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An Interview With Lauren Ashley
By Ron Holland
The Georgia Music Channel


 

Lauren Ashley, raised in Griffin, GA, is talking  with  us  today.  She’s  been  singing  since  she  was  a
toddler and music has always been a big part of  her  life’s  story.  While  attending  good  ole’  Georgia Southern University, she performed at popular venues, became the Georgia  Southern  University  Idol
winner, won first place in a national songwriting competition and cut her first EP with the original  single
“Cold November.” She’s opened for legendary Ronnie Milsap and for Georgia’s sensation  Luke  Bryan
as part of his 2011 Farm Tour – all those events in a matter of a few months. She’s  a  talented  singer-
songwriter, she’s energetic, focused on her music and on top of all that, she’s got  a  great  personality.
We’re glad to be talking with her today.

RON :        Hi Lauren. Thank you for being with us and thanks for  the  contributions  you’re  making  to
                  Georgia music.

LAUREN : Hey Ron!  Thanks for having me!  And  well, you’re  welcome! Growing  up  in  Georgia  and
                  having so many awesome  things  happen  to  me  in  this  state  has  really  made  me  feel
                  extremely blessed and proud to represent Ga in the big Music City!

RON :        Last  year  must have been a whirlwind for you. You were a busy young lady. Share  with  us
                  what it’s been like.

LAUREN : Wow. It’s crazy. Literally. My  life changed  dramatically in  a  matter  of  months,  and  to  be
                  quite honest with you, I don’t think I was prepared for it at first!  Talk about  anxiety!   I  went
                  from being a regular college student, to winning Ga Southern Idol, to recording my  first  EP,
                  to touring with my band throughout Georgia, to moving to Nashville,  to  working  with  some
                  of  the industries top songwriters, to recording with the best  studio  musicians  in  Nashville,
                  etc. all in a matter of a year/ year and a half.  Sounds  crazy  right?!  I  never  really  thought
                  anything like this would happen to me, but I have truly been blessed. I can only give  thanks
                  to God for having the faith in ME, to pursue my dreams! I have had SO  much  fun  over  the
                  past year or two and am SO excited for things to come in the future as well. It’s only  getting
                  started!

RON :        As we mentioned, you’re from Griffin, GA and you moved to Nashville last  year.  What  is  it
                  like living and working in Nashville? Has it been what you expected?

LAUREN : Living in Griffin, GA since I was born, and then moving to such a big city was definitely a big
                  change. BUT, it was the best move I’ve ever made! It has been an absolute blast living  and
                  working in Nashville. Making  the  move  to  Nashville  has  also  helped  me  tremendously
                  business wise, just  by getting to know people in the industry, learning how this crazy  town
                  works… ecause believe me, it’s definitely not what it seems from the  outside  looking  in!  I
                  have learned so much in a little time that I didn’t know  before  moving  here, so  I  can  say
                  without a doubt it has been great!

RON
:       You won the national songwriting competition for the “Wake Up Nashville”  event,  a  reative
                 concept of music industry legend Bob Saporiti, to raise awareness for Narcolepsy. You were
                 invited to perform your award winning song, “Cold November” at  the  Country Music Hall of
                 Fame September 29, 2011. Winning that competition had to be a thriller, but you  had  to be
                 ecstatic sharing the stage with some very successful singer-songwriters, a few with Georgia
                 roots such as Tyler Hayes, from Thomasville, GA, who had her songs cut by Little Big Town,
                 Hillary Duff, BeBe Winans and others. While not from Georgia, Craig Monday wrote  a  song
                 that  Mark  Wills,  a  Georgia  platinum  recording  artists,  cut.  Craig  also  wrote  for  Kenny
                 Chesney and more. Then of course a few others performing that same night were the Mulch
                 Brothers,  Bobby  Wood  (Elvis, Garth  Brooks  and  more)  and  Dave Gibson / Daisy   Dern
                 (several top 40’s & 6 #1 hits) . Tell us about winning the competition  and  the  night  of  your
                 performance.

