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Ashley Gearing

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Posted Sep 6, 2006 by Paul
Filed under: Exclusive Interview

Ashley Gearing has rabid fans. A great legion of rabid and loyal fans. Don’t believe us? She’s had a Myspace site for only 4 months and in that short amount of time, she’s racked up 9,000 Fans and over 400,000 plays of her songs. To be sure, a fan base like Ashley’s is not easy to come by. It takes years of hard work and dedication. Ashley has always worked hard and been very dedicated.

But it also takes a couple of other things. It helps if you have great music and an ear for songs. She recorded “Can You Hear Me”, a very mature song to be sure, at age 11. The song, as well as Ashley, went into the record books as the youngest female artist to chart a song in Billboard history. Since that time she’s recorded a full album of great, and mature, songs. This is no child. This is a fully bloomed artist with stellar vocals, stellar material, and a very bright future.

To give you an idea of how bright that future is, Ashley was recently chosen as one of the entertainers and professionals to attend and perform at an upcoming fundraiser for the Govenor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, in his bid for re-election. Who else has this honor? Tim McGraw, Anastasia Brown (judge of “Nashville Star”) and former Titan running back, Eddie George.

Ashley’s fans are quite simply her driving force. Where other artists can seem so narcissitic, Ashley isn’t that way at all. She appreciates the love and support she’s received from so many people in her career, knowing without her fans, she wouldn’t be where she is today, and where she’s going tomorrow. She’s also very giving. Declaring at one point in the interview to want to become a kindergarten teacher (the most selfless of all occupations), she works with the Red Cross and with kids to help them learn and grow with belief in themselves.

Sometimes through research you think you really get to know someone pretty well. But it’s not until you actually talk to them that you learn something new. Something interesting. Starting with her answer to our first question, we learned a lot about who Ashley Gearing really is.

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PKYou’ve worked really hard to get where you are today. Do you sometimes get upset when others, say for instance those that are on American Idol, who haven’t worked nearly as hard, get a lot of fame and recognition?

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AshleyAbsolutely not! That is the cool thing about the music business. Everybody has a different story how they gained their success. Some people paid their dues doing years of shows, some people found stardom from doing demos on other peoples CD’s, and some people make it big from getting TV exposure. I respect those people for even having the guts to not only perform on TV, but to follow through with their dream! Everybody has a different story. I just happened to start at a very young age.PK

Up till now your age has been a focus surrounding your marketing. Are you to the point where you wish everyone would get past your age and simply concentrate on your music?

Ashley – Actually, this has been something that has been talked about, in regards to my new CD. When I was 12, my song called, “Can You Hear Me When I Talk To You” charted on the Billboard charts. With that, I became the youngest female to chart the country charts. At that time, the age thing was the main topic of my interviews, and it was hard to break away from that. Even though it was huge honor, we felt maybe it put me into a kid category, yet my audience was adults. What started to break me away from that was the following year, when I was named ASCAP’s “Uncut Diamond”. It reflected who they felt had a promising future, so that made me feel good about where I was. Well, I am now 15, and when Glenn (Sweitzer of FRESH Design+film) did my photography and all the design, the main goal was to not make me look too young. I already have obstacles to cross over as a new artist, we did not want the age factor to be a part of it.PK – (So) an artist like Taylor Swift, you’re not really in competition with her simply because you share close to the same age.

Ashley – Taylor Swift is awesome!! The music business is not a competition between other artists. I think the competition is to get your song played on the radio. Taylor also started very young, and became an established writer and artist. She has paid her dues, and most people might think she popped out of no where. I heard her name mentioned often before the new single even came out. I know I can learn alot from her, and all the dues she paid to get here. Plus, our musical style is so different, that our audience might even be different.PK

Your song choice isn’t exactly tennie-bopper style country songs. You touch on some very adult themes.

Ashley – This is something my producer, Cliff Downs, takes great pride in. He is also an amazing writer, and has really looked out for me. When you have songs written by people like Cliff, Victoria Shaw and Stephanie Bentley, it’s hard to go wrong. I have also been lucky enough to sing cuts by Gary Burr and Cyndi Thompson. I just hope I do their songs justice. I sing real different now, then when I was 12, so the material I can sing about is a wider range. When you hear some of my new songs like “Don’t it Feel Good”, “Out There Somewhere” and “I Found It In You”, I think that will show you where I am now with my vocals and song choices. I love songs about passion and hope. Everybody can relate to those.PK – I think teenagers are more grown up than they used to be.

