ASHY's effervescent pop sounds immediately hooked me. She has this incredible energy when she's performing and we were so lucky to catch her first hand at SXSW this year. She has this ability to radiate major pop star energy no matter what stage she's on and we only see big things for her future. We talked about her music journey and what makes pop music so great.
How did you get started in music?
ASHY: I got started when I was about 11, and I started learning to play guitar. I got quite good at it, and then Taylor Swift came out, and my task was to learn to sing and play at the same time. I started songwriting at 13, and I feel like that's when it really kicked in.
Do you feel like it was worth it to come all this way for SXSW?
ASHY: Especially from an international perspective, you don't understand the concept of how huge it is. They literally shut down the city for it and the fact that there are over a thousand bands. It's daunting for some, but I feel like we've had so much fun. It's a pleasure to be here.
To me, I feel like there are so many music festivals where it's the same acts all the time, and here it's like you can find all these up-and-coming artists.
ASHY: You can walk into any venue and discover someone.
Do you feel like it's been beneficial to branch out of the New Zealand music scene?
ASHY: I think especially because I make pop music, it's most central in America or the UK, and I love making that music, so to come to a place where people love it.
What's the New Zealand music scene like?
ASHY: It's very laid back, so potentially, I'm a little too much. I love the golden era of pop, Fergie, The Pussycat Dolls, and Britney.
Do you feel like some people look down on pop music? I feel like people think it's lame to do pop until you're really successful.
ASHY: Yes! People here pop, and they think it's genetic before they even listen to it, but at South By, you can present something live, something interesting that isn't the cookie-cutter image that people think it is. These are all my own songs I've written.
It's hard to bring as big of an idea as pop music to a smaller stage, and I think you nod that really well. How important is the physical aspect of your music?
ASHY: Deciding to do pop music meant getting rid of my acoustic guitar, my defense of something to do with my hands, and even just working on my movement and taking movement classes has helped me get into my natural groove and musicality. I think the energy that can be conveyed on stage helps give the audience cues that this is a get up and dance show.
What keeps you motivated?
ASHY: I love to see people's faces and people having fun, being at south by and getting to say I played in Austin, Texas, and I got crowds playing my own music.