Upon first listen, the melodic stylings of Ashley Singh are the audial equivalent of a warm hug — with its soothing soundscape gently rocking you into a state of tranquillity. When listened over once more, however, the melancholic undertones of his lyrics tease their way into your subconscious — forcing you to confront your thoughts in a painful yet transformative manner. True to form, his latest offering “10 Summers” adapts the same format. Gentle, nuanced, yet utterly harrowing, the track digs into the taboo concept that sometimes you have to be reluctantly cruel in order to be kind.
In his own words, Singh explains, “This song came from a time when I honestly felt as if I was holding my girlfriend back. She’s known for being the life of the party but that had changed and I knew it was because of being around me. If you love somebody sometimes you gotta set them free. I hated the idea that she was wasting her 20s on me.”
Accompanied by a stripped-back visual, the artist is filmed alone sitting on an empty staircase — providing the perfect acoustics to his honey-laced vocals. Getting to know the man behind the guitar, we spoke with Ashley about his previously acclaimed work “Keep Me”, his interpretation of “10 Summers”, and what he has planned next.
To stream “10 Summers” and for the full interview, scroll below now…
Hey Ashley, how are you today? What has this past year been like for you?
I’m good thank you! It’s been a busy year! I’ve been writing songs for a long time and I’m so glad I’ve started releasing them. The support I’ve received for the tracks has been so overwhelming. I’ve also had the opportunity to play live a lot more this year. I’m currently on tour in Germany with Emily Roberts which has been so much fun. My German has improved, I’ve added Bügeleisen (Iron) to my vocabulary!
Being such a young artist, at what point did you realise that you wanted to pursue music?
I first started playing the guitar when I was about 15 after seeing a mate of mine playing in the music department at school. I thought it looked and sounded really cool. It was from then that I started learning how to play using YouTube tutorials. As soon as I had learned a few chords, it came naturally to want to write lyrics to them. I remember when I played them for the first time at a showcase in school. That feeling when you’re playing live is unbeatable and ever since that moment I’ve been addicted.
And you self-released “Keep Me” which turned out to be your first major airplay! What was your experience like with coining/releasing the track?
“Keep Me” is a really special song for me, it means a lot and it came from a really honest place. I wasn’t expecting much when I first posted it on TikTok but the reaction was insane. It was always going to be released but the reaction definitely sped up the process. We turned it around really quickly and it was definitely overwhelming to see it being received so well by so many. Convinced I have the best fan base around, their support blows my mind.
What did it feel like hearing your songs played on the radio for the first time?
It was amazing! My whole family sat around and listened to it. My mum had a tear in her eye haha.
And congratulations on your latest effort “10 Summers”. What prompted you to take the track in such a personal direction?
The song came from a journal entry I had written during a time when I felt like I was holding my girlfriend back. I honestly hated the idea that she was wasting her 20s on me and knew that she’d be better off without me. Taking a personal direction is not an active decision, it’s just that all the songs I write come from very real and often painful places. If they’re not personal, I find it difficult to connect with them.
You’ve mentioned the narrative is based on your relationship with your then-girlfriend, did she know you were making the track? How was it received by everyone?
Yeah! When I first wrote the track, with my friend Danny Connors, I played it to her and downplayed the fact that it was about her. But I could tell that she knew. I remember a few friends saying to me “Not sure about don’t waste your 20s on me bro, that’s a bit intense”. But I knew that it was how I felt and if I felt that way, others would too.
What do you hope your fans can take from the latest release?
If they feel the way I felt, I hope that they can find comfort in it. Knowing that they are not alone in this feeling can be a powerful thing.
A lot of people recognise you as a versatile artist. How would you describe your sound best?
I would say sad songs that are brutally honest.
And finally, what’s next for you? Are you working on anything else for 2022?
Always working on new stuff! Looking to release a lot more songs this year. I’m currently on tour, supporting Emily Roberts in Germany and I have some of the Open Verses for “10 Summers” coming out which is really exciting!