- Words Aimee Phillips
Rising Jamaican R&B artist Stalk Ashley talks about her musical journey and what we can expect next from her.
Singer-songwriter Stalk Ashley may have only been releasing tunes for two years, but her sound is highly polished and confident.
Based in Kingston, Jamaica, Stalk Ashley’s style of R&B is blended effortlessly with strands of dancehall and reggae to create a concoction that is uniquely hers. Making her mark with addictive melodies and a self-assured delivery, Stalk Ashley’s lyrics are honest and often pretty steamy. On her track “Sin Sex” she sings: “By anything me mean anything/ See I’m flexible me can do many things, devil tings/ Put you Pon another level things.”
The young artist’s open and honest musical approach to female desire and independence is welcome and refreshing, and it’s something that’s attracting her attention from around the world as her success builds. At the start of “Young” she makes herself clear: “Me so young just a girl having fun sorry fi the misunderstanding jah/ Know mi just a forward mi no ready fi settle down.”
Last year, Stalk Ashley was recruited by Stormzy to cover Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” alongside him at BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge back in September. Recently, Stalk Ashley teamed up with “In2” hitmakers WSTRN for the song “Deserted”, as well as dropping “Open.” The songs are her first releases this year, following a trio of singles last year and a debut in 2018.
We spoke to the up-and-coming musician to hear about the way her relationship with music has changed over the years, the song that makes her smile, and what she’s planning next.
How did the collab with WSTRN come about for your latest song is “Deserted”?
On my first trip to London, I was in the studio with WSTRN’s producer Prgrshn, and I played him the song he called WSTRN. They came by the studio and heard the song and they just rated it and drop the verses right there and then.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Jacob Collier, that’s the one I really want to happen.
The music video for “Deserted” is stunning. What was the process of filming it like?
A lot of the “Deserted” video came together in post-production but while we were filming I just remember it being a really hot day in Jamaica. I had to do around 6- 8 different looks, so I was changing a lot and shooting and walking on the beach, it was hot! But I really enjoyed that shoot, I got to see myself in a lot of different looks that I loved.
Growing up, what was your relationship with music like? Has it changed since then?
When I was growing up I didn’t really get to make my own decisions on the music I listened to, I just listen to what people around me were listening to I never had the opportunity to really build my own taste until I was much older mainly because I grew up in a really religious household. So my relationship has most definitely changed I have a much closer relationship with music now, I listen to music every single day. I’ve had the opportunity to discover music on my own and find sounds that I love.
If you could, how would you summarise your journey to becoming a musician?
I’ve been singing since I was really young, so I always believed in myself but I could have never guessed I’d be where I am today. I literally just took a leap of faith. I didn’t know anyone in the music industry, I didn’t have any advice from anyone. I just moved to Kingston (Jamaica) when I was 19 and just started to work, I met my team shortly after I arrived. I quickly started to learn more about writing songs and I practised my craft as best as I could, I just did that wholeheartedly. With that, I’ve met some amazing people and have been presented with some incredible opportunities. I’m still at the beginning of my journey I have so much more to do and learn, oh and I definitely want to learn to play instruments.
What are some of the best and worst things about the music industry – from your experience?
Best things about the music industry for me is being able to put out music that represents me and then seeing how people react to it. I love being able to connect to people and grown my supports. Also being able to travel and make and perform music in different places and meet people from different cultures. I’m very much a recluse so I’m cautious about the situation I put myself in and so I don’t really have a situation where I have necessary had any bad experience yet.
What’s your favourite topic to write about at the moment?
I don’t have one set topic every time I write it’s about something else, I love to be able to talk about different stuff and different experiences.
What have the last few months taught you?
The last few months have taught me a lot. Personal and life lesson in general. If anything it’s that you are your best asset, so make that you have yourself and protect you at all cost, just try to take care of yourself before you try to take of people, bank on yourself and love yourself.
What song makes you smile?
“Mine” by Bazzi.
What song makes you cry?
“Cry” by K. Michelle. That song used to make me bawl like I was in a relationship and I wasn’t!
What’s next for Stalk Ashley?
I have a single coming soon with a surprise collaboration which I’m very excited about! And after that it’s definitely the album.