Ashley Harper: An Artist On Her Independent Rise
One of the first things you will identify about the beautifully budding, self-described, “R & B-electronics” genre artist Ashley Harper, is her consistent commitment to her music. She has literally always been fearless in her own creative direction and performance, and in turn, has never disappointed in vocal delivery. Ashley is a new artist novelty; with an unparalleled musical and stage background stemming from her winning pageant and talent competition childhood, adolescence, teenage, and young adult years.
Dynamic and driven are concisely the words that could be used for her artistic approach to singing and her work ethic. This has always been the basis of Ashley Harper as: The Singer; and now as Ashley Harper: The Artist. In her case, she cultivated a firm foundation and her passion for singing at a young age that flourished into the artist that she is presently today. “I am confidently moving in the direction of my own original dreams,” she fiercely yet fabulously says. “I have no interest in being like anyone else. My resume experience tells my tale, but my music writes my future.”
Ashley began her exciting music artist journey back in the summer of 2013; after making it 3 rounds in Denver, Colorado’s auditioning phase of the NBC talent-reality competition show, “The X-Factor” singing Shania Twain’s hit, “Still The One.” Shortly after that exhilarating stint, Ashley sprung into action in very early spring of 2014 when she collabed with producer, That Thick; Julian Tempesta of Brooklyn, New York to create her very first 4-song recorded demo from her very own original lyrics that she wrote and co-produced the music to. All four songs were recorded and completed within 2 months on her first trials. While the songs were being completed and mastered, Ashley simultaneously held her dancer auditions and rehearsals to begin preparing choreography for her very first music artist performance at the 2014 Juneteenth Denver Downtown Music Festival. She performed a dope mashup of all four of her demo songs live including: “What Would It Take?;” “Move Your Body;” “Follow My Lead;” and “Southern Girl.” Ashley and her dancers received raved reception and notoriety for her live performance and was subsequently invited back again to the 2015 Juneteenth Denver Downtown Music Festival where she headlined the stage flawlessly for the 2nd year in a row.
In early fall of 2014, Ashley set out to direct and produce her own music videos to accommodate all 4 of her demo singles. Shot by Jeff Pistana in Denver, Colorado, she debuted all 4 music videos at her Official Demo & Music Video Red Carpet Release Party held at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver in November 2014. She performed each single live with her amazing dancers as her guests ate, drank, and danced the night away all celebrating Ashley’s hard working music artistry!
Most people think that’s how Ashley got started, but her musical roots run far deeper. Her mother and father are super fans from 70s & 80s classic R&B/Funk and pop music culture; she grew up going to church choir practice with both of her Grandmother’s in her southern North Carolina hometown; her oldest brother played the saxophone and is a mid-80s and 1990s hip-hop pioneer enthusiast; and her middle brother is a very well-known and respected independent artist in his own right with a cult following dating back to the early 2000s; L.E.G.A.C.Y. which stands for Life Ends Gradually and Changes You. “Real recognition of talent in music of any genre and authentic musicianship has always been in my blood for generations,” she says.
Ashley bravely debuted singing on stage as her talent in beauty pageant competitions very young; with a stirring completely acapella performance of Disney’s Pocahontas,’ “Just Around The River Bend,” at just 9 years old. She would then gain her foundation as a singer soon after her initial singing debut in pageants when she began receiving professional extensive vocal training R. J. Graves Productions in Garner, North Carolina. Led by her incomparable voice coach Mr. Graves, she learned all of the fundamentals of a singer, and the importance of an extensive and diversified song repertoire. They immediately began building a song repertoire set for her pageant and talent competitions that required a talent segment.
“Through every pageant and talent competition that we prepared to compete for every weekend, I got a clear perspective very young of how singing IS performance and performance IS singing,” she says. “I knew I had to be superior at both to take home the crown.” She continued competing and winning in pageant and talent competitions on the state and national level and ultimately commenced as a Top 10 Finalist for the 2011 Miss Colorado America Pageant singing the compelling, “That’s Life,” by Frank Sinatra in the competition.
In the spring of 2016, Ashley relocated to Atlanta and brought her entire team from Denver, Colorado to perform and slay the Women In Charg3 Music Festival; debuting her very 1st official mainstream independently released single, “Came A Long Way,” as well as a mix of her other songs, in a live unprecedented performance. She then went on to direct and produce her music video for “Came A Long Way,” shot by Zachary Gardener of Chillz Media in Atlanta’s northside of Buford Highway. She finally celebrated all of these immeasurable milestones as a new artist by holding an Official Music Video Release Party & Red Carpet held November 2018 for her smash Produced By That Thick, "Came A Long Way;" on all major media platforms. The celebration was held at The Phunk House- Atlanta with a host of loving supporters, friends, and her Momager. All of this celebatory independent love ultimately led to her to her current super cool collective efforts. She was selected as the Official Resident Host and live performer of The Phunk House Presents: Artist Spotlight Night held every month in Atlanta and has held her position consecutively since its onset in December 2018.
Today, she is perhaps most “stoked,” as she says, to announce her brand new collaboration and partnership with ; under the talent management and musical production of Jelani Harris in Columbia, South Carolina. She is working on brand new music to be delivered very soon as she knows fans are anxiously waiting for her next projects in the music game. “My new music with Jelani is fearless,” Ashley says, “just like I like it. We ain’t trying to be like anyone! We are taking it back to real talent, lyrics, dance--not twerk, and the really dope vibes that I remember growing up and being inspired by watching artists like 702, Total, Amerie, Ashanti, Keri Hilson, Aaliyah, etc. with a whole new touch of my own sauce. As my producer and music manager, Studio 23 Music Group really gets my eccentricity. I rep all that I am and all that I come from. Southern girl from N.C. with a L.A. international swag.”
"Came A Long Way" Ashley Harper