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{20 Questions} Ashlee Rose

Ashlee Rose is the brightest young star to hit the Texas/Red Dirt music scene in years. A musical prodigy of sorts, she attends a prestigious Performing Arts high school in San Antonio and has opened for several big names in the scene. With the voice of an angel and the soul to back it up, be looking for great things from Miss Ashlee Rose for years to come. Not only does she sing, write and play guitar….she plays fiddle/violin as well. She is an especially refreshing talent in a music scene lacking a great number of women artists. Get to know Ashlee and her female spin on this Texas Music thing in this edition of 20 Questions.

1. What’s new with Ashlee Rose?
Well, first off, my biggest project going on is the 5 song EP I’ll be recording inthe Studio. It will lean more toward pop/rock than country-fried. It should beavailable sometime this summer.

For gigs, my band will be backing me in Gruene at the new New Braunfels Museum onSaturday, March 13th.

March 28th, I’ll do a couple songs in Luling for the “Celebration of Life” Benefitwhich is the Tom Webb IV Memorial Scholarship. Awesome lineup there with CoryMorrow headlining, Randy Rodgers, Bleu Edmondson, Stoney LaRue, FALLON FRANKLIN,…check my website for all the artists. (only $10 !)

This is huge for me. On Sunday, March 14th, I’m attending the 2004 My Texas Music Awards in Houston at Wild West Houston. I have been nominated for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR and for the RISING STAR AWARD. I’ll get to perform at the “After-Party”which will be at the Outback Pub.

April 23rd the band and I will play down in Corpus at Equal Eyez.

June 25th will be my 15th birthday so I’m looking forward to playing somewhere! Somebody hire me!! lol

July 11th, I’ll play at RiverRoad Icehouse in New Braunfels for the 1st Annual Red River Music Awards.

I have a regular slot at The Cove in San Antonio every Friday playing the happy hour from 6:30 – 8:30. You can usually find me there most Fridays but check the schedule first because in San Antonio, its a losing battle for musicians to go up against the Spurs if they’re playing.

2. You’re still in high school. We all know how cliquish that can be. Are the other girls in your school jealous of you and your talent? Are they cool or mean?
Since I go to a magnet arts school, I think the girls are alot like me but theyexcel in their own major. I think they’re all pretty cool and not jealous.

3. Word association. First thing that comes to mind about the following people.
-Cody Canada- The night I met CCR at River Road Icehouse in New Braunfels in July 2001.
-Robert Earl Keen- “Five Pound Bass”
-Susan Gibson- Nerdy glasses in front of great talent. I love her.
-Django Walker- Django Rheinhardt and Django, Michael’s dog
-Al Barlow- “I like butter”
-Miranda Lambert- Texas flag hats
-Jeff Plankenhorn- Mary Magdelyn & leather pants (its a long story)
-Fred Eaglesmith- Train songs and Freiheit Store
-LeeAnn Rimes- Blue oo oooo ooo
-Terri Hendrix- dogs and The County Line
-Cory Morrow- Stuck In The Middle
-Ray Wylie Hubbard My 12th Birthday

4. Your voice and style remind me alot of a young Sheryl Crow. She’s obviously a major influence on you. In fact, on your demo, you cover her “If It Makes You Happy”. Are you “not the kind of girl you take home”?
Oh, I AM the kind of girl you’d take home. First off, I love moms. Second, I love meeting people. Third, I think I’m very nice and considerate. And last, I make straight A’s in all my Honors classes.

5. You’re good friends with the River Train guys, any friendly competition there?
With River Train, I don’t feel any competition. I used to open for them back when they were first starting out two years ago so we’re all really great friends & I think they are the sweetest guys. I think of them more like brothers than any kind of competition.

6. You were named to Seventeen magazines “America’s Top 10 Teen Rock Bands” list. Tell us how that came about and what effect that national exposure has had on your burgeoning career.
Well, the Seventeen Magazine which was sponsored by Redken Hair Products deal was pretty awesome. We had read about the competition last Spring in one of the 17magazines and within 10 days, I had pulled a band together (Will Owen-Gage, TylerPhillips & Niko Laven), re-arranged my song “Drive”, wrote a second song “RockBottom”, did a live recording, did a photo shoot of the band, Fed-Ex’d the entry and barely made the submission deadline. A month later, we got the phone call from New York City that my band had been selected to the TOP TEN TEEN ROCK BANDS in America and we would be in the September 2003 issue. Over 14,500,000 copies of that magazine are distributed worldwide and printed in dozens of languages so we got to be on TV, local newspapers, interviews,…it was wild! My band was the ONLY band from Texas and the only band from the South to make the TOP TEN. I must say that being in the magazine didn’t hurt my career! Besides, we won about $8,000 worth of Redken Hair Products which was distributed at our school so it was a great way for me to start high school coming in with gifts! lol

7. The first song you learned on guitar was Robert Earl Keen’s “Five Pound Bass” at age 10. Can you still remember it if someone was to come to a gig and request it?
I could remember how to play the music but I could never ever remember the words.

