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  • Hannah Conkin

Interview: "Lovers Don't Say (Goodbyes)" - Ashley Barksdale

Your new song, "Lovers Don't Say (Goodbyes)", is so dynamic! What's the story behind it?

Ashley: It’s about a toxic relationship between two lovers who manipulate one another to stay in the relationship, claiming lovers simply don’t say goodbye and they don’t ever cross the lines of wanting to leave. And while either one of them could walk away from the relationship, there’s no denying the grip they both have on each other. In the end, it’s okay because while they’re bad for each other, their love for one another overpowers all the negative energy and feelings.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Ashley: I’m very heavily influenced by Dua Lipa. I’ve always been someone who’s listened to her music but didn’t quite get into her until future nostalgia. Her sound is so so unique compared to any other pop artist in my eyes, and it reminds me of early 2010s pop, which is the genre of pop I love. I’ve always been someone who’s wanted to make pop music that will keep the people on their feet. If my music is the reason someone is sitting down I didn’t do my job right. So, listening to Dua Lipa, and studying her sound, it’s made me realize that this is the type of music I want to make. She’s inspired me to want to grow as an artist simply because I loved to watch her grow as an artist herself. She went from being bullied for the iconic One Kiss dance to performing major dance numbers and that very same One Kiss dance every night on her Future Nostalgia tour as a clap back to everyone who ever doubted her, it’s all truly inspiring.

What has your experience been like breaking into the music industry? Any particularly challenging or inspiring moments?

Ashley: What was challenging for me was trying to discover my sound, and which genre I felt best suited me and I enjoyed. For example, I sang jazz for a little while, and tried writing a jazz tune and it just wasn’t working for me. I didn’t feel as if jazz was a genre I’d want to sing compared to listening to the music. I then moved on to pop-punk, wrote song really depressing songs, and then I came across a pop disco beat, and I always said I’d get into my disco era but I needed to finish my pop-punk EP first. However, that statement lasted a good two weeks before I found the beat I used for Lovers Don't Say (Goodbyes) and my whole perspective changed. That's when I was like yeah, this is the music I want to make for the rest of my life.

What led you to play and perform pop songs? Were you always interested in the pop genre?

Ashley: I grew up with pop music, it was always what I listened to on the radio. I remember when the first CD I ever owned was Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and it was the CD I had on repeat for years. I also always watched Hannah Montana growing up. I honestly can say I was Hannah’s biggest fan--I didn’t own five wigs for nothing! I always said to my mom before she passed that I was going to be just like Katy and Hannah, singing and dancing to these upbeat numbers. However, when I started to really get into the industry, I was starting to doubt my ability to pursue pop music because everybody seemed to want me to do something different. My family assumed I would stick with Broadway and perform in musicals, others assumed I would do jazz because I sang the songs for my school jazz band, and some even thought I’d stick with pop-punk because I went through a time where I was making a pop-punk EP which was mainly to help cope with the bad things I was going through. While I enjoy each of these genres a lot, they’re just not pop. Pop is the genre where I can take some of the saddest lyrics, put upbeat instrumentation behind them, and get a hit that so many others can relate to and scream at the top of their lungs. If I can be one of those people that are the reason for people to be singing and dancing along all day, 24/7, then I wouldn’t need anything else to satisfy me.

When you're not working on a new project, what do you like to do?

Ashley: I’m just like any average teenage girl. I attend school, The Jay Z founded Roc Nation School of Music, Sports, and Entertainment, I also work a job here at one of the small convenience stores at home, and I also love to hang out with my friends. However, I’m very dedicated to my music and I’m always trying to incorporate music into my everyday life whether that be by practicing guitar, writing some random lyrics, to even taking the aux cord in the car!

What's next for you after releasing this great single?

Ashley: Well, I’m currently in the process of starting my pop EP! I’ve been in contact with my songwriter Geah Sho and a couple of producers to hook me up with some pop beats. I’ve got a mixing and mastering engineer on hand, so it’s all slowly coming together. I’m ready to take my career to the next level, and this pop sensation is about to dominate the pop star realm, ready for whatever decides to come her way.

Interviewed By Hannah Conkin



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