Oe Eighty is out now!
Image: Lindsey Byrnes
Rising pop singer-songwriter Ashley Kutcher recently dropped her debut EP, One Eighty. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release, her creative process, her connection to performing live and so much more.
Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and what led you to pursuing a career in music?
My dad was a drummer and started building an entire music studio in our basement when I was a kid. My siblings and I were surrounded by all kinds of instruments and we all played together for fun. I knew I always wanted to keep music in my life when I got older, so I started playing local gigs. I eventually worked with some local musicians and DJs to produce my own songs. I never knew that eventually I would gain this much of an audience from my original music and it’s been so cool.
Your debut EP, One Eighty, ruminates on love and loss with the collection of songs detailing a breakup. Were there any parts that you found particularly difficult when creating the record, being so personal and showcasing your own life and thoughts to the world?
When I write music, I never think about what someone else is going to think. Sometimes I forget that people know who some of my songs are about and that can sometimes feel weird... but I've never let it stop me from saying everything I want to. Music should feel easy and flow. If it’s difficult it’s likely not going to feel genuine to me.
How did you arrive at the sound and sonic realm your music exists within?
I think my sound is constantly evolving and this EP really showcases a variety of different sounds. Some of my songs can be considered completely different genres and I’m okay with that. Being able to release all kinds of music from the beginning has helped me identify which styles people really resonate with. It has also helped me form a more clear direction of where I want to go from here.
What’s one line from the EP you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
I find myself singing lines from When You’re Not Okay. My favorite line right now is “tell me when you looked into my eyes, did you feel it?” I believe you can tell so much through a person's eyes, so that line hits me deep.
Which song off One Eighty would you play to someone, who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan?
I would have to say The Night You Left. This song encapsulates everything I would want to show someone who has never listened to my music. It mixes the element of pop with my singer-songwriter side. It also has tons of layers and harmonies that make it feel dreamy.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this particular collection of songs?
These songs were written in all different ways. Some were written alone from my bathroom floor at my parents house during a pandemic, others were written over Zoom, and some were written in studios in LA. I called this EP One Eighty because of how much of a turn my life has taken because of these songs. I started this alone, and I’m now able to create with a team.
How did One Eighty evolve and change as you were creating it, and were there any tracks left on the cutting room floor that you think might have a life in the future?
At first I had so many other songs I was ready to use for this EP. As I started writing more and working with new people, my direction changed slightly and I fell in love with some newer songs which I knew had to be on the project. There are many songs that didn’t get put on this EP that I am still working on.
Throughout the EP’s rollout, we’ve seen some great visuals (images and videos). How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?
The visuals have been new to me with this project. When I first started, I was always so focused on just the music. Now, the visuals play such an important role and it’s been so cool to explore that side of the project.
If One Eighty was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would it be?
I would definitely say a painting that shows multiple different weathers. For example, one side would go from rainy and stormy, and the middle could be cloudy, and the other side would be sunny or show fall weather. For some reason, I see songs as different weather patterns. For example, The Night You Left looks like a rainstorm. Love You From a Distance looks like a fall day full of leaves.
Will fans be able to catch you on tour soon? And what does a one of your live shows look like?
We are working on booking shows for next year! Live shows mean so much to me, since that is how I began my music journey. Live music is the way I feel like I truly connect to an artist. I plan to put on a show that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. I want people to feel all different kinds of things and really remember the experience when they leave.
The Band Camino, Tate McCrae, Hozier, John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, The Script, Noah Kahan, Lennon Stella, Jack Johnson, James TW.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
I Was/ I Am - Noah Kahan.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Singer-songwriter - acoustic - pop.
Best song of 2021 so far?
I AM WOMAN.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
It Ends With Us - a new movie coming out soon!
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Hannah Montana - sorry.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
I can’t remember too far back but it was probably Shania Twain I Feel Like A Woman.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
We used to listen to Andy Grammer’s album on repeat when I was younger and we still do.
First concert you went to?
First one I can remember was Demi Lovato.
Best concert you have been to?
First album you ever bought?
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Spice Girl name would be Ash K.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
I haven't performed many shows yet, but one time I played a local gig and had a fan come see me from an hour away and it was the sweetest interaction ever.
If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?
So many to choose from! Right now it would be Tate McCrae.
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
All I Want For Christmas Is You.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
To continue to make music that you're proud of.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I knew I wanted music in my life since I was a young kid. But the moment I knew I never wanted to stop performing was my first show ever in high school, it was such a high for me.
One Eighty is out now!