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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Ashley Gold
Monday, March 21, 2011

When I first received an email from Ashley Gold about her upcoming EP, Late Bloomer (due out March 22nd), I was interested for three reasons. First, the song that was attached to the email was fantastic, as is, as I would discover, the rest of the EP. Second, she has a connection with Dessa, who is an artist I really respect. Third, she’s from Minnesota, a state that has a music scene I’m honestly jealous of. Gold has a vibe that’s one part soul and one part pop, and this week I caught up with her to find out how she developed that style, her hard fought battle with shyness, and the ups and downs of the many jobs she worked while putting the album together.

Adam Bernard: Why don’t you start me off with a little bit of your history? Where are you from and what has helped shape you into the person, and artist, you are today?
Ashley Gold: Both my parents grew up in New York. My mother grew up in Queens. My father grew up in The Bronx. My parents moved to Minnesota for a job before I was born. I grew up eating matzo balls and meatballs. My father a Russian Jew and my mother a Catholic Italian. It has been an interesting ride growing up the aggressively passive mini-apple with two outspoken opinionated parents from the big one. My parents and my brother are extremely supportive of my musical endeavors. I try and give my familia love shout outs at shows or radio interviews! They mean the world to me.

Adam Bernard: In your bio you state that you didn’t sing publicly until you were 21 years old. How did you conquer your shyness?
Ashley Gold: Wow! Way to do your research AB. I take it you got that from the bio off my website? Thank you for checking it out! To answer your question, yes it's true, I didn't start singing publicly until I was 21. As a kid my friends used to make me sing to them. I was so scared I had to lock myself in the bathroom by myself and sing through the closed door. As I got older, still shaking at the thought of singing in front of people, I would do so under two conditions - first they had to close their eyes. Second they had to turn their head away me as I sang to them. For some reason not having their gaze upon me made me feel safe and comfortable. I was weirdo. Still am. I wouldn't say I've "conquered" my shyness. I'm still a work-in-progress and learning how to work with it. I started attending an open mic in Minneapolis when I was 19 years old. Sat in the back for two years watching and studying the other poets, singers and musicians. Then one day I mustered up the courage to sign up on the long list and get up on the mic. I started with spoken word. Then after a fistful of poetry I started embedding melodies within the poems. From there, songs were born.

Adam Bernard: Some of those songs are featured on your EP, Late Bloomer, which is a mixture of soul and pop. Are these the two styles of music you listened to most predominantly growing up, or is the fact that you developed into having this style totally random?
Ashley Gold: I believe my style happened by accident, or rather by default. When I was 20 years old I was exposed to an artist by the name of India Arie. I was so inspired by her intimate, yet universal, lyrics and absolutely fell in love with her beautiful voice. She is the reason why I started playing guitar. I wanted to be an acoustic guitar playing soulful songstress like her one day, so I purchased a crappy old Washburn guitar from a co-worker of mine for $40 and started to teach myself how to play. From there I started to take hooks or poems I had written and weaved them into the steel string melodies my sore fingers would stumble upon.

Adam Bernard: From what I understand there’s a lot more behind this EP than just the music. You’ve been working three jobs to bring it to life. What are the jobs and would you even recognize your loved ones if they walked by right now?
Ashley Gold: Would I recognize my loved ones!? But of course! It was a dead run for the last year and a half, but I kept my chin up! C'mon AB! I was actually debating whether to put that information about working three jobs on my website and on the inside cover of my CD, but I wanted people to appreciate all the work, time, heartbreak, Jameson, caffeine, and cash money that went into this project. It would have been a dream to have a label, or someone, back me financially, but it wasn't an option, so I had to make this happen myself. Oy vey! The jobs I had! I had two serving jobs. The first job was slinging sushi at a Japanese restaurant for what I would call the "shi shi" downtown crowd. Martinis and black Amex cards. Perks of the job: I got to learn some sweet Japanese slang and got a discount on sushi. The second job was as a cocktail server for the hipsters in Northeast Minneapolis. PBR tallboys and vodka sodas all night. Perks of the job: the owners were rad and I got to see bands for free because it was a bar/music venue. My third job was the worst job I've ever had, and the only job I've ever just up and quit. Yeah I walked out. I was a fucking teller at Wells Fargo. I'm not cut out for corporate anything. I only got that job because I needed to fund a trip down to SXSW with the band. I wrote a couple songs on the back of blank deposit slips when I got bored. Perks of the job: paycheck and healthcare.

Adam Bernard: Wow, it sounds like you’ve been leading quite the interesting life. How much of that interesting life is in your music? What can people learn about Ashley Gold the person by listening to Ashley Gold the artist?
Ashley Gold: Most of the songs off Late Bloomer are written from personal experiences dealing with life, love and having your heart feel like it's been stung by a bumblebee. What someone would learn about me from my listening to my music is that I am a painfully honest, earnest and passionate person. My live shows are a much different vibe from the music off the CD. I love to interact with the crowd cracking jokes and sometimes asking for words or colors and creating a "freestyle" song on the spot.

Adam Bernard: Is there anything that people would never know about you if they only listened to your music... and can you share it here? It’s deep dark secret time!
Ashley Gold: Deep dark secret time? Whoa whoa Adam, we've just met. Let's wait until my next album. Hmm... let’s see.... I love green M&M's, wandering aimlessly through convenient stores on road trips, or on a random day, and my song “Reaching” was inspired from a late night text message from a now ex-lover.

Adam Bernard: I know you have at least a slight affiliation with the Doomtree crew. In fact, I’m guessing you got my email address from Dessa. How did you link up with Doomtree? Are they on every corner in Minnesota now?
Ashley Gold: Yes! Doomtree is doing it big and has been for a while now. It's nice that people are starting to take notice of the crew's feverish work ethic and immense talent. They are on every corner in Minnesota, and soon the rest of the world, so look out! I first linked up with the illustrious Dessa to do some back-up vocals for a couple of shows she had. From there I sang with her at Paper Tiger’s CD release party and Lazerbeak's CD release party. I also had the privilege of being a part of the in-studio performance with them at 89.3FM The Current's The Local Show. Check out the video here.

Adam Bernard: Finally, is Ari Gold doing the Gold name proud on Entourage?
Ashley Gold: Oh Ari Gold. I heart that little fiery ball of ambition. He reminds me a lot of my father. Hard working, passionate and always striving toward the next success in his life. I'm passionate and swear like Sailor Jerry's girlfriend, so yes, in many ways Ari Gold does the Gold name proud fo sho.

Related Links

Website: ashleygoldmusic.com
Twitter: twitter.com/ashleygold
MySpace: myspace.com/ashleygoldmusic


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
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