If you've ever had the pleasure of seeing Kassi Ashton live I'm sure you fell in love with her quirky personality before you even heard that powerful voice. She's bubbly and always excited to be on stage, her songs have attitude and emotion, an incredible writer who works with other incredible writers, Kassi Ashton is the real deal! I was gutted not to see her this year as C2C was called off last minute but it was great that although we are in lockdown here in the UK and Kassi was in self isolation after returning from Europe, we could keep the conversation going, keep the music going!
Have you been working with any new writers since we last spoke and who are your favourite people to collaborate with?
Ooh my favourite people are the same haha, Luke Laird, my producer who wrote California Missouri with me and Field Party he’s still my favourite person because our tastes are identical and we work so well together. Another favourite is Natalie Hemby of course, Hillary Lindsey, they’re so amazing and they’re the best for a reason so I’m just lucky that they still want to write with me.
You’ve released a few new singles since we last spoke, your latest one being Hopeless, can you tell me about the story and writing process behind that song?
Yeah totally, I wrote that with two of my good friends, Jason Saenz and Josh Kerr, we love collaborating. We were all in the room and we were kind of talking about those relationships you have when you’re younger, when you know nothing about relationships yet, how naive you can be when you’re blinded by what you think is love and how if that situation happened now we’d act this way because we’ve grown. And Jason had this title Hopeless which I thought was a beautiful idea because it’s simple and to the point. Josh started playing the guitar lick you can hear which I am a sucker for that sort of rhythmic, beautiful riffy thing and I just straight up sang “Maybe I should hope less” and just because of the rhythm is why I separated the two words which took on a whole new meaning to the song. Then Josh sang “maybe I should care less” and so Josh and I just back and forth in five minutes finished the chorus. Once you realise you’re splitting these words in half it’s easy to go down the line with that especially since we’d talked about it for 45 minutes, it just flowed and the song was done in two hours. Then Josh said “ I wish I was hearing you, really just belt the chorus out” and I was like “yeah but I like the melody and rhythm I don’t need to do that.” So they suggested singing the chorus up an octave at the end, but I was sick that day so I said no you’re crazy it’s too high, they said just try and I said no I’m sick, I can’t and they said Kassi just go in the vocal booth and try so I did and they recorded it on their phones too so they have a video of me screaming the last chorus! We left that day feeling like we did our work today, this is a good song and then I played it at a Writers round a few days after I wrote it and some fans filmed it and the videos got around so people started messaging me, where’s the song so I decided to play it on the Maren Morris tour last fall and after every show my direct messages were full of “where’s Hopeless?” So I had to put it out. Then the last couple of days on the Jordan Davis tour it was out and people were singing every word! That’s impressive, there’s a lot of lyrics.
You’ve toured quite a bit as you mentioned just then, what has been your favourite place you’ve been to on tour?
I would have to say when I played The Greek in LA with Maren, I had just watched Get Him To The Greek which is a movie about getting Russell Brand, is that his name, to the Greek. So that was just amazing, that venue is incredible, it’s this big outdoor stage and the seats go almost straight up so you can see almost everyone from the stage and the facilities and catering were amazing, the whole show was amazing. I was wearing red latex so that was fun too and I just thought this is what I have dreamt of my entire life.
I saw you play a number of times at CMA Fest last June, what was it like playing on that stage, at such a big, international event?
It was amazing, this past year as part of the CMA scholarship that I was a part of I got to play the stadium on the Saturday night! I was back stage and I got to meet Tim McGraw and hug him and see Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert’s dressing room was right beside mine! I was trying not to think about the fact that I was about to play the same stadium as they were so I didn’t hyperventilate and freak out but when I go on stage there aren’t any nerves once I’m up there it’s just plain excitement, this is what I love to do, this is where I want to be let’s show em why I should be up here! It was a top five highlight for sure.
I really enjoyed your live stream the other day, I really liked your cover of to make you feel my love, you spoke about what that song means to you but what is the one song you wish you had written and what is your favourite song of yours to play live?
Ooh the one song I wish I’d written, honestly this is kinda a smart arse answer but it’s true because there’s so many actually good songs but I wish I’d written Happy Birthday, because whoever wrote Happy Birthday is still getting paid! So that’s the one song I wish I’d written and then my song that’s my favourite that I’ve written is called The Straw and it is not out yet, it’s a ballad about a relationship where you break up and someone says “you looked so great together, why did you break up?” And it’s not really one thing it’s a bunch of little things so it’s like the straw that broke my back was... and I wrote it with Luke Laird and Lori McKenna right after the break up, fresh, cried whilst writing it and every time I hear it, it kills me.
Do you have plans to release that song?
Yeah I think that’s more around album time because it’s so special to me I want it to be a part of a bigger project so it can get the exposure it deserves.
Besides your live stream and funny tweets, how have you been occupying yourself during this self isolation period?
I have been making a lot of clothes, I actually had to slow down because one I’m going to be out of fabric and two I don’t want to make something just to make it, I want there to be a point, we don’t want to waste material because we don’t know how long we’ll be here. I’ve been eating an atrocious amount, it’s always here and I’m always here so why not! I’ve been reading, yesterday I built a folding table for a boat. Just trying to create and stay sane and get a work out in every day so that I can keep myself healthy and keep my fans as positive as possible!
It’s hard to plan for the future right now but what’s next for you and do you plan to come back to the U.K. soon?
I hope to tour the U.K. as soon as they’ll let me, I’m so bummed I had to leave, I loved it when I was there for CMA Songwriters Series, I loved every person in all the audiences, you guys are so warm. Your perception of Country music is so lovely and open and there’s not really tight boundaries on what you consider Country and what you don’t which is great for me. As far as the future goes, we’re trying to figure everything out with this Quarantine, everything outside of my house got put on pause but we’re learning and adapting and figuring out what we can do until this is over. Right before this happened we were in the midst of picking my first radio single so I think we’re still doing that even though nobodies actually at the office, picking it from the comfort of our own home and we’ll proceed with that when this is over so wish me luck haha.
Brilliant well Good luck and we look forward to hearing what you’ve chosen!