8. Stories behind the following songs, 2 you’ve written and one cover you’ve made your own:
-“Rock Bottom” For inspiration, I cut titles of articles in magazines out and put them into a bag and luckily chose “Rock Bottom”. I wrote it in about 20minutes. This song was written to be submitted to Seventeen as they only accepted originals.

-“Drive” My mom and I were driving back home from Corpus and there were actually “blue skies ahead, storms in the rear view mirror”. That line took on double meaning. Its a story about a girl going to Nashville who gets disappointed with her love life and music career & has the guts to leave it all behind & DRIVEAWAY! You might be surprised at how many people tell me that they identify with that story! When we found out that Seventeen would be broadcasting the songs over the internet for download, we contacted Lexus because it is mentioned in the song,just to make sure they were cool with the song. They were. Wish they’d use it!! $$ Anyway, “Drive” was the very first song I ever wrote and I was 12 when I wrote it. Kamel rock Productions did the “Drive” video which you can view from a link on the front page of my website at www.AshleeRose.com.

-“Bright Brown Eyes” – My dear friend and fellow songwriter, Katherine Dawn from Boerne, wrote “Bright Brown Eyes” and has given me permission to record it. Hopefully it will be on the EP. I love singing that song and all my girlfriends like it too. It is so beautifully emotional and alot of fun to play on guitar!

9. Most girls your age were really into boy bands. Did your friends make fun of you for liking Jack Ingram and Pat Green more than Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter? And what was your favorite boy band song?
Well, actually I liked boy bands and went to see N Sync for my 10th birthday and I sang every word! My favorite song N Sync sings is a Christopher Cross song,”Sailing”. Because of my older sister, I soon got into Pat Green’s music and that was the end of the boy bands. I still think Lance Bass is pretty hot, though.

10. Besides being self taught on the guitar, you’ve begun to play the fiddle. How long did it take to become good enough to not sound like nails on a chalk board and more like Brady Black?
I still sound like nails on a chalkboard…just kidding! I started playing violin when I was 11. I was REQUIRED to log my violin practice sessions doing, of course,the classical music pieces I was assigned to. I hated practicing so my mom told meshe would give me credit for practicing as long as I was playing the violin. I would play along with Brendan Anthony on the Pat Green CD’s so I ended up getting better and I somehow managed to make 1st Chair Second Violins in the Honors Orchestra. So give a kid something they want to practice and its not really homework.

11. You play Everly strings on both your acoustic and electric guitars. How did you settle on them? How long did it take you to figure out how to change your own strings?
I had been experimenting with different strings and I liked the sound of a certain real expensive type of strings. However, I would constantly blow out my “G” string so they were too expensive.

Everly Strings heard about me through my favorite music store, Century Music in SanAntonio. I think the manager played my demo while at a NAMM Show (North AmericanMusic Marketers) in Anaheim. One thing led to another and they offered me a sponsorship. I’ve been so pleased with their strings. They last longer than any others I’ve ever used and they sound very similar to the “Brand X” I mentioned above. Besides, Tom Petty is also an endorsee and I think he is really, really cool.

12. Give us a favorite touring memory of the following towns/clubs.
-New Braunfels – May 2002 for the Texas Music & Fiddle Fest. I sat in playing fiddle for the band, “The Barndanglers” and we got to open for Jimmy LaFave & Guy Clark. Plus some really great open mic nights.

-Austin – Playing a song at the Jason Boland Benefit right after his bad accident in the summer of 2001. All I remember was Pat Green was playing on stage and Cody Canada come up to me, took me by the hand, and said “Ashlee, you’re going on in 10minutes!” There were about 700 people there! I sang one song, Susan Gibson’s”Cloud Nine”. I was just 12. Cory Morrow played right after me. Technically, PatGreen opened for me, right? LOL

-Kerrville – I actually got to play the Main Stage at the Kerrville Music Festival(Little Folk) in September 2002 as a guest of the legendary Allen Damron. This was the first and only time so far I have ever gotten nervous. I sang “Downtown Girl”which is a Katherine Dawn song and then I sang Patty Griffin’s “Every Little Bit”(which I learned THAT DAY!) I was told that while I was singing, all the women back stage cleared the bathrooms and ran to the stage because they thought that Patty Griffin was a surprise guest. It was awesome. Later that night, which wasthe closing night of the Festival, I had the honor at the closing ceremony to start out on the singing of the Kerrville Music Festival’s Anthem, “Heal In The Wisdom”. I started out ok but then forgot the words! So Allen Damron bailed me out by picking up where I lost it…then he forgot the words too! Wow! Don’t you love live music?!

-Houston – I played at this place called the Heliotrope which was sort of an “art”club which was a converted two story home in the Montrose District. It was really cool because there were plastered body parts on the walls, even a plastered pregnant belly! I was 13 and I was playing in a cool artsy place.

