Posted On 16 Aug 2017
The breakout artist, Ashworth recently released his latest single “Nobody In The World,” an undeniable summer song that showcases the breakout artist, producer and DJ’s pop talents. PRESS HERE to listen via Baeble, and explore on Instagram in partnership with Beautiful Destinations! A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Ashworth wrote, produced and contributed vocals to the catchy travel-inspired track, bringing together vivacious dance-pop melodies with a tropical funk breakdown.
Ashworth’s polished production initially caught the eye of pop producer Benny Blanco (Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Rihanna) when he was still a student attending New York University’s prestigious Clive Davis Music program, prompting the hit-maker to take Ashworth under his wing as a creative mentor. Since then, Ashworth has topped the Hype Machine charts multiple times, amassed 4+ million Spotify streams and launched his artist career with the release of music on Ultra Records. His reputation for creative remixes, imaginative originals, and inventive vocal arrangements have led him to many high profile projects and collaborations, including remixes of Maroon 5, Childish Gambino, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes and more.
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Learn more about Ashworth in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
First off, thanks for having me. All Access has been my “bible” of this industry for years–it’s amazing to be doing this interview today.
2017 has been a helluva year. Not only did I transition from a full-time job producing music for TV and film to a recording artist/producer, I also moved 3,000 miles across the USA. New York City had been my home for 7 years until a few months ago when I hightailed it to Los Angeles. It’s been an incredible experience on all fronts: my artist career has been starting to pop off and my whole life has really changed for the better.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Right now I’m in complete silence, something that I don’t get enough of these days. I usually spend 10-14 hours a day producing/writing/mixing music so when I get a chance to rest my ears I snatch it. In regards to snapping me out of a bad mood, almost any music will do the trick. My mind works super analytically when I listen to music so even if it’s something I don’t normally enjoy, it’s a very enticing experience which usually helps me push everyday stresses aside.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I grew up around music, however, I never planned to make it my career. My father is a brilliant jazz guitarist and his full-time job used to be playing in the pit-orchestras of Broadway shows. He always encouraged me to play music, but constantly stressed how it’s not a viable way to make a living. He saw the changing times of being a session player and how “canned” (computer) music was taking over certain human musician jobs. He was totally correct–becoming a player in this day and age is extremely hard, but we both never thought about the advent of computer music and how it would change the landscape of composition, production, and almost every other aspect of music. I planned on studying electrical engineering and keeping music as a hobby, but somehow music wiggled its way into my main career path.
Regarding my earliest musical memory: I remember my father playing guitar to my mother’s womb when she was pregnant with my sister. It was always (and still is) an enchanting experience when he picks up a six-string.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I’d either be an electrical engineer or a pilot. I still plan to make both of those happen one day. I’ve always been intrigued by knobs, dials, and physics all around which definitely has played a role in my love for audio engineering and production.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
I think growing up in New York affected me and my music in two strong ways. First, the depth and breadth of cultures gave me an appreciation for all genres of music. I would go see sitar shows, Brazilian jazz quartets, the New York Philharmonic, and (later on) warehouse raves. I could pick and choose what I loved about each style. The second aspect of New York was the seasons. I would think, eat, write, and produce differently in the winter and the summer. It’s something I miss now living out west.
Let’s talk about your recently released single called “Nobody In The World.” What was the inspiration for this song? Why do you think Ultra Records is the right place for you and your music today?
The song actually come about during a writing session down in Nashville with these two fantastic writers and friends, Sam Ellis and Jason Saenz. Nashville is one of my favorite places to write because the writers down there just want a great song: not a dope track, not a crazy feature; just a great song: lyrics and melody. I really agree with this school of thought when it comes to music as a great song will excel no matter what the production sounds like. We wanted to basically take a moment in time of the craziness of New York City life, so we wrote a “historical fiction” of a conglomeration of nights that I’d had while living there.
How do you think your time at New York University in the Clive Davis Music program helped shape the kind of artist that you are today?
