Recently we had the chance to interview Mason Ashley, a very talented up-and-coming artist. Check out our interview and the video for her new song “Paper Planes” from her EP ‘Strangers.’
upfrontNY: When did you know that music was your passion?
Mason Ashley: I started writing and playing guitar when I was nine years old and I have known it was my passion ever since. I started performing when I was twelve and recording demos when I was thirteen. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t completely in love with music.
upfrontNY: Has there been an artist, song, or lyric that has inspired you to pursue music?
Mason Ashley: When I was first starting to write when I was about nine, I remember listening to Taylor Swift and wondering how she wrote in a way that made me have that “oh my goodness she understands me” feeling. I would even re-write her lyrics to fit my situations at the time, and I think one day I just realized, “hey… maybe I could do that.” And I think that’s really what inspired me to try for myself. I realized I could write about my own life and my own stories and maybe some girl in her bedroom someday would hear me, and feel like I understood what she was going through too.
upfrontNY: For someone listening to you for the first time, how would you describe your sound?
Mason Ashley: My sound is really hard to describe… it really is such a mix of genres. It has pop influences, singer/songwriter or indie influences, and even some throwback 80’s/90’s influences, too.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your song “Paper Planes” and the inspiration behind it?
Mason Ashley: I wrote “Paper Planes” when I was sixteen after meeting an older guy and knowing that he was not good for me. This song is written in past tense like the events already happened, but the song was written before our three month relationship even started. “Paper Planes” is about a messy, treacherous connection to someone. It’s about knowing things aren’t going to be easy, but also knowing that you have to see it through.
upfrontNY: What was it like to see this song come to life with your music video?
Mason Ashley: It is a crazy feeling to hear a song come to life in a studio… it is an even crazier feeling to WATCH a song come to life in front of your eyes. I feel like the beautifully subtle metaphors in the video is what makes it so emotional for me. I remember the moment I wrote the very first line of the song and everything just came together after that like it was flowing out of me… the video takes me back to that moment. It’s such a visual representation of a complicated, fragile, yet empowering situation.
upfrontNY: You play the piano and guitar, how did you get involved playing these instruments and is there another instrument you would like to learn to play?
Mason Ashley: My dad is a great musician and can play piano really well so I started playing it really young. I never took lessons for it and I’m not great at it but I love the piano and the emotion you can hear in the notes. I started playing guitar when I was nine. My grandpa was throwing away a fifty year old, beat up guitar and I saved it from the dumpster and taught myself chords all day. One instrument I always wanted to learn is the violin. I even bought one at a pawn shop with Christmas money one year, but it sounded like a dying cat every time I played. I never took lessons for it and I’d like to eventually learn.
upfrontNY: When writing songs, do you have a special place that you go to write or find inspiration?
Mason Ashley: I honestly write wherever the inspiration hits me. A lot of times it will be in random places and I’ll just put the idea in my phone notes and transfer it to a notebook later. Inspiration really does come at the most random times for me.
upfrontNY: Do you have a dream city, country, or venue that you hope to one day perform at?
Mason Ashley: I would LOVE to someday travel to Italy. It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a kid. And for venue, I think playing anywhere out of the country would be amazing. I always say my dream life would be traveling, playing shows in cafe’s all over the world.
Head here to learn more about Mason Ashley and her music!