Posted On 19 Mar 2018
Meet the nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter, Ashley Delima. Ashley has a compelling story as she is American born and was raised in Brazil and now a resident of New Jersey. Ashley penned a song, recently released on January 26th titled “Stay In America.” The track is a shout-out of support from the daughter of Brazilian immigrants to those struggling to stay in the U.S. at a time when DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival immigration policy that allows some individuals who came here as minors to receive deferments and work permits – is being threatened.
We have no teen in the media that is standing out and being a face for DACA and Ashley’s song and platform is perfect for helping get the word out about this serious issue. Ashley is the only person in her family that will be able to stay in our country. Marc Swersky (Two time Grammy Award Winning Producer for Joe Cocker & Hillary Duff is the producer and Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac, Imagine Dragons) did the mixing.
Learn more about Ashley Delima in the following All Access interview:
Thanks so much for your time! We know musicians are busy people so we appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself! So where does this interview find you today?
Actually, at the moment I’m with my production team rehearsing songs for my debut NYC show at Rockwood Music Hall! Their twin toddlers are running around as we’re rehearsing. It’s actually really cute! We’re like a big family.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was the year that started it all. It was the kick-start to the rest of my career and it was a huge learning experience. I grew so much not only as an artist, but a human being and I’m proud of my growth. I’m so excited to finish recording my debut EP. I’m just trying to feed my future slowly and I love seeing the progress. I don’t even know if I have a huge goal – it’s more like I want to keep pushing, keep getting better, and keep enjoying the process. Whatever comes from that is the
world just giving back in return.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I always knew that music was going to be a huge part of my life. Actually I feel like I took too long to start. It took me a while to realize that dreaming is just the first step. You actually have to put your dreams into action for them to come true. I’m now actively pursuing my dreams. Music has been a part of my life since I was 2. I remember watching Shakira and thinking I wanted to be just like her. When I was 3 years old, my mom bought a karaoke machine and would throw parties and all the adults would sing. One day, I tried it myself and I think I fell in love with the attention because I never stopped singing after that.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city has influenced them as an artist. How do you think your home has affected you and your music? What was it like being raised in Brazil and then moving to New Jersey?
My life experiences have all lead me to this point and the songs I’ve been writing are a direct reflection of my culture and my upbringing. Moving from Brazil to New Jersey was the best thing that ever happened to me. Life in Brazil was drastically different. I had a great childhood in Brazil but my teenage years were difficult at times. I battled depression, was bullied, and I felt like if I stayed I wouldn’t be able to pursue a better life. I feel like I was forced to mature very quickly because I moved here all by myself since my parents are not citizens. Since I have dual citizenship, I was able to come.
What was it like writing your powerful recent single “Stay In America”? How creatively involved were you with the making of the music video for it? What was it like working with Marc Swersky and Mark Needham on the song?
“Stay In America” was actually the first song I wrote for this project. I wanted to write a song that represented my feelings about the current political situation. I had to reign in my emotions on it because I had so much anger when I sat down to write it but I knew that anger and hatred gets us nowhere and I wanted to spread a hopeful, powerful message. I love the finished product. The music video was an amazing experience. The people that you see if the video are all from my
community in Long Branch, NJ. It was amazing working with my director, Kristian Kruz and his creative team. He’s so talented and a really amazing human. He totally understood the vision and supported me in a way I’ll never forget. He and my creative director, Brielle Brown had some incredible ideas and we all collaborated to make it work. Even my mom helped me make the flag at the end of the video. She was a trooper! It was a great day – I took everyone to a local Brazilian restaurant for lunch because everything’s better with Brazilian food! Working with Marc Swersky has been a very maturing experience. He’s taught me that I don’t have to pretend to be anybody but myself as an artist. He always strives for greatness in whatever we work on together and opens my
mind to new ideas and new musical genres. I’m so honored that Mark Needham worked on my song. I’ve listened to many of the records he’s mixed and produced and I admire his work greatly. I’m so excited to have him on my team!
I understand that you are the only person in your family that can stay in America now. What has that been like for you? How has it affected the kind of songs that you are continuing to write?
It’s been hard. My mom is here now but there’s no certainly that she won’t get deported. Right now she’s allowed to stay because I’m a college student but after that I guess I have to leave it up to fate. I’m going to continue to write songs that mean something. I do write songs about love and relationships but I think there’s so much much more to talk about now. I’m not afraid to sing about the seriousness of what’s happening in this country and the world. I believe music is taking a turn
and going back to a time when it had the potential to change hearts and minds.
As a newcomer in the music business, I am curious to know what you think of it all? What has been the most and the most challenging part about it all?
It’s really hard work. There’s no way you will be able to last in this business if you’re in it for the wrong reasons. You really have to be driven and in love with it. It’s not all glitz and glam.
Are you currently working on new music? When can we expect new music from you?
Yes! I expect to release my debut EP in the late spring of 2018!
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
Music gives me so much purpose in life. I feel like so much of life right now is about instant gratification and doing things really fast. When you sit down to write music, you have to give it the time and respect it deserves. You have to slow down! I think music actually should reflect the times. I hope that more artists start to write about what’s going on socially and politically. I think it’s going to happen.
You have collaborated with so many incredible artists so I am curious to know which one stands out the most to you so far?
I’ve had the great privilege of working with some amazing musicians including Daniel Sadownick (Maxwell, Taylor Swift, Kesha), Adam Jackson (Bilal), Vin Landolfi (Demi Lovato) and Alan Markley (Maggie Rogers).
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Bob Marley, Lorde, Russ, The Neighbourhood to name a few. I’m most inspired by Bob Marley because he lead with love and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind through music.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music?
Love, Hope, Empowerment, Freedom and Awareness.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your music?
I’m already so humbled and excited by the reaction I’ve been getting from “Stay in America.” I don’t know how to let everything sink in. Maybe it’s best I don’t. I just want to keep putting my music out there and I hope everyone will still continue to listen.