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How did you come by your stage name?
My stage name is my birth name. My full name is Ashley Keith Davis, but I use my middle initial only to distinguish me from the others out there. I googled a while ago and discovered 68 people named Ashley Davis, but there’s only 1 Ashley Keith Davis.
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
I started playing piano at age 5. My mom was a musician and immediately identified the musical gift that I had. My first piano teacher was Bill Dixon, the piano player for the great Louis Armstrong. My gift was initially nurtured in the church. Can you believe that I became the full-time weekly musician at my church at 8 years old? I developed an interest in organ also & began to study pipe organ at 10 years old.
In addition to playing weekly at church, I played in the jazz band and concert band at school. As a kid, I played on world-famous Beale Street. I was too young to get in the club legally, but because I was good on piano & keys, I was hired to play with a lot of different RnB & blues bands. I played the Yamaha Organ Festival in Tokyo.
I had my own band and we played fashion shows, backyard pool parties, socials, & sockhops. I went on my first European Tour with the American Cathedral Choir at 17. (9 countries in 32 days). I even toured with the World-Famous Coasters right out of high school. I’ve been doing it as a career for my entire life.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
I have a few heroes: Bill Dixon (my first piano teacher), Eddie Pryor (my first organ teacher), John David Peterson, Thomas Dolby, George Duke, Jeff Lorber, J.S. Bach, Bill Meyer, & Michael Omartian are a few. My compositional/arranging influences are Debussy, Michael Colina, Quincy Jones, Cesar Franck, Michel Camilo, Michael Kamen, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Isaac Hayes, Lester Snell, David Foster, just to name a few.
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
All of my projects have had a travel motif attached to them. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 30 countries and have lived in a number of different cities (London, New York, Vicenza, Dallas, et. al). The vicissitudes of life make for good songwriting and art. I realize that the consistent thing that has maintained my life during years of travel, some bad relationships/marriages, etc was the love of God. His love is truly unfathomable and “wondrous”, if you will, hence my current offering “Wondrous Love.”
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
My greatest challenges as of late have been some health issues. I’ve had a double-round of angioplasty in both legs for blockages connected to diabetes & hypertension. I’ve made some serious lifestyle changes, including dieting & exercise.
I’ve lost 100+ pounds and I’m feeling great! I think my greatest attribute is my training & experience. I have 4 earned degrees (a doctorate & masters in music, a master’s in theology, & a bachelor’s in recording technology). I believe that education harnesses your natural talent and gives your gifts a calculated and intentional trajectory.
It has also given me extreme discipline when it comes to preparation and praxis. It is a normal thing for me to spend hours at the piano or in front of the workstation, practicing and pouring over the music. The other great attribute that enhances my life and work ethic is my spiritual life. I’m a believer in the teachings of Jesus Christ and that keeps me emotionally grounded.
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
Truthfully, I don’t know who the best is at what I do, but I’m good. I’m a lifelong learner too, so I continue to work at perfecting my craft and evolving as an artist.
What are your plans for the near future?
I’m in the final stages of completing this full album project. I am exploring unique opportunities to perform music. My music is intended for healing, relaxation & personal reflection as well as being a soundscape for film, so I am open to those opportunities too. In addition to being an artist/composer, I am a college professor, teaching piano & music theory and I am a musical director in theater, so I am busy, busy, busy.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
I have to thank Grammy-Award nominee, producer, composer & my brother, Adrian K. Davis for his assistance. He gives my records the polish and finishes needed for the marketplace. Of course, my mom and my wife Carol are my greatest supporters in addition to my brother. Of course, I give a shoutout to my 3 children: my sons Ian & Joel & my daughter Kara.
How can fans find you?
Music – https://sc.lnk.to/ADwl-s
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Producing good music & being an artist is like a slow-cooked home meal. It’s not a fast-food, overnight quick endeavor. I believe that the music that stands the test of time is music that was created slow & deliberate. I think that your character also affects your artistry too.
Character is who you are when you’re by yourself and nobody hears you but God. If you can stay humble, deliberate, open for development & musical & emotional evolution, I think that the sky is the limit. Be in love with yourself and with your own creativity. If you operate using what you have, I believe that will be enough to escort you into realms beyond your wildest imagination.
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