Juliette's style of music takes me back to a time that in my opinion has been pushed aside for today's more popular sound. The 1990s sound of neo-soul. Although, I do like pop music, my favorite jonrah of music is neo-soul. Much like some of my favorite r&b and soul artists of the 90s, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, Juliette Ashby fits right in with the best of them. Her voice is beautiful, but it is richly unique. She sounds like no one. Her lyrics speak right to the heart of me. She sings about things that I am feeling and things that I am thinking . She sings about the experiences of everyday life that most people can relate to. All of her records that I have heard, I absolutely love. "No Regrets," "Hoping," and "Grow Like A Seed," are just a few of my favorites.
Before her set began, I had the pleasure of sitting down with her to talk about her journey thus far, and her plans for the immediate future. I should add that though she is very pretty in pictures and on video, the camera does not do her justice. With naturally long beautiful brownish blonde hair, a gorgeous smile, big beautiful eyes, and a figure that is sure to stop traffic, Juliette is stunning in person.
Denee Anaya: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Juliette Ashby: I love soul music. In England we have amazing artists,but we don't have a lot of soul music on the radio. It's a very small market. My biggest influences are mainly american artists. I Love Angie Stone.
DA: When did you first know that you wanted to become a performer?
JA: I always performed in school. Any opportunity at school to do performances, I loved performing. However, my music teacher didn't like me very much because I was quite outspoken, and kind of disruptive. They only rewarded the good children with being able to sing. So I always ended up playing the drum, which was quite frustrating for me. But it was fine.
DA: Tell me about the time you first performed on stage.
JA: My first performance in public on stage, I was 16. It was in a club I shouldn't have been in. It was a club called 10 Room, and it was every Monday night. Everyone used to perform there. All the huge R&B artists. Anyone who came over from America would perform there. The band was amazing. I felt so at home.
DA: Who are your favorite musical artists?
JA: My two biggest influences are Bob Marley and Bonnie Raitt. People always say that they are such a contrast. But for me country music is really similar to reggae music. I find that they are all storytellers. Bony Raitt is a storyteller. Bob Marley is a storyteller. Bonnie Raitt, for me was the first album I got, when I was 7. I learned her album "Nick Of Time" back to back. Every lyric, every song, I studied her. I was infatuated with her voice, how she played guitar and how she looked.
I don't know what my connection is to Bob Marley. But I always feel at home when I hear him. He makes me feel normal. If I am traveling and I feel homesick, I listen to Bob Marley. He's amazing.
DA: How do you categorize your music?
JA: I always say that my music is R&B with Reggae influences. I don't write songs about love. I write songs about struggle, about being empowered and working hard. A lot of things that have happened in my life. A lot of things that have affected me. When I'm happy, I don't have a lot to write about.
DA: Do you have a favorite song that you have recorded?
JA: For me "Over and Over" is my favorite. That is the music that I love to sing to. I love performing it. I love singing it. The producer, Mike Kalombo from "So So Def, is from Atlanta. He is amazing. He's like my brother now. We're working on the album together.
DA: When are you going to release your album?
JA: We were going to release the album in August. But I've pushed it back. I don't want to rush it. I want to make sure it's exactly what I want. I want to be completely happy with it. Every single song, every interlude, it's my baby. It's hard because I've got albums of work and material. Separating what I want to go on this first album is hard, because I've got songs that I recorded a couple of years ago. I also have new material that I love.
DA: You were best friends with Amy Winehouse. Tell me about the group the two of you had together.
JA: We were eight years old when we went into the studio, and we would rap. We would sing a little bit, but we would mostly rap. We were like the British child version of "Salt n Peppa." We were having fun. That was our first time recording music that we wrote.
DA: What was it like growing up with your dad "Jonathan Ashby" co-founder of World Entertainment News Network (WENN) ?
JA: My dad is the most amazing man. He is the reason I am who I am. And how far I am in my career. My parents always taught me to go after what I wanted. WENN started in our house when I was a kid. It was a 24 hour business, and it was set up in the back of our house. I would always hear music and interviews. My dad is an amazing writer. That's where I get my writing skills. My mum is the same, they are both very talented people.
DA: You started "JJ's Soulshack Live" with you sister Jessica Ashby. Tell me about it.
JA: After Ten Rooms shut down. We felt that there needed to be another club that showcased live music. I'm always surrounded by so many talented artists. So I wanted to have a place where they could perform. I also wanted a home base where I could perform. That's our hub. That's our baby.
DA: What's next for you?
JA: I'm going to Atlanta to finish up my album. There are some great producers there that I would love to work with.
DA: Last but not least, are you seeing someone special?
JA: Yes I have a special someone in my life. "Over and Over" is about that person. We had been dating 9 years when I recorded the song. It's of course been longer than that now. I'm very lucky. I'm very happy.