use it in my advantage because I’m so into the songwriting process and I love it. But when I’m sitting there, I also envision the performance and the video – and all that stuff creates the song with me. It’s not like I take one thing and find a way to translate it. I definitely can see it coming. It’s just another step. I like it. I like the change.
Alan: You went to one of the top, underrated music schools in the country: Bellmont University in Nashville. Has that experience helped you, or influenced you in any way?
Ashlyne: Definitely. My dad is a musician and he stopped halfway through because he had a lot gigs. He told me, I needed to go and get a degree just so I have it. Just incase this music thing doesn’t work out forever, I needed to be smart and realistic about life in general. I went without a mentality and graduated with a music business degree. I can do anything with that: I can do finance and all the business stuff. I know a little bit of numbers, which I don’t use very much. I also learned publishing and copyright law, which I use through my songwriting. I learned artist management. It’s a good, well-rounded experience and I would totally recommend it. I feel like, I’m a corporation, for lack of a better word, I’m a product and you need to know what you’re doing. You need to respect that other people have so much work to do for you.
Alan: Tell us a little bit about your upcoming debut album.
Ashlyne: May 11th. It was April 27th but things are going so well on this tour I wanted to push it back to get a couple more things in. I wrote every song on the album so I don’t have a favorite. Everything is a different emotion. I love singing “Sweet Nothing” which is the major ballad on the record. I think it’s the way I wrote it that makes me like it the most. To the word, it’s exactly what happened that day. It’s something I experienced and made something out of it. It’s very cool to me. I love all the upbeat songs because they’re so different. One of them is “Tripping It Up” and it’s going to be on the soundtrack for “The Secrets of the Mountain,” a TV special on ABC. Then, “Heart of Gold” I love it. Now I can put other songs with it and make a full rounded album.
Alan: Being the daughter of one of Nashville’s finest – your father Dan has done a lot of things: Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts. For you, was it hard coming out of your father’s shadow or did it drive you to do better?
Ashlyne: I learned growing up that you don’t get anything for free regardless of whose daughter you are. It actually made it a little bit more difficult because I put a lot of pressure on myself. He left me the greatest legacy and is very well respected. I totally want to keep that up and I don’t want to ruin it. I won’t because it’s not in my nature to be a rebel but I definitely have to prove myself a little bit more. Maybe more to myself than to anyone else. I put myself to the ringer and I make sure everything I do is quality work. He’s been so supportive. He told me this lifestyle is not always glamorous, if you want to do it, do it right. Learn from other artists and make sure that you are someone people want to work with and for.
Alan: Briefly about the tour you’re on right now. Opening for Honor Society, this has to be huge right?
Ashlyne: It is so much fun. They are such great guys. They are gentlemen. They have been so welcoming to Kait and I. they bring us up on stage for one of their songs. They definitely support us and do a good job at keeping it together. Their fans are the most loyal fans I’ve ever seen. They’re taking a liking to us too. I could not be more fortunate to be on this tour.
Alan: How have the crowds so far on this tour received you?
Ashlyne: So far, they have been very receptive to the music. I pretty much speak like any kid at any age. I felt the same way about the stuff I write about now than when I was a teenager. I know I’m not too far from that age and you go through the certain break ups and make-ups at all times in your life. It always feels like the same thing, So I know, I can speak to younger kids.
Alan: Let’s do a little light hearted rapid fire.
Alan: Would you consider yourself a better performer or better songwriter right now?
Ashlyne: I would say performer because I’ve been writing for a little bit but I’ve been dancing since I was seven. I feel more comfortable performing.
Alan: The ultimate venue to perform in?
Ashlyne: The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It is such a historical thing. I’ve been to so many shows there I would love to have that atmosphere.
Alan: Let’s just say for a moment you’re forming a headlining tour, probably after the release of your album. If you could pick two or three acts to come with you who would it be and why?
Ashlyne: I think I would love to get people who are completely different from me just because that would be the best show you can give to an audience. I would love to take a band like Paramore out. Hayley’s vocals are just so killer and they’re more rock than I am. I would also love to take out a guy. In fantasyland, of course, I would take out John Mayer. I just love his style, his performance and his songwriting abilities. I think that would be three different aspects I would love to do.
Alan: Music currently playing on your Ipod.
Ashlyne: Those two I just said, John Mayer and Paramore. Justin Nozuka is one of my favorite singer songwriters. I’m listening to Brandi Carlile a lot. Lady Antebellum too.
Alan: What is your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Ashlyne: My top fell down.
Alan: Just a simple wardrobe malfunction
Ashlyne: It was outside; there was a lot of wind. Luckily I wasn’t prepared for it but I had something there but I didn’t know it was down. I didn’t know I had exposed that much for that long. Then all of the sudden I realized. But yeah, that was not a cool day.
Alan: Final words for your fans and the readers of Musiqtone?
Ashlyne: I cannot wait for you to hear the album. I hope I come a city near you soon.
Alan: All right thank you very much, Ashlyne!