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5 Minutes with Ashlinn Gray

Text: Meg van Eck; Photography: Natalie Field

There’s a new sound in town, and it’s Ashlinn Gray – a budding singer, songwriter and musician from Joburg. Find out everything you need to know about this exciting up-and-coming muso here!

Who is Ashlinn Gray?

Someone who is still growing up, but enjoying life as it comes. Someone who finds inspiration in music.

How did you first become involved with music?

Surprisingly my little sister was the singer and I was the actress. One day I went with her to a singing lesson and I was absolutely terrible! I’ve always been very competitive however, so I saw it as a challenge and practised everyday until I became better. Then five years later I discovered that it was something I wanted to make a career out of.

Who or what do you draw inspiration from?

Life in general. If something annoys me I’ll write a song about it, if something brings me joy I’ll write a song about it. But one of the main places I draw inspiration from is social media. If I’m scrolling through Instagram or Tumblr and I come across a quote I like, I usually write a song about it.

Do you find it hard writing your own lyrics

I’ve learned that you should never get too hung up on certain lyrics – if you’re not feeling a certain line then move onto the next one, otherwise it becomes forced and will show in the song. I also love writing songs with other writers. We bounce ideas off one another and it sometimes helps to see things from a different perspective, which can give a song an even more interesting story.

Is there someone you look to for help?

Other than my co-writers, I love asking my boyfriend for his opinion. I trust him and his judgment a lot. It’s always the most honest people in your life who give you the best feedback.

What was it like recording your first single, ‘Battleships’?

Terrifying! The scary part is that you’re singing into a piece of metal that’s supposedly going to absorb all the emotion and feeling you’ve put into the song that you’ve been working on for so long. It’s also the first song that people are going to hear from you, and use to decide whether they’ll continue supporting you as an artist. It’s definitely a nerve-wracking experience!

What is your latest single ‘Finding home’ about, and how is it different to your first single?

‘Finding home’ is about being in a place where there are multiple things holding you back, like insecurities and uncertainty, and in order to move forward you need to learn how to let go of them. However there’s comfort even in the discomfort of insecurities. So it’s about finding the right people in your life to build you up, and learning to let go. The difference between the two is that ‘Battleships’ is more of a fun pop track, whereas ‘Finding home’ is more personal, and is about real things going on in the world.

Ashlinn Gray

Who is your musical inspiration?

My top three have to be Julia Michaels, 21 Pilots and Sia.

What’s the next step for Ashlinn Gray?

Definitely releasing new music and building my brand.

Who is your dream collaboration?

21 Pilots is definitely at the top of my list!

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