Following on from our review of Ashley Best’s new single, ‘You Made Me’, we bring our interview with him.
Who are your biggest music influences?
Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and Keith Whitley.
What made you want to become a musician?
I remember hearing my Grandad’s voice recorded on an old reel-to-reel recorder singing songs while practicing for a show. Even years after he had passed away I was still able to hear his voice. He passed away when I was 4yrs old, but I listened to those recordings well into my teen years. I believe that’s why I wanted to record songs, so long after I’m gone folks will still hear MY voice and MY songs.
Also, being a huge Dwight Yoakam fan is what made me want to be a songwriter. I purchased his cassette tapes when I was younger. After reading the inside of the insert, I noticed that he either wrote or co-wrote most of his recordings and that made me want to become a songwriter too.
Could you tell us a little about your creative process?
Sometimes it’s almost like somebody is speaking to me, telling me what to write. Sometimes it comes riding in on the wind through the trees, or I hear it in the rain as it’s hitting the tin roof, beating a rhythm that speaks the words to me. Other times, actually a lot of times, it comes to me while I’m out in the fields riding on the tractor. When I’m on my tractor EVERYTHING becomes peaceful to my soul. It’s about the harmony of the sounds of the tractor and the machinery I’m using, whether I’m plowing a field or mowing hay, everything in the world seems right at that moment and it lets my soul speak.
Could you tell us about ‘You Make Me’?
‘You Make Me’ was an inspiration derived from the love of my life, my wife Tennille. I’m always searching for a way to express my love for her, for what she means to me. It’s not always easy to find the words but, I feel I managed to bring to life those feelings and what she does to me in this song.
Which line from ‘You Make Me’ has the most personal meaning to you?
It’s in the last verse, “Darlin’, you make me want to be a part of you….”, I believe her face turned 12 shades of red when I sang her that line and the following line…lol. She said, “You can’t put that in there!”….but I did, with no regrets.
What was the experience like working on the ‘You Make Me’ music video?
It’s something I’ve waited for my whole life, or so it seemed. Zak Neese and I had a good idea of the direction that we wanted this video to go. Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous at all. Doing this video just reassured me even further that I’m on the path that I was destined for….To not only be a Singer/Songwriter, but also to be an entertainer.
What advice would you give to a struggling artist?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one because I’m not so sure that I’m not STILL in this category myself…lol.
I guess my first piece of advice would be this, ” You get out what you put in”. In other words, nobody is going to hand it to you so put in the hard work. The music business takes a lot of work, dedication and commitment, especially when putting together and working with a band. Secondly, there’s the “thick skin” that you must grow…the thicker the better. The “thick skin” is absolutely necessary to have for all the harsh criticism you get at times. You can’t survive the music scene without it. Last but not least, I’m going to give the same advice to y’all that Jack Ingram gave to me. He said, “Keep on, Keepin on.”
What can we expect next from you?
Well, we’re undecided if we’re going to release one last song from the Album, ‘Something’, along with a video OR jump right into releasing a single that we’ve recorded for our next project. On the next project, I had the great privilege to co-write & record a song with 3x Grammy Producer, Lonnie Park. Either way we decide to go, it’s going to be good. I’m very excited for the future.