Playtime with Juliette Ashby

Juliette Ashby & her BandLast weekend Musicvein headed on down to the swanky Apartment 58 – New Oxford Street London – for their annual Playtime Festival. Attracting people from the length and breadth of the UK over 5 consecutive days, I just had to see what all the fuss was about – and boy was I glad I didn’t miss out! Acts on the Saturday night’s I Luv Live bill included the Voice finalist Vince Kidd, Izzy Bizu, J Appiah, Tanika and a rare appearance by ‘The Man’ Trevor Nelson – who had everyone shacking out on the floor to some of the rarest old skool grooves.

The act that Musicvein really wanted to see though was the fabulous Juliette Ashby. Just before her set we caught a few minutes to chat about her upcoming performance that night and new EP ‘Take It Over’.

MV: What made you get involved in this year’s Playtime Festival with I Luv Live? 

JA: “I just love live performances. I’m a big supporter of I Luv Live and what they are doing in terms of supporting artists – it’s fantastic! There’s so much talent in the UK and they’re bringing them to the forefront, so when I was contacted to perform – I just couldn’t pass up that chance, plus I get to do what I love doing and that’s performing to an audience – who at the end of the day are there supporting you and hopefully buying your music. It’s great performing here at Apartment 58 because it’s such a small and intimate setting.” SAM_1044

MV: Tell me more about your EP and what you’ll be performing later?

JA: “Tonight me and the band (Mike, Milo and Marius) will be performing five tracks, three of which are on the ‘Take It Over’ EP. The other two ‘Grow Like A Seed‘ and ‘Not Tryin‘ aren’t featured on the EP but I’ll be treating the crowd to those. The songs I selected for ‘Take It Over‘ are songs which I feel represent me, they mean so much to me even though some were written and recorded over three years ago with producer Jazzwad. Jazz and I met around five years ago through mutual friends and we just hit it off creatively! He’d been looking for an artist like myself and likewise I’d been looking for a producer like him who was going to give me the reggae music that I wanted to write to – music that isn’t too commercial but at the same time not too deep – our collaboration was a perfect combination. I remember how we were locked down in the studio for months! Though I’ve only included two tracks of ours on this EP, ‘Drop A Baby‘ and ‘No Regrets‘, there is a whole heap more to come – Trust Me! But yeah, this EP I feel represents every shade of me. ‘Take It Over‘, the song, I wrote just over a year ago during a transitional period in my life. I hadn’t had management before (Juliette is now signed with BMI) I was doing a lot of stuff on my own and I had just gotten back from New York – as I touched down in Britain, with all the stuff that was happening around me I just felt empowered and that’s how that song came about. ‘No Regrets‘ well everyone has them in life but I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t have regrets, you make your decisions and you move on, learn from them and grow. ‘What We Hope For’ is a really important song for me just like ‘Take It Over‘. There’s so many horrible things that we go through in life, whether it be people we encounter or situations we hear of but there’s also a lot of beauty too and so I believe that this life is a learning curve and the song is all about what we hope for in another life. I know this is going to sound cliche but I only write about my own life experiences – I can only write what I know of – It’s also a form of therapy for me. If people buy my music because it touches their lives too and they get me, then that’s a huge bonus.”

Juliette Ashby at the Playtime Festival London

MV: So you’ve worked with Jazzwad on this EP, is there anyone else you’d like to work with in the future?

JA: “I worked with Alan Glass on the EP as well who is a legend in his own right. He’s worked with everyone and developed me from a very young age. In terms of who else I’d like to work with Oh My God! Bonnie Raitt! (she lets out a girly fan scream) She is my idol! Bonnie is the first artist that I ever listened to and said WOW, I was completely and utterly mesmerized by her. I don’t even know if I could sing with her to be honest, I’d be again too mesmerized – I just think she is an absolute legend – so yeah I would love to work and write with her. Steven Marley is another artist I admire, there’s something about his vocals that’s just so beautiful to me. Then there’s Erykah Badu, Lil Mo, even Conner Reeves – he is another big influence of mine. There’s loads of artists who I’d sing with, work with, write with, do you have all night?”

MV: Erm No and you’re on stage soon, so quickly what can fans expect from your next album?

JA: “Well it’s nowhere near finished but what I can tell you is that it isn’t going to be a pop album – sorry! I’m a big lover of 90’s RnB so that’s all I’m saying.”

MV: Ok ok, so where else can fans catch you performing live? SAM_1051

JA: “Next performances for me will be in the USA. I’ll be in Atlanta doing a performance for BMI, then onto Nashville, New York and home for Christmas. I’m dying to get back over to the USA. I’m very grateful for the fan base over there thanks to VH1 and people who have supported my music, so I’m excited to be there and perform to everyone who’s been behind my career so far. My UK fans won’t be left out though as I’ll be returning to the Jazz Cafe, London, when I get back.”

And with that Juliette was off up onto the stage and rocking the crowd with her reggae and soul, short but oh so very sweet set.

The EP ‘Take It Over‘ will be released on Oct 6th for more information visit www.julietteashby.com

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