Ashe what she’s most proud of about her debut album , and she’ll beam about its off-kilter sound, a descriptor — “too pop for alternative and too alternative for pop” — once levied against her that’s now become a point of pride for the Californian singer songwriter. Ashlyn
“That's the sweet spot,” the 28-year-old tells NYLON over a recent phone call. “I think it really stands out, it doesn't sound like anyone else. I'm the only one who has to sing [my songs] for the rest of her life. Going on this North American headlining tour next year, I have to stand behind these songs.”
Ashlyn — finally released in May 2021 after several years of grinding behind the scenes as an industry songwriter and releasing her own EPs — goes against the grain of the pop sound du jour. Rather than mining the brooding and dark-sounding sonics that now regularly top Billboard’s Hot 100, Ashe’s music finds a breezy confidence in bright and simple melodies, even as she’s singing about climate change eventually flooding California like on her hit “ Till Forever Falls Apart.” Her songs have won her a formidable audience in the millions — bolstered by collaborations with former Directioner Niall Horan, and FINNEAS. Last weekend, she made her festival debut at Lollapalooza where she received a timeslot “that is outrageous,” she says, incredulously.
Ahead of her festival appearance, Ashe took on the NYLON 19, where she reflected on everything from her astrological sign, Joni Mitchell, the power of well-groomed brows, and more.
1 What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?
Oh, I do believe in it. I'm a Taurus. I'm definitely a Taurus to a T. I like to think that I'm very grounded, maybe that's not always true, but yeah. I'm definitely an Earth sign.
2 Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?
I've never seen a ghost but I definitely believe in them. I stayed in this hotel in Colorado that's famously haunted and you just knew. It really was a sensation like you were not alone, and I totally buy into all of it. I don't even care if it's not real or not. People tend to take life too seriously and it's such like a, "Why not?"
3 What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)
My drink order is probably a good ol' oat milk latte cause I'm obsessed with coffee, but if it's a drink order, it's probably a rum and coke, because that's what my grandpa used to drink. I feel like the best hangover cure is just staying in bed and watching movies all day, which is kind of boring but true.
4 Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?
Dead or alive? I would want Carole King to be one of the headliners. I would say Queen, and ABBA. I can't think of any artists that are relevant today that would really excite me. Those three would be pretty great.
5 What's the weirdest snack that you make?
I don't know if this is weird but I make these bacon wrapped water chestnuts. It sounds weird but it's delicious. Crunchy because of the water chestnut, and then the salty crispiness of bacon. 10 out of 10, would recommend.
6 What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?
I don't know! I mean, I don't have that many [
laughs]. How egotistical is that? I'm perfect. I probably drink too much coffee. I have like seven to eight cups a day which is maybe above the recommended amount. Maybe that crosses into bad habit-ish but I love it so much. But I've been not meaning to fix it. 7 What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?
I kinda went down an Addison Rae rabbit hole the other day. This is gonna sound silly but she followed me on Twitter and I was like, "Hey! She's an important person right?" So I started watching her interviews and she's actually super adorable and well spoken. I was like, "Maybe I'm manifesting a friendship."
8 What was the last DM you received?
I have a DM from Dove Cameron from yesterday and she's amazing. And I have a DM from Budweiser which I have unread because I don't wanna read it yet and it be seen, so I'm taking my time with it.
9 If you could be in any music video, what would it be?
Maybe when Harry Styles was going underwater in "
Falling" and I could just be like, swimming around with him. I don't think it would add to the music video aesthetically, but it would be a whole lot of fun. 10 What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?
I went to see Bon Iver play at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was the second album when he started getting really cinematic. I remember going, "Oh, it'd be really cool, I don't know how, but to play this venue." And I headline at it next year; I'm playing the Fillmore, the very same venue. I'm going to cry for sure.
11 What was your favorite movie as a kid?
I've always been a little bit of an old soul so
Singing In the Rain. I used to watch that movie over and over and over. I watched Singing in the Rain a couple months ago because I had a music video that I wanted to pull some of the dance inspiration from so I like went in to research. 12 What's your favorite meme/internet joke and why?
This is not answering the question correctly but there's a gif of a little girl really pissed off shaking a hairbrush. It's not a meme or an internet joke but I use it all the time and I feel like it fits me. I used it yesterday to my managers.
13 What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?
Gwyneth Paltrow. It's a pink Ralph Lauren dress and she wore it to the 71st Academy Awards. It's so good. It's got the spaghetti straps, and she looks like Grace Kelly. Perfect. I notoriously don't wear dresses but if I did, I would wear this one.
14 What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?
There's a lot of weird funky sunglasses on Amazon under $10. They're clearly not fancy brands but I have maybe four or five pairs of maybe $7 or $8 sunglasses from Amazon that like, people think when I'm wearing them in a photo, like are Gucci or something.
15 What piece of clothing from high school do you wish you kept?
My boyfriend's sweater. I gave it back, or maybe I gave it to Goodwill or something [
laughs] which is so savage but it felt so good. You know how it's smells like your boyfriend — so cute! 16 What is one question you never want to be asked again?
I don't know, I'm a pretty open book! I don't mind getting the repetitive questions but if I never had to be asked again, "What's it like working with Niall Horan," I'd probably be like, "Cool." We all know I love him so much! It's been asked.
17 What is your go-to sad song?
Joni Mitchell, the re-made version of "Both Sides Now." Yeah. It'll mess you up.
18 What reality show would you most like to appear on?
The Bachelorette. I'm watching it right now, Katie's season, and I love. I don't know if I'd want to perform on it because that feels really awkward when you're singing a song to them just making out in front of you. I'd be like, "Pay attention to me!" But yeah, that would be a fun show to go on and be one of the judges when they have a group date. 19 What is your best beauty tip or trick?
I don't wear much makeup but if I do nothing else, just get your brows right. Push 'em up, you know. I use Glossier's Boy Brow, it's the best! Now they just added this new one, it's called the Brow Flick which I haven't ordered yet but I wanna get it. Just fix your eyebrows and it just frames your whole face and it's all you need.