Johnny Ashby is a British singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Ashby found a love for music through his Dad’s mixtapes. As a teen he played guitar in various bands and after leaving college, stepped into the session world. Deciding to move to California with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes, a guitar he built himself and dreams of playing the legendary Troubadour, the songwriter dove in head first and has not looked back since.
Inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and Damon Albarn, Ashby aims to create music following a similar path of thinking outside the box. His sound blends the best of his childhood favourites, with the intention of being performance worthy. Ashby explains, “When I write I imagine what the songs would be like live, that’s what’s most important to me. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Ashby’s upcoming five-track EP entitled Born Again is co-written and produced with friends Fredrik Eriksson, Sebastian Fritze and Bill Delia from the band Grizfolk. Grizfolk are hugely successful on the folk-rock circuit opening for artists like Bastille, Haim and X-Ambassadors. The EP highlights Ashby’s infectious Americana tinged sound, featuring radio-ready anthems with lyrics that speak of finding connection, new beginnings and coming together.
Leading single “Born Again”, the title-track off the EP, features ethereal harmonies and vast soundscapes delivering a dreamy, spine-tingling atmosphere which gradually builds into an unforgettable anthemic chorus. The singer’s soulful, raspy vocals narrate failing, getting a second chance and wanting to live forever. Written during the week of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, Ashby confides, “There’s a lyric in there ‘24 forever in my mind’. I think that line speaks about being gone before your time. The recording process was all done in lockdown and it brought new meaning to the song for me. Like new beginnings and how everything kinda comes in cycles. It’s a moment of clarity in challenging times and holding on to hope when things feel impossibly tough. And I think we all need that moment of clarity right now. The last few months has been a spiral, a domino effect where one thing has led to the other. I think the pandemic has been an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start again. There’s been so much injustice and we’re seeing people stand together against racism. People want to make a change.”
Ashby hopes his music encourages others to take a leap and rediscover yourself. Admitting how during these unprecedented times he managed to find time without limitations and value what is truly important, he shares, “Without this lockdown I don’t think these songs would have happened. I needed this time to stop, sit down and figure it all out. It’s been a valuable lesson and I hope that if there’s anyone that feels at a loss, like I did before pre lockdown, I hope my music speaks to them and inspires a leap of faith.”
Ashby’s first EP Cannonball Days peaked at #9 in the iTunes songwriters chart which led to Huffington Post naming him a “Top 5 Emerging Icon”. Since then, he has releasedtwo well acclaimed EPs and his music has been heard on radio both in the UK and the US, gaining huge support from BBC Introducing and Absolute Radio in London. He’s played the prestigious Troubadour in Los Angeles multiple times and his songs have been featured on primetime television for shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Elementary, Rise, Baywatch, Teen Mom, Midnight In Texas and NBC’s NHL.