LAUREN : Winning the “Wake Up Nashville” competition was amazing.  I have to  be  honest  with  you
                  here  though, it  wasn’t  until  the  day  before  the  deadline  to  enter  songs  to  the  writing
                  competition that I even thought about entering it! I received a call from my dad telling me he
                  got word of the competition via email, and he told me that I should enter it. Honestly, I didn’t
                  really even give it a second thought. I thought to myself, “Ok, there are  SO  many  amazing
                  songs/songwriters out there.. what makes me think that I  could  win  something  like  this?!”
                  However, I entered the writing competition any way with  two  of  my  original  songs,  “Cold
                  November” and “Drive”. Come to find out a few  weeks  later,  “Cold November”  had  WON
                  and “Drive” also cam e in  the  top  ten  at  number  3.  I  was  totally  shocked  and  thrilled!
                  Performing at the Nashville Hall of Fame and Museum  was, however,  the  highlight  of  the
                  entire thing! I had never even been there, so it was pretty awesome that I was able to SING
                  there for my first time! Pretty cool, right? That night was just amazing... Meeting songwriters
                  who I have looked up to for so many years and not to mention, sharing the stage with them!
                  It was such an honor! It was also so great to meet the other  winners  in the  competition  as 
                  well and to hear their talent! There was so much! I will never forget that  experience!  It  was
                  honestly a break through moment for me in my career!

RON :        The video  produced  by  Wake  Up  Nashville  or  Awaken  The  Cure,  I’m  not  sure  who
                  produced  it, promoting  awareness of  Narcolepsy  and  the  Wake  Up  Nashville  concert 
                  features your song, “Cold November.” That’s pretty cool. By the way, you looked  stunning
                  and ready for your performance. The video can be seen on our website @
                  www.georgiamusicchannel.com on your artist page.

LAUREN : Well, thank you! You are too kind! It is super awesome that “Cold November” is featured in
                  the video and again, such an honor! Thanks for sharing it!

RON :        You not only sing, you’re a songwriter also. How do you best describe the songs  that  you
                  write?

LAUREN : I can really describe my songs in one word: honesty. Every lyric of every song that  I  have
                  written has come from somewhere way down deep inside of me  that  even  I  didn’t  know
                  existed. Writing has become a form of letting go of so many emotions that  I  feel/have  felt
                  in my lifetime, and it all comes to me just being honest with  myself.  After  listening  to  my
                  songs, listeners will know exactly who I am, even without ever meeting me!  I  write  songs
                  about breakups, love, revenge, life, good times,etc. and I think that people can relate to all
                  of that.

RON :        Have you collaborated and written any songs with other songwriters?

LAUREN : Yes, I have! In my first EP, I co-wrote with a guy named Jeff Chandler, with my sister, Haley
                  Redmond, and my producer for that EP, Trey Roth. When I moved to Nashville, I was lucky
                  enough to have the chance to write with Michael Huffman, who has written a number of hits
                  from Gary Allen, George Strait, and Kenny Chesney..  just  to  mention  a  few!  Also,  Dean
                  Scallon,  and  Jeff  Silvey.   I  have   also  recently  written  with  a  Milledgeville, GA  native,
                  Thomas Archer who definitely has a bright future ahead of him with his writing!

RON :        You’ve opened for Ronnie Milsap and Luke Byran. Coincidentally, we recently had Archie
                  Jordan, a Georgia songwriter, as our Featured Artist that wrote some  of  Ronnie’s  major
                  hits (back in the day), "What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life” and  he  co-wrote  “It’s
                  Was Almost Like A Song”, to name a couple. Tell us about your  experience  opening  for
                  Ronnie and Luke? What were some memorable moments?

LAUREN : Wow. Both of those events were just amazing! Opening  for  Ronnie Milsap  was  SUCH  an
                  honor. I mean, he is a LEGEND so who wouldn’t just be thrilled to have  that  opportunity!  I
                  got to meet Ronnie ( for a split second!) and he was so nice!  One  of  the  highlights  of  my
                  career so far! Opening for Luke was well, I mean… I really don’t even know how to describe
                  it. That Farm Tour show, by far, has been THE best time I have had  to  date.  Luke  and  his
                  crew were SO nice to my band and I and they made us feel totally at  home.  Not  at  all  like
                  just   “another  opening  act”.  I  still   remember   walking  on  to  the  stage  and  seeing  the
                  THOUSANDS of screaming fans in the audience and it literally took my breath away.  I  think
                  that was the moment that solidified the fact that this is what I want to do with the  rest  of  my
                  life. Be a  country music artist/entertainer. After the first couple of minutes it  took  for  me  to
                  actually breathe (haha!) the show went flawless and we had  such  an  amazing  time!   After
                  we performed, the amazing Dallas Davidson and  Rhett Akins  performed  acoustic  versions 
                  of hit songs they have written, then the one and only Luke Bryan took the  stage.   It  was  so
                  cool to be able to watch from behind the stage and just take it all in. Like I  said,  that  was  a
                  night that I will NEVER forget. Hopefully I’ll have some more like that soon! ;)

RON
:        The first time in the studio had to be exciting and at the same time the  emotions  had  to  be
                  jumping all around. Tell us about that.

