“I Know I Have Something Special” Ash Shares Her Journey From Engineering And Janelle Monae, To “Chasing Destiny”
With shows like “American Idol” ending and others like it falling by the wayside, does Tv land really need another singing competition show? Well, yes. If that competition show is about forming the next girl group. And if that show was conceptualized and produced by Kelly Rowland. And if the legendary Frank Gatson is working with Kelly to select the young women. Thankfully, all of those stars aligned to create “Chasing Destiny” on BET.
Not only are the girls competing to be in a group, they’ll also receive a deal from Epic Records. The third episode of the series will air tonight.
And in preparation for tonight’s show we spoke to one of the young women vying for a spot in the final selection, Ash. The 29-year-old caught the judge’s eye with her unique look and then captivated their attention with her incredible sound.
Get into her story.
When did you decide to start pursuing music professionally?
I knew when I got to college that I wanted to pursue music. I was a dual engineering major when I got to Spelman but it wasn’t what I was passionate about. And so, I decided to change my major to theater to really focus on the performing arts. And when I graduated, I was going to work for the federal government in Washington, D.C. And said ok, I got the chops I just have to commit to it. So when I moved back to Atlanta I was hired by Janelle Monae and I’ve been traveling the world with her for over 5 years as her background vocalist and dancer. And that’s my story. So, I knew and put one foot in front of the other and worked hard.
How did you hear about “Chasing Destiny”?
I heard about it from a friend of mine, here in Atlanta. She was like, ‘Giiiirl, Kelly Rowland is apparently trying to put a group together. I think you should just audition.” I’m like ok, let me think about this. And I made a decision to just give it a try, like why not. It was a process with the casting agency, all of that before even meeting her in person. They were going through a huge process.
So I prepared and rehearsed for a couple of weeks and went there and auditioned.
You have a really unique look and sound and the judges had a lot of discussion about you. What is like watching that back now, hearing what they had to say?
It’s crazy you know seeing yourself on tv. Of course, I did more than one song. Why did they show the mess up? [Ash faltered at one point bit during her audition.] It was cool that they gave me the opportunity, at the end of the day, I’m grateful. I’m sure other girls came in there and nailed it right away and didn’t get called back. So, I’m very humbled that they saw what they did see, even though I had a mess up, and gave me this opportunity. I think the good, good, huge blessing out of all of that was being called back.
They made a big deal about you removing your glasses that was what stuck out to me.
I thought that was cool. I, of course, am not thinking of it that way. You know sometimes glasses or hair can be a form of protection. When I take them off, I have to be vulnerable. I have to take these off and dig in. You don’t think that people in that high of a position would even notice that. They’re good at keeping a straight face. So you never know what they do see. So it’s really cool to tune in with everybody else and hear the comments they made. We’re just rehearsing, we’re in there working and grinding for hours. So it’s really cool to see the positive feedback.
What was it like meeting Kelly Rowland, what was your first impression of her?
She’s absolutely gorgeous! That was the first thing. She has an aura, a really, really genuine aura that you don’t know that you’ll see on celebrities. But it was very passionate and open and giving. She’s an icon. You’re talking about someone that we’ve all watched grow up and be a part of one of the biggest groups of our time and probably all time. Their records are huge. You know you’re nervous, she’s a superstar. But I was really kind of shocked at that aura that she has and I saw that right away.
What did you think of Frank Gatson because he’s kind of like the comedy on the show?
Just a straight shooter. Like I said, you never know if they’ll see through certain things. But he will see it and tell it like it is. And you can never be mad at that. That’s what we’re here for. They’ve got to get us together. These are people who know what they’re doing. They’re there to be honest. I, and I’m sure the others, are appreciative of that. And definitely in our audition, you shut up and hear what they have to say.
What I notice about the show is that there’s a spirit of sisterhood and collaboration more than competition. Did you get that impression when you were there?
Yeah. It is a competition but it’s definitely based around love and support. I can just speak for myself. I was there to learn and all of us are growing and trying to listen to what Kelly and Frank have to share with us and trying to be out best self. And that’s what you’ll see on the show. So I was there with tunnel vision and with an open heart. I went to Spelman College so I’ve been around women and it was all about teamwork.
What was one of your most memorable moments from the show so far?
Well, you have to see how that unfolds. But I will say so far, getting the call back, getting to be a part of the top 15. That’s the most memorable moment for me. I was really, really grateful and kind of shocked. I know I have something special. Every human should know that they have something special but you hope it shines.
Are there any girls you’re still keeping in touch with now that the competition portion is over?
We all do. Yeah, it’s a sisterhood. We all are, every week cheering each other on, texting and supporting each other, absolutely.
What are your plans now that the show is over, as much as you can say?
I can’t! You just have to watch and see and that will unfold when the time comes.
You can take a listen to Ash’s music on the next page.
“Chasing Destiny” airs tonight on BET at 10 pm/9c.