INTERVIEW: Ashlee Williss

Hi Ashlee, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi Vents! Thank you for having me, I’ve been great, it’s been the most exciting time of my life! Releasing music and becoming a mom!!!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Mama I Know You Tried”?

This is by far my favorite song I’ve ever written! It’s so personal, it’s about my mom, telling a little bit of her story – but mostly how much she loves and sacrificed for her baby. So every mother and everyone with a mother can relate! And yet the song is still very uptempo and fun!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

My mom was obviously the inspiration, but musically, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” was the melodic inspiration and Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” was the lyrical inspiration. Those are 2 of my favorite songs. But I wanted to blend in a good four on the floor dance beat so that I can play it at my DJ gigs!

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes, I’m working on a video showing our journey. From old photos of my mom, to my childhood, to now having a baby of my own.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was such a fun process because it was so personal and happened so organically. Musically, we recorded claps, snaps, boot stomps, whistles and different sounds made with the mouth. None of that was programmed, it was all recorded right there, no perfect timing, just raw and real.

What was it like to work with John Shanks and how did that relationship develop?

We worked together years ago, originally met through the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter contest in 2011 where he was the judge and I was a contestant. We developed a close relationship working on my song “You Only Want Me When You’re Wasted,” and I consider him a lifelong friend now.

How much did he get to influence the song?

I actually wrote and recorded this song, “Mama I Know You Tried” with an incredible up-and-coming producer named Eric Zayne. His talent blows my mind!

What role does LA play in your music?

Well, I’ve lived in LA for 15 years, so it’s definitely shaped my music and influenced the variety of genres I create and blend together. However, I was raised in the south and those roots are so strong I’ve always had an undeniable country thing that makes me stand out in the big city.

Being influenced for a large amount of genres – how do you go on balancing the influences?

Before I became a DJ, my musical taste was very limited to what I grew up on. DJ’ing all around the world for every type of event you can think of really opened my eyes and my taste to all styles. Now I’m like a musical chameleon, it’s just become who I am and I love it that way! I’m never bored!

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Oh yes!!! I have lots of new music coming! And I’m planning on finally releasing older songs that no one’s ever heard. I spent a lot of time in Nashville over the years writing with some of the best songwriters in the world, and I’ve just been sitting on our songs for way too long! It’s time to let them be heard!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

After “Mama I Know You Tried.” I have a song called “Brought Out The Fighter” I’m planning on releasing a couple months later.

What else is happening next in Ashlee Williss’ world?

Besides releasing new music, becoming a mom has definitely be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done! I can’t wait to continue experiencing this new role in life and see how it changes everything!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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