An Interview With Singer-Songwriter AND The Longest-Running ABC TV News Anchorman in the SF Area, DAN ASHLEY!
Meet Dan Ashley! On February 3rd, he released his newest single called “Lucky Stars.” When asked about the song, Ashley explains, “This track is about that undeniable feeling of love, connection and gratitude that comes with being with the perfect person for you- someone with whom there is an undeniable and unshakable bond. It also reflects that sense of gratefulness all of us should have for the many blessings in our lives. ‘Lucky Stars’ is what I count every day.”
Here is “Lucky Stars”:
Besides being a singer-songwriter, Dan is the longest-running ABC TV News Anchorman in the San Francisco area. With nearly 25 years under his belt, KGO-TV’s (ABC7) Ashley is in fact the longest-running male anchor in the station’s history. Over that span, he says, he has reported “on every kind of news event you can name and seen things first-hand: good things, bad things, tragic things, wonderful things.”
Check out his older songs-
“My Favorite Time of Year” Lyric Video:
“What Really Matters” Official Video:
Learn more about Dan Ashley in the following All Access interview-
Happy New Year! When it comes to your music, what are you most excited about for 2020?
– Happy New Year to you as well! In this new year, I am most excited about some really powerful, meaningful songs that we are working on for a new album in late spring. I hope that it will resonate with a lot of people.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What do you think motivated you day in and day out?
– As a television journalist, story-telling has always been at the heart of what I do and my passion in life is the pursuit of a good story and the search for the truth. That translates beautifully to music because that is what the artist does—tell stories and find the truth in song. I realized a few years ago that I could combine those two elements to make for powerful story-telling in music. That’s what motivates me—both as a journalist every day and as a singer and songwriter.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
– My hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina has had a profound impact on me in so many ways. First, it’s a progressive southern town with a southern ease of manner and lifestyle. It’s also a major college town and universities are inherently meritocracies, where the strength of your work and your performance is what is valued and rewarded. That taught me a sense of fair-play, hard work, and self-reliance. It’s also James Taylor’s hometown and he’s one of my musical heroes!
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Was your family and friends supportive of this career choice? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
– I have been around music my entire life, music of all kinds. I sang in the junior choir as a kid and have always loved so many different genres of music—rock and roll, of course, but also classical music, country, even opera. My family and friends have always been extremely supportive of everything I do and I am so grateful for it. Professional golfer—all I need to do is learn to putt!
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music a part of your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part about it all? What has it been like balancing it with also being a news anchorman?
The biggest surprise about the world of music is a welcome one—the joy of being part of such a unique and talented community that is often supportive and encouraging. The other welcome challenge is the never-ending pursuit of excellence. It’s hard to do this well and I enjoy trying. My career as a broadcast journalist has been so rewarding and so fulfilling on so many levels and it is what I am most committed to in my life because I believe deeply in the important role the media plays in our great society. It is a demanding job and it should be. But music fits very neatly into the spaces in that world—it is an important value-added for me. I hear from people all the time who stop me on the street or connect via social media that they appreciate my musical side.
Let’s talk about your music. What was the inspiration for your single, “What Really Matters”? How does it prepare listeners for more music from you?
What Really Matters is a song that is a direct reflection of 35-years spent on the front lines of just about every major news story you can name from hurricanes, to the Columbine massacre, to political conventions, to the March of the Living at Auschwitz with Holocaust survivors, and on and on. That song examines what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned from it and it represents the kind of songs I try to write from a place of personal experience and authenticity.
What about your song, “Lucky Stars” set for a February release? How did this song come together?
This song is deeply personally and I am grateful that you asked about it. It was written for my sweetheart at 2:20 in the morning when I woke-up literally counting my “Lucky Stars” for her. I wrote the lyric right then and there—it just came pouring out as an expression of love and gratitude.
Do you have plans to release more new music soon and a full of collection of new songs?
Yes, absolutely. I have a lot of music coming out in the months ahead and I am very excited about this collection of material and I really hope listeners will be a swell.
Do you have any tour dates scheduled for this year yet?
We have a number of shows that are being finalized and we are looking forward to a busy summer of shows.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music? What if anything has stayed the same about your music-making process?
I think I have grown a great deal—I certainly have worked very hard to try to do so. My technique continues to improve, musicians are always working on that after all! Beyond the technical, I have a sense that my approach to both songwriting and performing has expanded as well. It’s an exciting time.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
Social media fascinates me. I focus a lot on it in my working live as a television news anchor and find it a powerful way to connect and to communicate directly with viewers. The same is true with my music—you can have a conversation with fans in a way that really wasn’t possible before social media.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I don’t have a list really—I am just delighted to work with anyone who brings a sense of passion and joy to the craft.
If you could design your dream music video right now, what would it look like?
Pirate ships and huge sword fights! Kidding! I have an idea for a video for a song that will be finished soon that I think might be eye-catching and compelling. I think that as long as the video compliments the message and intent of a song then it is valid and meaningful. Sometimes that can be an elaborate production, but sometimes simple and straightforward is best.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
At the Grammys! Kidding again—wherever people can enjoy it is just fine by me.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
A sense of optimism, a sense of authenticity- that you are hearing meaningful ideas and emotions expressed. If all of that happens and you can’t get the chorus out of your head too—so much the better!!