by Adelie Salagnac
You have probably already heard of one of That Music Mag’s favorite up-and-coming R&B/pop artists from Philly, Ashley Leone. Do not be fooled by her young age: at only 19, Leone has been around long enough to make a name for herself and open up for artists such as Blue Sky Riders, Matt McAndrew, and Norah Jones. Currently working on her debut EP, Leone was lovely enough to take some time off working on her songs to speak with us about it.
“It is going well, we have been working on it for a while,” Leone says, just as she came back from a rehearsing session. “Obviously, this is my first EP, but I have recording experience, and I am finally finding my musical direction.”
Leone has tons of cool surprises in store for us with this forthcoming EP. A lot of work has been put into this record, so that it includes the best tracks possible, including one featuring a rapper. “I have taken a pretty collaborative approach with this EP,” she says.
Talking to Leone is a real delight. Cheerful and full of life, her passion is shining through, with every word she says, and we cannot help but wish nothing but the best for her and for her career. After all, our favorite Philly singer-songwriter has come a long way since she first started performing, and I would not be surprised to see her ending up playing Madison Square Garden one day, her ultimate-dream venue to play.
“That is very ultimate, though,” she laughs, “but realistically, my goal would be to go on tour, make a full-length album and play festivals and shows as much as I can.”
Home for Leone is definitely where the stage is. But no matter how many shows she plays, Leone is still the same kind, down-to-earth and loving young woman she has always been. She even confesses to still getting nervous before playing.
“That happens. A lot,” she says. “My nervousness level totally depends on the night. Some days I can be totally into it, and ready to go, and some others, my mind can be not ready to go on stage at all. Even if it is a small, intimate venue.”
Leone remembers how some of the artists she had the pleasure of opening for gave her some killer advice. She truly treasures the memory of talking with Kenny Loggins, from Blue Sky Riders.
“Before I went on to play for Blue Sky Riders, Kenny sat with me and talked to me for a second,” Leone recalls. “He was like ‘Are you nervous?’ and I was, so he said ‘Whatever happens on stage, people love seeing that you are human, so it is perfectly fine if something goes wrong. Whatever happens, you can joke around and keep going.’ That totally eased my mind. He also said ‘You know, sometimes I forget the words, and I would have the people yelling it at me’, but at that time no one knew my songs! That was a good advice that totally settled me and got me ready. Especially since it is coming from someone like him.”
Philly-native Leone is not so Philadelphian anymore. Moving to Nashville, TN, to study and focus on her musical career, Leone has grown into an experienced, accomplished musician. “I have definitely grown a lot since I have been in Nashville, regarding my writing, and even just as an artist,” she admits, “figuring out which direction I would like to go in. Obviously, when you move somewhere the surroundings change, but a lot of friends here are musicians, so I am constantly surrounded by music.”
You can however rest assured. Ashley Leone will be back in Philadelphia soon enough, to grace us with her presence and deliver yet another exceptional performance. In the meanwhile, sit tight and check out her newest single, “Silent”.