The Many Amanda Ashleys
Amanda Ashley, local singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, is releasing a new EP with her trio, Living Dead, on Halloween, complete with a party from 9pm "'til wheneva." While Ashley is not duplicitous, she has a knack for showing many sides of herself in each song. In this interview, Ashley discusses herself, her boundless energy, a new nickname, her songwriting and her EP, all in her cozy office.
The Many Amanda Ashleys
Anyone who meets the many sides of the bubbly and friendly Amanda Ashley or sees her perform is struck by a charm that is difficult to put a finger on.
The story of Amanda Ashley is unique. Her path followed twists and turns, and eventually she landed squarely on her feet as one of Rochester’s beloved singer-songwriters. She writes what she’s feeling, which in turn creates some wonderfully eclectic music. Sometimes it even seems like you’re getting two songs in one! Her newest EP with her trio, Living Dead, which is being released with a big party on Halloween at Nox in the Village Gate, is a perfect example of her songwriting, which her bassist Beau Ryan describes as “intuitive.”
Ashley, who should be given the name “Double A” because of her endless energy, had a CD listening party on the 19th of October at Record Archive, at which she and her trio played all of the tracks on her EP, allowed the audience to ask questions, take photos, and buy some merchandise. Ashley briefly discussed each song before playing it. It was a treat to see Ashley perform songs that have such a strong personal connection to her.
While anyone listening to Ashely would have a hard time nailing down exactly what genre she is or what she plays, Ashley describes her music on her Facebook page as “Pop/R&B/Jazz.” Her music, particularly on the new EP, spans many genres, including country, bossa nova, and some Michael Jackson-esque pop/funk. Another common thread throughout her work is classical music. A trained classical pianist and violinist (is there anything she can’t do?), the listener can usually taste a hint of classical in her tunes, particularly in the strings that can be heard on the new EP.
In addition to being a great musician, Ashley also treats her music adventure very much like a business. Not only does she maintain an office (that she amusingly and ironically describes as “messy”) in an office building, a small sign on the threshold reads “Amanda Ashley Inc.” This is true; Ashley has not sold out, but she registered herself as a business to allow her more freedom in pursuing her adventures. Ashley also maintains a very impressive social media presence. Since Ashley performs most nights a week, almost every day someone can see on their social media feeds (either by friending her, or liking her page) well-crafted advertisements for her upcoming shows. The welcome barrage makes sure her loyal rocker contingency is always well-informed.
Ashley is a walking package of many; you can hear three different “Amanda Ashleys” in almost every tune she sings. She’s a business woman who still puts so much emotion into her work. Even the way she dresses. Ashley can rock a white flower in her hair with knee-high leather boots and a dark plaid blazer like you wouldn’t believe. That’s the charm of Amanda Ashley.
Ashely is having her release party on Halloween at Nox in the Village Gate, starting at 9pm.
Here’s the title track from the EP Living Dead:
If you would like to check out Amanda Ashley’s music: