Described as charismatic, honest and a vocal powerhouse, singer/songwriter Ashley Jordan has performed her music across the U.S. for the past 10 years. In late 2019, she began recording her fifth album of original music at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville, TN with legendary platinum producer Jeff Huskins. “Still Hear Him Talking”, Ashley’s new single, is the first taste of this new material, with more news to come on the currently untitled album.
Hi Ashley, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hello VENTS – and thank you for inviting me to talk with you! I’ve been hanging in there – just doing what pretty much everyone else is doing and staying home! I moved back to my hometown for the last couple of months during the pandemic with my family, boyfriend and all our dogs. So it’s been a full house and lots of craziness. Thankfully, we’ve all stayed healthy!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Still Hear Him Talking”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
There was definitely divine inspiration to write this song because I had lost my beloved Grandpa over a year ago and soon after my Grandma (whom he had cared for) passed away as well. For almost a year I had this line in my head “I still hear him talking” that kept playing over and over – and the song came together when I finally allowed myself to sit down, listen and write it. It was an emotional song to complete but it also allowed me to process and heal. In writing it down and playing it aloud, I think I was reassuring myself that even in all the darkness of the world there was always someone out there looking over me and telling me that everything would be ok.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process happened very quickly once I decided to tackle it head-on. I always say that the song sort of wrote itself. In term of recording the song though, honestly I never really intended to record this particular song. I wrote it mostly for me – to process my loss and to let go. But when I went to Nashville to record a “few” songs, my team had worked hard to raise funds for me to record more songs than initially planned because everyone had a favorite they wanted recorded. Also as a divine intervention, my grandpa had left me a small monetary gift after his passing that was the final funding needed – so I really think my grandpa had a hand in getting “Still Hear Him Talking” recorded. At the last minute I pulled out this song and my awesome Nashville Producer, Jeff Huskins, told me that we MUST record it. So it was the last song to be added to the list and the one that brought the biggest response from everyone in the studio. The first take was the best – and most of what you hear on that song is from that emotional first take.
What was it like to work with Jeff Huskins and how did that relationship develop?
Oh – I LOVE Jeff Huskins (we call him Husky)! I adored him from the first time we spoke about working together. He’s soft spoken, funny and kind, and there was never a time when anything felt forced or not true to who I was as an artist. He has a musician’s heart (he’s been a member of the band Little Texas since 1994 and has sold over 11 Million records) and a sound engineer’s mind/ear – which is a great combo! He was so incredibly generous and wonderful to me and the whole team. You realize how down-to-earth and humble he truly is because you’d never know that he’s actually a platinum producer and has worked on over 10,000 songs – working with everyone from Merle Haggard to Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. I really feel honored to have worked with him and to call him my friend/mentor. I’m hoping we’re going to be working together again soon because he is just the best.
How much did he get to influence the song?
I feel that Husky has this amazing ability to listen to what I hear for a song and then make it sound a hundred times better. He is incredible and his influence is definitely there in all the recordings – yet it’s still me. For “Still Hear Him Talking,” Husky’s magic touch and working so seamlessly with the musicians in the studio was what made the song so poignant and real. He believed in this song from the very beginning and was the driving force in suggesting that this be the first song to put out there. The lyrics of this song also really hit home given the COVID-19 crisis with people feeling lost and alone – so it was perhaps meant-to-be that it was brought to life and then released as the first single.
With the positive reception your music has had so far, do you feel any pressure as you put together a new album or rather the opposite?
I think the primary pressure I feel is what I place on myself. Most musicians will attest to this – but as I’m working on one project, I’m already thinking about what comes next and how to keep moving forward. Luckily, I have the most amazing kick-ass team surrounding me – they’re my music family. My management team of Andrew Corbett, Will McCormick and my mom Terri Lantz-Jordan (who has been my music sidekick for the past 15 years) are the glue that holds it all together. Then I have an amazing band that I love dearly, and a crew of people who have given their time and expertise in everything from photography (Tommy Colbert), videography (Eric Snyder), sound/light (Phil Grenier), media (Courtney Columbo), and consultant (Marvin Collin) – and so many other areas! Plus I have my awesome family and friends supporting me every step of the way and people who have helped to finance the recent recordings. Every day I feel blessed to be surrounded by all these incredible humans. So maybe I do feel some self-imposed pressure to be worthy of all the sacrifices people have made for me as true believers in my music. But we’re all in it together, and I can’t imagine taking this journey without all the love and support that I am so blessed to have around me.
What role does Nashville play in your music?
Nashville is such an incredible place to be and I’m always inspired and motivated when I’m there. I recorded at Sound Stage Studio right in the heart of Nashville, and the musicians who played on my album were awesome and truly a reflection of that town. The band leader for my record was Scotty Sanders, who played pedal steel and is an absolute Nashville legend. He has played on albums with Blake Sheldon, Trace Atkins, Cody Johnson, Sam Hunt and many others. Evan Hutchings played drums for my songs – and he just finished recording Jimmy Allen’s last hit record. Jimmie Carter played bass and he is actually Alan Jackson’s bassist. Joel Key played acoustic guitar and mandolin – and he is Cole Swindell’s acoustic guitarist. And then there was Jon Conley on electric guitar, and he’s a music partner of Kenny Chesney. So who wouldn’t be inspired and motivated with this kind of Nashville talent and creativity all around them? I get chills when I think about it!
How’s your new album coming along?
Funny you should ask! As I mentioned before, I went to Nashville and originally had planned to just record two or three songs with Husky. By the time I hit my final recording session, I had completed ten full songs. So it seems an album will definitely be coming soon.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Nothing definitive yet – but I’ll let you know as soon as we figure that all out!
What else is happening next in Ashley Jordan’s world?
The COVID-19 crisis has pretty much changed the immediate future for me and likely for most musicians. All of my tour dates and big shows from March through to the summer are being cancelled or postponed, one by one. It’s sad and definitely a rough time for musicians (and so many others)! My team was also in the process of shopping for labels after I finished recording, and that too got put on hold as Nashville shut down. So, we have been switching gears a bit and focusing on a couple of the songs we just recorded to release them as singles. After releasing “Still Hear Him Talking” on May 1, last week we completed filming a music video for the song. It was an interesting process right in the middle of a pandemic – but we followed all the rules and had a safe shoot! I’m really pleased with the outcome so we should be announcing a release date for the video very soon. There are talks about possibly releasing another song this summer as well – so we’re keeping the momentum moving forward and trying to stay positive, focused and flexible!
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