Ashley Iona

How did you get your initial start in music?

I was walking around the music centre in my school at about 10, and my first singing teacher came out of her room because she heard a 10 year old talking an octave lower than the rest of my friends 🙂 I was classically trained by her for 10 years, everything from Arias to Jazz standards.  Then when I started writing my own songs I had to find my own voice a little.  It’s a hard thing to explain, but you almost to have to learn all the technique and then try and forget about it.  My singing teacher in LA now trains a lot of pop artists and she’s always pushing me to be as vulnerable with my voice as I am with my lyrics.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To headline the Good Vibrations Festival in Sydney.  I think this will probably change over time, but to have been away from home for so long, it would be incredible to headline the first festival i ever went to.  My first boyfriend took me because James Brown was headlining that year and I remember thinking, yes, I want to be on that stage.  The whole ‘awards’ thing would be cool, but it’s not really the goal.  It’s more about making music that people want to hear.

 How long have you been writing your own music?

Since I was about 21.  I graduated from a Performing Arts College in Sydney and nothing really worked out the way I thought it would.  I got dumped the day after graduation and didn’t receive any good offers from agents at the time.  Felt like every aspect of my life had just sunk.  So I was home a lot during the day not really knowing what to do, but I was so used to being creative from college and music is just so accessible.  It’s hard to be home by yourself and ‘act’ but it’s really easy to sit down and write a song.  Then you’re working on something, and in my experience, inspiration finds you working. I was hooked from then.  One of my roommates was a drummer and he and his girlfriend were just really encouraging, so I kept working at it.

Who are your top three influences and why?

I think Florence & The Machine has got to be up there.  It’s not just her style of music i really love, but the way she crafts a song.  One of my favourite lyrics is ‘Say my name / And every colour will illuminate I just love the way she see’s the world in her writing. It feels like she’s very influenced by the elements around her, and that’s very true for me as well.

The Cranberries are another one.  My mum loved them and I grew up listening to their albums on repeat.  I think thats where I get my love of ‘gritty sounds’ in a song.  I always need to feel like there’s an element that cuts through the rest of the track.  I also think their song ‘Zombies’ is pretty timeless, and that’s what I want my music to be as well.

I also read a lot of poetry for inspiration, it’s helpful to have different sources.  Two of my favorites are Rumi and Charles Bukowski.  Rumi is one of the most important poets and philosophers of all time, and I think it’s so interesting that all of his poetry comes from the relationship he had with his best friend – A sufi named Shams Tabriz.  “In Rumi’s own words, after meeting Shams he was transformed from a bookish, sober scholar to an impassioned seeker of truth and love”  I mention this, because it just shows you how much another person can influence you.

Charles Bukowski is just so brutally honest, it’s amazing.  I actually get a little rush from reading some of his poetry.  You’re like ‘oh my god he just said that!’ Read the poem ‘Freedom’ and you’ll see what I mean.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

I wrote a lot of these songs because I was trying to feel more connected about what was going on around me at the time.  I think that’s how I’d want people to feel.  Music is so powerful, and I’m so aware of that, so I was also constantly asking everyone involved ‘How can we make this better? How can we make this easier for people to connect to and be wrapped up in?’ Sometimes you have to be very persistent with what you want, or people will decide it for you. I hope this EP makes people feel all kinds of things, but mostly that they enjoy it.

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in London at the moment! It’s awesome.  I’ve been bouncing around different friends and family’s houses, and two of my favourite new venues are Salon Noir in Soho, upstairs from the L’Escargot (the oldest French restaurant in London) I have a special love for all things French.  I’m playing there on September 27th.  The other is a place called Echoes London, in Haggerston.  I actually just played there last night and the room is so cool! The stage has all this greenery behind it and it’s tiny but the sound is the best I’ve had yet and it makes it feel very intimate. I’d love to play there again.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Check out Aussie DJ Trio Date Night, their single ‘Forget’ is awesome.  I have a single coming out with them in October called ‘For You’.  I also love Jagwar Ma, and hoping to catch them when they tour the UK later this year.  Maybe I’ll try and swing the opening act slot 🙂

Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and her more of your music.

Find me everywhere!




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