We were so happy to catch up with Ash Watson who joined Hollywood Immersive in 2013. Ash fondly remembers her HI experience and the lessons she took with her. She released her first single, broke out of her comfort zone to reach out to top music producers and continues to network while nurturing her existing contacts. She is currently taking the next steps in her journey by writing new songs to complete her EP. We hope you are as inspired as us by this very driven and talented artist.
Ash, you joined us on HI back in 2013 – what did you expect to find on HI and how did things change for you afterwards?
Before I started the Music Immersive program, I thought it was the be all and end all, that it would hand me the keys to the kingdom so to speak, but after it ended I realized that was an unrealistic expectation. What the program DID give me was guidance on how to shape my own journey. It gave me the fundamentals, so that I could go forward knowing who I am and what I want to achieve, and even opportunities to achieve those things which is more than most people ever get.
It was a bit of a slap in the face to realize I had perhaps been naive in thinking my dream was going to be handed to me, but I am so glad I figured it all out now, rather than 20 years down the line and I am so grateful to have been a part of the program, to learn how to take charge of my own destiny, and to have made life long friends because of it.
You worked with some pretty awesome producers when you were last in LA. Tell us about that experience and what is your plan to work with them in the future.
After I finished HI in 2013 I was inspired by the amount of opportunity in LA so I decided to email top producers in the area to see if they’d be willing to work with me. One producer was a connection I made through the program which is great, but the other was someone totally new. The reason I had the gumption to send out these emails was because I had so much confidence in my direction after HI and I knew I had to be bold. The experience was pretty full on. Sometimes they would use terms I hadn’t heard before, but I just stuck to my old mantra… ‘fake it till you make it’ haha. By that I mean, just act confident and you’ll come across confident. You also gain more respect this way.
The producers were both really excited by my voice which felt great. And hearing the finished product for the first time was a once in a lifetime high.
It’s all very fast paced and a little intimidating so you really have to know what you want, and be confident to ask for it.
I would love to work with these producers again but I am also looking into some Aussie guys, to try and cut back on travel costs.
We are still in contact though, and they’re great allies to have.
Tell us about what you have been doing since you have been back in Australia.
Since I’ve been back in Australia, I released the single I recorded in LA which is much more work than you might expect. Organizing PR and a launch party, after filming the video clip of course. It’s a very long process but I was lucky enough to have the song, ‘Little Love’, played on mainstream radio, ABC 774, and other community stations several times. During that time I also did live to air interviews which was so nerve-racking but thrilling. It was cool to have my family and friends listening in. It was a real novelty.
Since the release of ‘Little Love’ was completed, I have been working on a new EP and raising funds for it. I hope to release an Indie-Gogo campaign to help pay for the album later this year.
Tell us about your administration and what you do to regularly keep in front of the right people?
Keeping in contact with friends in the industry is important so you can keep on their radar. I also meet a lot of new people at gigs and always add them to social media right away. You have to put your ego aside here, and not be afraid of looking ‘too keen’ because that’s how you miss opportunities. I make friends, send them my material and figure out how we might be able to help one another. Helping ONE ANOTHER is also very important. Not just ‘how can they help me?’
Trying to keep my socials up to date is important, and trying to build my following too. It can seem overwhelming so I tend to focus on three key social platforms and share the one post to all three.
I’m currently looking at getting a personal manager to help me get in front of the right people because it’s so hard to know where to start.
I schedule myself a day to read my books on this matter, every week. I’m currently reading a book suggested to me during the HI program which has given me great insight into the management field.
Just making sure I always have a plan is how I like to roll. Otherwise I feel stressed and lost. So at the moment it’s a new EP, and a manager to help me release it, then a film clip and updating my website to keep it fresh, and so on.
If there was one producer you’d like to work with who would that be and why?
Mark Ronson! He was responsible for Amy Winehouse’s success and now that of Lady Gaga. Not only does he know how to release HUGELY successful tracks, but seeing as he’s worked with Amy, he understands my sound and would be able to see my vision for myself. It’s so important to work with people who get you, not just because they’re famous.
You have such a great retro style look and this very much flows through to your music as well. What artists inspire you and why?
The artists that inspire me are Amy Winehouse, Gin Wigmore, Etta James, Imelda May, Paloma Faith and more.
I’ve always wanted to emulate my voice on Etta James. I love her raspy tone.
These more modern singers inspire me because I can hear how they interpret the retro style, and make it fresh and new, which is so important. It also gives me hope that my style of music has a market, which has always worried me. A lot of people have tried to push me into a more modern style of pop for fear of the retro market not taking off, but I feel like everything is coming together at the most perfect time right now, for my style.
What’s coming up for you and when should we expect to see you back in the US?
Next on the agenda is to keep writing my EP tracks, fund the project on Indie-Gogo, which I will put up on my website www.ashleighwatsonmusic.com later this year if anyone is interested in taking a look. Getting myself a manager who can hopefully take me to the next level. I’m ready!
As for the US, I’m not sure where this journey will take me. But I’m open to anything that will help me reach my goal.