Ashley – Oh yea! Even my taste of music is wide spread. I love all genres of music, but I am country to the core. Most of my friends are the same way. With things like Myspace and satellite radio, it’s easy to find new types of music. This is an amazing time to be growing up. Things just are not how they used to be. Even my demographic is crazy. I have fans who are 11 years old and fans who are grandmas. Teenagers hopefully listen to my music and feel good about themselves.PK

You’ve had several champions throughout your career, tell us who they are and a little about them.

Ashley – Wow. This is a tough one. Of course my biggest champions and heroes are my family. My mom and dad are the most amazing people. They have made sacrifices for me to be able to follow my dream. Even during rough times, they were always there with their support. Of course my little sister Katherine has put up with me all these years, but she will most likely be a bigger star in the future years. In addition to them is Dan Kane in my old hometown. He was probably one of the first people in the “business” that believed in me. There is actually a mini documentary (about 18 minutes) on my Myspace site, that really tells this story from when I was 8. I also look up to Cliff Downs and Glenn Sweitzer. They have been working with me since I was 11 years old, and they have always been there for me.Pk – What are the best and worst things about Nashville?

Ashley – Well, the worst part is that I miss my family and all my friends. I just started a new school, which is amazing, but when you drop everything for a new lifestyle, it sometimes takes a while to adjust. The best part is being right in the middle of the music industry. Coming from Boston, not exactly the Country music capital, this is something I could not be involved with. I also love living near Chick-fil-A. And Sonic Burgers! I love their Ice Cream shakes!PK

We’re all fans of someone, who are you listening to right now? Who are you a big fan of?

Ashley – Actually, right now my little sister is singing to me. When that song is over, I think I am listening to Keith Urban! I am a huge fan of so many artists! I guess if any inspire more than others, it would have to be Faith Hill and Martina McBride. With Faith, I admire her so much for her special music and how she balances family with job. And course it helps that she is married to Tim McGraw!PK – Who are some of your idols? Who would you like to meet?

Ashley – Well, I have been pretty lucky with where I have been so far. I did a song on one of the Disneymania albums, called, “When You Wish Upon A Star”, and during that tour I met Julie Andrews. I have also met Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Jessica Andrews. Some of my other idols I met, was when I performed at the Grand Ole’ Opry. I met little Jimmy Dickens and some other legends. I even met Pam Tillis a few weeks ago at the Opry!PK

I hear you like working with kids?

Ashley – In the past few years, I have been honored to speak at a number of events that center around children. I did some work with the Red Cross, and also with 600 inner city kids. I spoke to them about following your dreams and never giving up. This is what it is all about. They are the future of our country. I love being able to communicate with all different ages and people, but my favorite is definitely young children They are just amazing to me, and I love being around them. Actually, one of the things I always wanted to be was a kindergarten teacher, so I could be a part of who they are going to end up being someday.PK – You went from having a very small core of believers to a very large faithful following in a short time, is there anything you’d like to tell all of your fans?

Ashley – This is the craziest thing. When I had my record deal with Lyric Street Records a few years ago, my single was already charting. Even though a CD was never released, the fans were so amazing and supportive. They have always been here for me, even though it took a couple more years to even get to this point. Well, 4 months ago, Glenn and myself created my Myspace site, and what was about to happen, could have never been imagined by anybody. I have some artist friends who have Myspace sites, and we saw numbers like 9,000 song plays in 2 years and average song plays per day around 300. Well, in less than 4 months, my song plays just hit 437,000 plays, with an average of 5,800 per day. We were not ready for this at all. I am also selling my CD exclusively off that site, and this is great, since the CD is not in any stores yet (it is on iTunes, too). With this said, alot of my original fans have found their way to Myspace. Plus, I am now at almost 9,000 friends, and I have to say, that these are the most AMAZING people out there. I have had people who handle other artist fansites tell me that they have never seen such a loyalty as my supporters! They even stuck it out with me for a couple of months of contest polls that I was in. One poll, in the 2 months, I had more than 32,000 votes! Now, that is support!

GREAT NEWS! for our readers and fans of Ashley.

We’ve asked Ashley to come back over and answer as many FAN questions as she has time for, and she’s AGREED! So if YOU have a question for Ashley, please leave it in the comments section BELOW!

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