There is a lot going for rocker Pia Ashley these days. Her birthday, a brand new album and a performance on CTV Ottawa Morning Live are all on the horizon.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment,” Ashley says.
On Sept. 27, Ashley is releasing her self-titled EP to iTunes. The Ottawa native will also be holding a CD release party that night performing with Eric Gilmour, The Adopted and The Mad Hatters in her hometown.
“The release party is two days after my birthday so it is a real nice treat,” she says.
For Ashley, the five-track EP has been two years of hard work. The 29-year-old explains that listeners will hear a rock’n’roll sound with a modern twist.
“I would describe my sound as aggressive melody driven rock’n’roll, with deep emotion and honesty. It’s got a modern feel to the overall sound,” she says.
“It’s also not overly produced with the vocals,” she adds.
Ashley, who turns 30 today Sept. 25, explains that the biggest challenge while creating the album was finding the appropriate approach.
“We had tried a lot of different avenues but really it was just figuring out the sound that we wanted for the album,” Ashley says.
Ashley began singing when she was 12-years-old and four years later she began playing the guitar. She says that she has only recently discovered her true vocal ability.
“I’ve been singing for so long now but just this past year I’ve come to find my voice and it’s an incredibly empowering feeling. It’s that control and liberty that you have. It is about trusting yourself to be free with your voice and being able to control it.”
The independent rock singer has been performing since she was 16. Ashley’s band includes her husband and guitarist Bryan Fonda, along with bassist Colin Wolfson and drummer Benny Bullet.
“We just recently formed a concrete band,” Ashley says. “The people that we are playing with, that will be at the CD release party, are awesome and are a really great fit. I am thrilled to have them on board.”
Fonda and Ashley connected nine years ago while meeting at a series of open mic nights. She says that having her husband in the band makes her a better artist.
“It is pretty incredible as an artist. Sometimes it can get pretty heated but it can also be amazing. Overall I just love it because we are on the same page with everything in our lives musically,” Ashley says. “It’s amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In one way it’s an advantage because we can work together every night because we have a home studio.”
Ashley explains that just because her husband is a member in her band doesn’t mean she’s going to hold back writing on subjects regarding love and various kinds of relationships.
“It doesn’t cross my mind at all. He knows me better than anyone so nothing is a surprise,” she says. “I write about all kinds of things, whether it is about someone who has pissed me off and I need to get it off my chest.”
“Usually it’s something that I’ve been hanging on to for a while that I need to get off my mind,” she adds.
Ashley has been using social media to her advantage and has more than 1,200 likes on Facebook and 2,300 subscribers on YouTube.
“Because I am in Ottawa I am only really able to perform to people locally in Ottawa, but on YouTube I can reach anyone in the world,” she says. “You really can reach pretty much anybody It’s pretty inspiring. It is a great way for people to know that you exist as a musician.”
One of those people that she has caught the attention of is American vocal coach Brett Manning (who’s worked with Taylor Swift, Hayley Williams and Keith Urban among others).
“I’ve had conversations with him online,” she says. “It’s crazy being able to network. I’ve built a lot of contacts. Brett and I talk and he checks out my videos online. I’m hoping we can get connected further. It’s just really inspiring to get that kind of connection,” she says.
Following the EP release party, Ashley is looking forward to performing more show. She sees a bright future for herself and hopes to go on an extended tour in 2014.
“That would be awesome but there are no concrete plans as of yet, but I’m hoping sometime next summer we can get out and tour,” Ashley says. “I visualize success and that keeps me going. There is no end for what I see for my future. I just want to keep doing the music all the time.”
For more information on Pia Ashley visit www.piaashley.com or follow at @PiaAshley on Twitter.
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