-Saengerhalle – I was a regular at Jeff Plankenhorn’s Monday night Open Mic and ithappened to be my 12th birthday that same day. For some reason, all these awesome artists showed up and played that night; Susan Gibson, Shelley King, Michael O’Connor, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. When I met Susan, she didn’t realize how young I was so she offered to buy me a “birthday beer”. “Susan, I’m 12 years old”. So I have a “beer credit” when I turn 21. Susan and I have been friends ever since. She’s awesome and so genuine.

-River Road Icehouse – The week after I turned 12, I went to River Road’s Thursday night Open Mic. I was hanging out with my sister & we were in the back on the outdoor stage where I was tuning up and practicing a little when a few guys came back to the stage to listen to me. I didn’t think much about them because I didn’t know them. I sang a Guns n’ Roses song, “Sweet Child of Mine”. They told me that they were going to sign up to play the Open Mic but instead of them playing, they wanted ME to sing in their slots. So I did. I sang almost all night long with those guys all sitting in the front row getting pretty drunk. When I finished,some of the “River Rats” from River Road asked me if I knew who those guys were. It was the Ragweed bunch and we’ve been friends ever since.

-The Cove – I’ve been playing there for about two years now but my favorite memory was August 30, 2003 when The Cove threw a “Seventeen Party” celebrating the September issue. The place was packed, standing room only and it was sooo hot in there. I felt like a sweaty Rock Star that night.

-County Line BBQ in San Antonio – Owner Randy Goss really took a chance on me when I was just 12 years old. I have since opened for Cory Morrow, Pinmoney, Terri Hendrix, The Derailers, & River Train. I was scheduled to open for Reckless but I got rained out. I have played on his stage more than anyother artist.

13. You have been accepted into one of Texas’ most prestigious schools for the arts and are planning to study Musical Theater. Is Broadway a dream of yours? And have you seen the movie “Fame” or was that too far before your time?
I attend NESA (North East School of the Arts) which is San Antonio’s magnet high school for the Arts where I am in Music Theatre. I love going to school because being surrounded by so many artistic characters is totally cool. I will be performing in the school’s production of “Summer of Love” from May 6 – 9. I really love the actress/singer Bernadette Peters. If I could be like her on stage I would stick with Musical Theatre but I love playing guitar and singing. No, I haven’t seen “Fame”. I guess I should watch it on your recommendation.

14. Tell us about your band. What are the members names? What do theyplay? And are they all as young as you?
I love talking about the Band. Will Owen-Gage “Jr. Boxcar”, is 16 and plays awesome lead guitar (usually too loud!). He literally has been playing almost 15years. Also he plays with several big names around Texas like Jay Boy Adams, LeeRoy Parnell, Rob Roy Parnell and others. Niko Laven, “Chop Stix” is the old man at 18and plays drums and brings humor. Niko comes from a very musical family as I think they own about 40+ guitars along with assorted musical instruments. Both Will and Niko are original Ashlee Rose Band members. Max Harrison, 16, plays bass. Max just moved to San Antonio from Spain & has been playing cello for 6+ years so electric bass was a natural for him. Will and Max play in NESA’s orchestra. Just because we are young in age, we certainly aren’t short on stage experience.

15. Top 5 Influences on your music.
This one was hard to put numbers to.

1) Sheryl Crow
2) Led Zepplin
3) Bob Dylan
4) Katherine Dawn
5) A tie between Susan Gibson & Joni Mitchell

16. Dream duet partner.
Bob Dylan, of course….wait…..Robert Plant…..wait……its another tie….wait….CODY CANADA for sure and the other two are closely tied for second place.

17. I’m sure you’ve run into several skeptical club owners and audiences.What’s it like to prove them wrong and win them over by the time you finish your first song?
I usually don’t even get to audition because of my age. Luckily though, musician friends have helped me along by letting me open for them or letting me on stage with them and once the club owner hears my music then everything is real cool after that. I can understand their hesitation.

18. Rapid fire:
-Ben or J-Lo BEN
-Hillary Duff or Lindsey Lohan HILLARY because she’s from Texas
-7UP or Sprite SPRITE
-Skittles or M&M’s M&M’s no peanuts
-Kid Rock or Eminem KID ROCK
-Gruene or Luckenbach hard one LUCKENBACH but they’re really tied
-Avril Lavigne or Liz Phair AVRIL
-Morning or late night LATE NIGHT
-Favorite color ORANGE

19. Favorite George Strait song.
BABY BLUE, my favorite since I was little.

20. Compare/Contrast the music that is being made by Texas/Red Dirtartists and the stuff mainstream record labels are pumping out.
I love Texas/Red Dirt Music because I have actually met alot of these artists. They are approachable and their music is real because they’re real musicians which just makes good sense to me. I love Ragweed’s shirt, which I own, “Smells like country, sounds like rock n’ roll” kinda sums it up.

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