LAUREN : I was SO nervous! The first time I got in the  vocal  booth, put  on  the  headphones, and  got
                  behind that mic, I literally was shaking. I had no idea what I  was  going  to  sound  like,  how
                  we were going to do this… but after the first warm up take, I was  ready  to  go!  After  that, I
                  felt completely at ease and ready to rock  the  songs!   Not  to  mention,  my  producer,  Trey
                  was SUPER encouraging and made the whole experience so great!

RON :        I know I’ve been “bending your ear” (for those of you that don’t know,  that’s  southern  for
                  talking a long time, lol), but if you’ll answer a couple of  more  question,  I’d  appreciate  it.

LAUREN : Of course! I love it.. ask away!

RON :        What are you doing musically currently and what’s on the horizon?

LAUREN : Well, we just recently finished recording a 5 song EP  here  in  Nashville  and  are  now  just
                  waiting on some big things to happen that I hope I can share soon! ;) However, in the mean
                  time, my band and I are just playing shows, playing shows, and well… playing shows!  I am
                  so blessed to be accompanied by such an amazing  and  supportive  group  of  guys  and  I
                  have SO much fun with them. It makes my job even more fun than it  already  is  being  with
                  those guys! We have so many stories, inside jokes, etc. that  keep  us  laughing  constantly!
                  When I am not on the road, I go  to  voice  lessons  twice  a  week  with  my  amazing  voice
                  coach, Janine Le Clair, and also continue to write. I believe you can never   have  too  many
                  songs, so I try to schedule writing appointments as much as  possible!   Life  is  busy,  but  I
                  absolutely love it!

RON
:        Well, we’re playing your song on our radio station. We’ve got  you  on  our  website  and  our
                  GA Artists page where fans can  find  out  more  information  about  you  and  listen  to  your
                  music   @   www.georgiamusicchannel.com .   Also,   fans   should   visit   your   website   @
                  www.laurenashleymusic.com . Tell everybody  the  CD  title  and  where  they  can  purchase
                  your  CD.

LAUREN : Well, first off, I appreciate you more than you know for even considering me for your  station
                  I take a lot of pride in my home state of Georgia, so it is just an absolute honor for my  song
                  to be on the Georgia Music Channel! My first self-titled EP, “Lauren Ashley” ,   available  on
                  iTunes and also on CDBaby.com under “Lauren Ashley”. I have not been  given  permission
                  to release the newest EP that we have recorded; however, I hope to be able to  release that
                  soon! In the meantime, listeners can take a look  at  my  website  and  check  out  my  show
                  dates and try to make one of the shows in their area! I recently added all 5 of my new songs
                  to the set list, so even though they are not available for purchase yet, ya’ll can still check em’
                  out! ;)

RON :        I’ve really enjoyed talking with you and  I  appreciate  you  sharing  your story  with  us.   Our
                  mission  here  at  The Georgia Music Channel  is  about  preserving  the  history  of  Georgia
                  music artists and we’re proud of your  accomplishments  and  what  you’re  doing  to  add  to
                  Georgia music.  You’re a great talent and a very nice young lady with  a  bright  future.   Your
                  #1 song is just around the corner. Keep up the great  work  and  thank  you  for  what  you’re
                  doing to continue Georgia music history.

LAUREN : Thank you so much, Ron. Again, I cannot express how thankful I am  that  you  guys  at   The
                  Georgia Music Channel reached out to me. It is such an honor to  be  in  the  same  category
                  as so many other amazing artists that are from Georgia, and I can PROMISE  you,  I  will  do
                  everything in my power to keep the history of Georgia music artists going strong!  Thanks  so
                  much for having me today and hopefully we can chat again in the near future!

Lauren Ashley Before Performing At
The Country Music Hall of Fame" @ 1:48
Featured Song For The Video
"Cold November" by Lauren Ashley


                 LAUREN ASHLEY                                                               Tracks
  "Cold November"                                              
  "Waste Of A Good Man"                                   
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