Spotlight: Ashley Monroe
By Peter Cronin © 2006 CMA Close Up News
Service / Country Music Association, Inc.
At the age of 19, Ashley Monroe is already an “old soul” and a seasoned music business veteran.
Growing up just east of Knoxville in the East Tennessee town of Corryton, Monroe was something of a musical prodigy, working a steady gig in nearby Pigeon Forge by the time she was 11. At 13, her idyllic world was turned upside down when her father passed away suddenly and her family went into “freefall.” Shattered and in dire need of solace, Monroe turned to music, spending her after-school time at the piano and learning to “put that emotion into songs,” she said.
If her debut release, Satisfied, is any indication, Monroe learned a lot sitting at that piano. Produced by Mark Wright, the album and title track first single showcase an artist with a depth and maturity that belies her tender age. Monroe, who signed to Wrensong Publishing, wrote seven of the album’s 11 tracks, including “Satisfied,” which she penned with frequent co-writer Sally Barris. Monroe’s friend and writing partner Brett James co-wrote and co-produced “Hank’s Cadillac” and “Make Room At The Bottom.”
On her father’s side, Monroe is related to Country legends Carl Smith and the Carter Family, and music was always a part of her life. Her grandfather listened to Western classics like the Sons of the Pioneers and her dad was a big fan of the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. She counts Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Hank Williams and especially Elvis Presley as musical inspirations. Satisfied, released on June 27 on Columbia Records, proves that Monroe has found an artistic voice that is uniquely her own.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
Who is your musical hero? “Dolly.”
Which song would you secretly like to cover? “‘I Will Survive’
What do you sing in the shower? “Oh goodness, a new one every day. I think this morning it was ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ by Elton John.”
What moment in your life would you relive if you could? “Being a little girl playing outside with my daddy.”
What song do you wish you had written? “Always On My Mind.”
Who is your dream duet partner? “Dolly! She wrote me a letter saying she’d like to so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you? “That I left behind great music that changed someone’s life.”
What CD is in your stereo? “The new Van Morrison album.”
On the Web: www.ashleymonroe.com