'Letting Go: The Christina Ashley Story'
As if it’s not difficult enough being a teenager, singer-songwriter Christina Ashley’s room and possessions were completely destroyed by a house fire a few years ago.
The seventeen-year-old San Diego native turned to music as her sanctuary to help find solace and regain stability in her life, a form of therapy that spawned Let It All Go, the debut album produced by Amber & Rob Whitlock.
Let It All Go is an accomplished seventeen-track collection brought to life by a fine supporting cast of ace session players along with top flight production and arrangements that breathe freshness into the thirteen cover songs.
With the hope of following in the footsteps of some of the greatest singer-songwriters of the modern pop era, Ashley recorded gems penned by Paul Simon (“Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes”), Elton John (“Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”), Billy Joel (“And So It Goes”), Jackson Browne (“Running On Empty”), Dan Fogelberg (“Longer”), and John Lennon & Paul McCartney (“Two Of Us”).
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Christina Ashley and asked her about her life-changing house fire, about a childhood bully, about upcoming tattoos, and about, yup ... penguins!
Taking it from the top and it is claimed that you first turned to music as a coping mechanism whilst struggling with the loss of your bedroom, and all its possessions therein, after a devastating house fire. I am sorry to hear that - how long ago was that fire and was anybody hurt? "The fire was about three years ago and luckily no one was hurt. Everyone was out of the house and most of our pets were able to avoid it, so that was good."
Being that you lost all your possessions in said fire, what ones (had you have had the chance to at the time) would you have liked to have saved - and why? "I don’t regret losing everything because I think in the end it changed me for the better and taught me so much about myself, but if I had the choice I would have liked to save my Mufasa stuffed animal. I had him since I was three and he was all scraggly looking from being in the wash so many times because I took him absolutely everywhere. I had so many memories with him so that definitely would have been the thing I would have liked to save most."
Indeed, one can only assume that your debut album title, 'Let It All Go' originates from the embers of that very same fire? "Yes, it did. I titled the album 'Let It All Go' because for a while I held so much pain and hatred about not only that day, but for everything that I had experienced in terms of self-image and bullying. The fire sent me overboard, so I needed to learn how to let go of all the sadness and anger I held, thus the album title and the song."
Your debut album has 17 tracks on it, which is rare for a debut album. So, why all 17 tracks and not trim it down to 10 or so? "We figured that if we were doing this album, we were going to do it all the way. We never planned for 17 songs, but that is just what it ended up being with all of the songs that were picked and written."
The album contains a lot of modern pop era hits, from such artists as Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and many more. So, were these songs ones you loved from the moment you heard them on the radio, or were they suggested to you before recording began and you simply got to know them then? "I had heard most of them from my dad because he likes all of that stuff and the rest of them were songs I liked from the radio, movies or wherever I heard them. One or two of them were suggested to me before hand, but most of them were songs I had known and loved."
Which of the cover songs is your favorite, currently, and why? "One of my favorite cover songs is 'I’ll Fly Away' because it’s very me and I like the meaning behind it, plus the arrangement Rob Whitlock wrote is awesome and the song is just so pretty. 'And So It Goes' is my other favorite because I first recorded it for my mom on her birthday so it’s a special song in my family. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard."
The album also contains four original songs, one being 'I Still Remember That Time,' a track you wrote that addresses the time when you were bullied by a boy. Does he know this songs exists about him and his ways, perhaps? "I don’t think that he knows it's about it, but if he heard it he would probably be able to figure it out. He knows what he did to me was wrong. He knows that I am not fond of him and that what he did was extremely hurtful, but we don’t talk so I doubt he is aware that I wrote it about him."
Please tell us more about the album cover, as you are either standing beneath falling objects or have just thrown some up in the air! "The petals that have been tossed in the air are supposed to be whimsical and carefree, kind of like I am throwing all of my worries away."
Do you have any tattoos and, if so, and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, what are they of and where are they located?! "Ha ha. I am not 18 until Halloween, so I do not have any tattoos yet, but I plan on getting one that says 'Consilio et Animis' which means 'by wisdom and courage' in Latin. It has been my motto for the longest time and is something that helped me when I was going through hard times."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "I am a complete veg-head animal-lover, so of course I love penguins!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED 'LET IT ALL GO' CD from Christina, just answer this easy question: Which Dan Fogelberg song does Christina undertake on this wonderful debut album?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful signed CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: CHRISTINA ASHLEY SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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