Stalk Ashley

Selected by: James Keith

Name: Stalk Ashley

Where She’s From: Jamaica

When She Started: 2017

Genre: R&B/Dancehall

File Next To: Alicai Harley, Jada Kingdom, Jahvillani

Sounds Like: “I would define my sound as a fusion between dancehall and R&B—Dancehall&B!—mixing my Jamaican lingua with other genres using various different styles and tones.”

First Music That Inspired Her: “The first song that made me want to do music was a song that my brother recorded. I always liked music and was always drawn to melodies and cadence, but when I heard my brother make a song, it made me realise how possible it was to create music and I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do.”

In just three years, Jamaican-born Stalk Ashley has very quickly become one of the most exciting new talents in dancehall. Amplifying the genre’s potential for melody with a heavy dose of R&B, Ashley’s take on the sound has struck a chord with fans of both genres across the US, UK and her home country without compromising on the integrity of either. Like a lot of great R&B singers, Ashley’s musical education came via the Church. “I grew up in a Christian household,” she tells TRENCH. “My mum and I were heavily involved in church. I’ve been singing in church since I was two years old so it was always gospel that played a huge role in my musical interest and if it wasn’t gospel, it was Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Sade and just a lot of soul. I really wasn’t even allowed to play any other music in my house.”

Stalk Ashley first made her name via Jada Kingdom’s ‘Banana Challenge’ online, a viral campaign in which the Kingston artist invited fans to freestyle over her recent hit of the same name. Ashley saw the call-out and submitted a quick video using lyrics from a song she’d written and recorded called “Time Waster”. Unsurprisingly, it turned the heads of everyone who saw it. Shrewdly, Ashley was quick to capitalise on the buzz and several hundred thousand views later she was in the studio with Jada working on “Wasteman”.

2019 was even bigger for her and saw the release of her first three solo singles, “Sin Sex”, “Drunk Text” and “Young”, each garnering more attention than the last. In fact, “Young” is currently her biggest to date, clocking up millions of streams. Her most recent offering, the double A-side “Deserted” (featuring WSTRN) and “O.P.E.N”, added yet more weight to her name and now, in 2020, high-profile artists are heaping praise on her left, right, and centre. Mahalia, Jorja Smith and Stefflon Don are all fans, and just last year Stormzy even invited her to help him cover Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge.

Of course, with everything going on right now, Ashley’s had to make some adjustments to her plans for the next stage of her career. “This year was supposed to be my first tour,” she says, “but due to the current climate of the world, I haven’t been able to tour yet. But it’s given me the time to focus on some other things and work on other parts of my craft that I felt I needed work.” While that’s a shame, she says it has given her the chance to work on her debut album. “I’m super psyched about putting out a body of work that I put my blood, sweat and tears and soul into, where my fans and supporters and just passers-by can just get a taste of what I’m about musically, and what I have to share with the world.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on September 04, 2020