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Exclusive: Interview with Mason Ashley

Age is just a number when it comes to Mason Ashley rocking the industry. She released an EP last summer, just recently released a new music video for her song “Paper Planes”, and we can definitely bet on hearing more from her soon! Her music is fresh and warms the soul, captivating listeners worldwide with the stories of her life told through song.

Mason Ashley chatted to us about making music, inspiration, looking back at the past and exciting possibilities for the future!

What made you want to start creating music?
Music is one of the most powerful things in the world. It has the ability to make you feel something or relate to something like nothing else can. Even when I was young I knew that I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to make people feel something and know that they aren’t alone.

How would you describe your musical sound?
My music is such a mix of genres to me. I have such a hard time explaining it to anyone that asks. It’s like..singer/songwriter meets pop meets alternative. There’s even some throwback 80’s/90’s influences in a few of the songs. I really just wanted the sound of each song to match the emotion I felt while writing it…like the lyrics are coming to life.

Who or what do you draw most of your music inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. I honestly never expect or know where I get most of my inspiration from. I normally write when I’m confused or overwhelmed with emotions and music is my clarity. I treat my music like a journal and I write to express my feelings and sort them out.

Is there an artist you’d like to collaborate with? 
There are a lot of artists I’d love to collaborate with.. my favorite band at the moment is The 1975. I think that’s who I would collaborate with if I could.

We hear you play both the guitar and the piano – are there any other instruments you’d like to learn how to play? 
I used to get different instruments for Christmas or birthdays every year and I would sit in my room for weeks or months after that until I learned the instrument somewhat. So I taught myself banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica..stuff like that. The only instrument I couldn’t teach myself was the violin…it sounded like a dying cat any time I played. I got VERY frustrated and eventually gave up. I would like to eventually learn how to do that just so I can feel accomplished.

What do you think was the most challenging part of putting together your EP, Strangers?

I get very picky and particular when it comes to finishing the album. When everything is done and we’re making final changes and adjusting levels, I stress out all lot because I want it to be perfect and portray the exact emotion I had when I wrote the song, especially for Strangers. So I think that is the most challenging part…wrapping it up and finally feeling done with it…because I could probably nitpick forever.

What is your go-to fix for songwriter’s block?
Honestly…if I had a fix for it I would be using it right now. I’ve been writing since I was 9 years old and I have yet to figure out a cure for songwriter’s block. It is VERY frustrating. But I have found that drinking some coffee, driving to a new place, and people watching help sometimes. And normally when I give up on trying to make myself write is when a song pops up.

What did you enjoy the most about making the music video for “Paper Planes”? 
The video for “Paper Planes” was so much fun to work on. The first day, the crew followed me around this old building with a camera and got my first natural reactions to this beautiful, old, nearly crumbling building and that was so amazing. I had the best team to work with and there were lots of laughs and awesome memories. I have to say that the people I worked with were the best part. They were so passionate about the song and the idea and I think it showed in the final video. Also…having my own hair and makeup artist for almost a week was pretty awesome.

What impact do you hope your music has on your listeners? 
I am always amazed when someone messages me or comes up to me after a show to tell me how a certain song affected them. Being told that my music made someone feel something and relate is the absolute best thing about writing music. So if this album can help at least one person know that they aren’t alone.. that they aren’t the first person feeling sad or lost or even in love, then it was all worth it. Because that’s what music is about: connection.

If you could go back in time and give your younger self any piece of advice, what would it be? 
I think about this a lot actually.. if I could give young Mason any advice, I would tell myself to not worry so much.  Everything works out..it might not work out the way you think, but it works out how it’s supposed to. I would tell myself to not worry about what people think. Laugh loud. Cry. Don’t be afraid to feel. I would tell myself to let go of the people that aren’t good for me…it makes you so much happier in the long run. I would tell myself to enjoy the moments and not always wish I was older because life goes way too fast to not live in the now.

How do you think other young artists could begin a musical career? 
The only way to start anything is to go for it. If you’re interested in music, then sing, write or play as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to fail or miss a note because that’s what learning is for. I used to never want to watch old videos of my shows or listen to songs from when I first started because I was extremely pitchy and nervous and I wasn’t great… but now I love watching them. I watch myself now and think “Wow. Look at that 12 year old get on that stage and sing her heart out…even through the bad notes.” And I’m proud of where I came from. So go for it. Get out there and play open mics at little coffee shops. Record your songs on your phone and post them on YouTube. Do the little things because they could lead to big things. You never know where you’ll end up.

You can keep up with Mason Ashley on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, or her official website.

Are you excited to hear more from Mason Ashley? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!

Written by Katherine Jiang

Second-year university student, music lover and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

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