Written by Ani Artinian Thursday, 09 July 2009 06:27
Asha-Lee is a 27 year old woman originally from Jamaica, who arrived in Canada at the age of 10. Even at such a young age, Asha-Lee had already begun her musical journey. She remembers being really into music as a kid – not just as a listener, but as a creator. She bounced from one instrument to another, including the piano, clarinet, harmonica, and her share of a cappella groups. By the age of 15, she had started to focus more on writing and performing her own music and within a few years she had the opportunity to begin playing local gigs. She expanded her musical horizons even more by providing background writing and vocals for other local artists. Today, Asha-Lee enjoys performing local gigs in and around Toronto, and is continually building her fan base.
She describes her sound as “dancehall reggae and reggae pop”, stating that the reggae pop description is because of her dedication to make this kind of music mainstream and popularized. While she loves all kinds of music, she loves the up tempo style that dancehall reggae delivers. She spoke about some of the musical influences that have helped to mold the music she makes today. These include the inspirational music of Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, Sade, Anita Baker, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. Asha-Lee was “always inspired by artists who can move the crowd in a positive way”, and she uses her music as a way to speak to the public. She certainly feels that she has a lot to say, and she’s determined to be heard. The prospect of inspiring her audience is what moves her to write songs with a “strong lyrical message and content”, and it is why she puts so much effort into the writing aspect. She writes about “true life events” and has very relatable lyrics, so the audience can relate to her songs. Six of these lyrically inspirational songs can be found on the EP she recorded, and she also hopes to record a full-length album.
She knows that the most important part is getting her music “in the right hands, and to find the management that can take it to the next level.” Getting your music in the right hands is certainly important when you consider the Toronto music scene. Asha-Lee believes that Toronto’s music “pales in comparison to what’s out there.” There is so much raw talent in Toronto that can’t seem to break through certain barriers and so they remain under the surface of success. But Asha-Lee is working hard to break through those barriers and make her music heard. Have a listen for yourself, at www.myspace.com/ashaleesimone