Artist: Mason Ashley
Hometown: Tomball, TX
TrunkSpace: In sitting down to listen to your music for the first time, what would someone learn about you through the music itself?
Ashley: I think first of all, they would discover that I’m moody. Also, I think I’m a little bit cynical. I tend to be drawn to darker emotions but I like to play off them and make them seem lighter. I’ve realized even if I write a love song it always has some little hint of sarcasm or cynicism in it. I’m a bit dramatic, I think.
TrunkSpace: You started performing when you were 12 years old. Would 12-year-old Mason be surprised by the artist you are today?
Ashley: I think she would be! I honestly don’t think I ever thought I’d be writing the songs that I’ve written. I think she’d lose her mind over a few of the things I’ve accomplished. I’d like to think that young Mason would like older Mason’s music… but I guess I’ll never know!
TrunkSpace: You recently released your new single “Ever Had You” and the music video to go along with it. When you release new material into the world, what emotions do you juggle with? Is it hard to let go of something that you put so much of yourself into?
Ashley:There’s something very fulfilling to release a song knowing that it’s finished. Putting a song out there is kind of like closing whatever chapter of life I was in while writing it. It’s definitely not always easy though, especially when it’s a very personal song. There are tracks that I’ve sworn I’d never release because they were too close to me… “Ever Had You” was one of those songs.
TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Ashley: I can be pretty picky about my writing. I like to feel that a song has said everything I want to say and I can be pretty hard on myself if I can’t get it exactly where I want it. I’ve actually been trying to let myself write more relaxed lately and just see what comes of it without worrying about saying every single thing that’s on my mind. After almost 12 years of writing songs I’ve just realized you can easily write more than one song about certain topics or emotions.
TrunkSpace: Is it difficult in this day and age – when social media trolls are so common – to be vulnerable as an artist and pour yourself into your music? How do you stay focused on the positive and block out the negative?
Ashley: I have always thought of music as a form of self-therapy. It is a way to put my thought, fears, truths on paper… and if other people relate to those feelings, then great. If people don’t relate to those feelings, that’s okay too. It’s so easy for the social media generation to hide behind a screen and say anything they want, no matter how inconsiderate or even hateful it can be. I have never and will never let anything anyone says affect the way I write music, though. And the positive comments always majorly overshadowed any negative.
TrunkSpace: We talked earlier about 12-year-old Mason and how she would view your musical journey today. What would you like to see from, say, 40-year-old Mason and how she has grown as an artist? What do you hope the future holds for you and your creative output?
Ashley: I just hope that she’s still in love with music. I have always loved writing and loved the feeling I get when a song is finished. I hope that 20 years from now I still have the same passion for it and that it’s still therapeutic for me. Everything is about numbers these days; how many followers you have, how many “likes” you get, how much money you make, how many streams you get… and I kind of feel like it could get worse from here. I’ve always cared about how music makes me feel and how my music can make others feel. I hope I never get caught up in numbers and still just love the raw and vulnerable magic behind what music is.
TrunkSpace: Where and when are you the most creatively inspired?
Ashley: Inspiration hits at very random times for me. I can be driving in my car and have something pop into my head. I do always notice though, when I travel I tend to write a lot. My mind has gotten in this weird little routine recently of writing songs from an airplane. I think the more that I see and experience, the more content I have to write about.
TrunkSpace: Are you someone who has to step away from music at times in order to refuel the creative tank? Can you envision a day where music is not a part of your life?
Ashley: I don’t like to force myself to write, so there are times when I take a step back and wait for ideas to come to me. I actually have had mini-panics over the years when I occasionally get writer’s block. I’ll think, “This is it. I’ll never write another song. I’ve run out of things to say.” But I honestly can’t imagine a time when music isn’t a main focus of my life. Music has always been and always will be a part of who I am and I never see that changing.
TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Ashley: I have been lucky enough to already have some great highlights in my career. I couldn’t believe reaching over 1 million views on YouTube last year… and then almost 5 million views on “Ever Had You” this year. I got a little freaked out to know that someone used one of my old tracks in their wedding. Last year I got to attend my first award show. When I was sixteen, I heard my song on the radio for the first time. Honestly, every time I get a message from a stranger telling me that my music meant something to them is a highlight. I really don’t think I can easily pick just one.
TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Ashley: I don’t think I would. As tempting as that would be, I believe that things happen the way they’re supposed and I wouldn’t want to change anything if I didn’t like my future. Life is about now. Music is about capturing moments now so that they can live forever and I wouldn’t be able to focus on now if I knew what was coming.