Had I not gone to NYU, I’m fairly certain I’d be sitting at a desk somewhere doing engineering work. The thought of that is horrifying to me, not because I think it would be a terrible life (I don’t at all), but just because this musical journey I’ve been on is so incredible and unique. I truly owe my freshman year roommate (and one of my current managers), Saagar Mehta, a lot, because he single-handedly convinced me to turn my classically trained music skills into pop production chops.
I actually began NYU on a scholarship for classical bassoon. It was a TERRIBLE decision. I recall the students in the program bragging about how much they loved to practice the same concerto for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. More power to them–but I was losing my mind. I ended up applying for a transfer into the Clive Davis school and losing my scholarship when I was accepted.
Once I was in Clive, everything was different. Everyone was like me: they loved to produce sunrise to sunset and wouldn’t even notice if a full day had gone by. I learned from some of the most incredible people and really soaked up the fundamentals of what I still utilize today.
What was it like having pop producer Benny Blanco for a creative mentor?
It was amazing meeting Benny back in college when I started releasing bootleg remixes because it gave me a real taste of the “true” music industry (not just the academic side). He’s also just one of the music genuinely humble and kind people on earth. I would send him remixes I was stuck on and he would just know exactly what they needed. Usually, it was a super subtle and easy fix, unlike what I always expected. The simplicity that he taught me to have while producing songs is something I know is 100% invaluable and rare.
You have made many incredible remixes to today’s pop hits so I’m curious to know how you go about selecting the song to remix and what that process is like?
I love to remix just about everything. I love a challenge and I love to breathe new life into a song. It’s amazing how many dimensions one song can have. Like I said before; if a song is good, melodically and lyrically; it will always be good, regardless of the production (as long as the production is not absolute nonsense, haha). So taking great songs and producing them differently is an incredible and fulfilling way to consistently express myself.
How do you think that being a musician has helped you live your best life? Can you talk about the joy that it brings you today?
The places music has taken me is just astounding. If you told me back in college that people would be flying me across the country to play one hour of music and have the time of my life, and then pay handsomely for it I’d literally laugh. Besides that, it just feels right in every way. I love being alone in the studio with meters lighting up and knobs and dials and I love going to festivals where the subs can blow your shirt clean off. I love every single aspect of the job I have. I can’t even say it’s a job with a straight face.
What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Do you have any plans to tour live?
I have so much new music lined up for August. Even more for September. It’s insane how much is sizzling on my hardrives right now. It’s very hard to keep it to myself. I plan to play a lot more shows out west as fall approaches. Stay tuned.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Zedd probably was the biggest inspiration in getting me to start producing electronic music. I think possibly 1% of his fans know about this, but his remix of this forgotten song “Facebook Love” is the spark for me. It’s one of the first things he put out and it’s so incredible, even today. I went to go see him by myself (because no one else cared) at his first show in America, years ago. I remember he said maybe one thing on the microphone in very broken english and I vividly remember leaving that show and tweeting something along the lines of “Zedd is going to be bigger than Deadmau5 one day, I guarantee it” (Deadmau5 was probably the biggest EDM artist at the time). Low and behold Zedd continued on and broke EDM radio records and won Grammys, etc. I’m sure I’m certain I’ll meet him sometimes soon (we’re totally neighbors in the Hollywood Hills!).
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I really want my music to take people away from the madness of everyday life. I’ve always found music to be such an escape because you can close your eyes and let your ears and brain to the rest. I can’t think of many things that just happen invisibly around you and somehow affect your emotions and thought patterns. I want people to listen to my music and take away what they need to take away from it, which is why I try to shy away from explaining exactly what I mean in lyrics.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Do it. And keep doing it. But don’t ever make it the only thing you do. The greatest songwriters and producers all find inspiration in hikes, books, travel, and other things not remotely related to music. When a spark ignites the musical flame, don’t stifle it by latching on fully. After all, a flame needs space/ oxygen to exist, so understand that while you push for your best.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’d just like to thank everyone that’s supported me. It’s pretty crazy that even one person on the other side of the earth would enjoy the music I plunk out in my studio, let alone thousands. Honestly, if I think about it too long I start getting pretty damn emotional, but I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.