From delving into heartbreak — she went through a divorce three years ago and continues to grieve the death of her brother last year — to self-empowering tracks layered throughout, Ashlyn provides a powerful portrait of the human behind Ashe.
"The whole process was liberating, freeing and therapeutic," the singer — whose claim to fame came after the release of her single "Moral of the Story," which has gained over 270 million plays on Spotify. "The whole thing I wrote at a time when my life was changing. I was being really validated as an artist and as a writer. I felt like I could write absolutely anything I wanted to."
"The world sort of said, 'Hey, you got really vulnerable and honest with us and we want more of it.' And that validation was incredibly moving to my confidence," she adds. "I'm the same girl, but I speak my mind a lot more and I don't really question myself as much, which I think makes a really great artist. The best artists are the ones who aren't looking for anyone to tell you, what do you think? Or like, is the song good? I don't care if you think it's good or not. That's been really liberating."
The album is a profound listen. The heartbreaking "Ryne's Song" features a heartbreaking voicemail from Ashe's late brother after she sings about their time together ending. She sings, "I always thought we fixed things in our forties or so, I never imagined that I'd be the only one getting old."
"That song was the toughest to write. I lost my brother last year and so I thought the best way to honor him is to write about it and not sharing every detail, but it's definitely a song that's about life being short," she says. "We had a really complicated relationship. There are conversations that we always think we can have later on and so we wait and think that we have time. No one's promised 40 and he certainly wasn't and I'm not still. It's just like don't take life for granted."
"I'm still healing," she says of her grief. "I'll be healing till I die, but I'm really proud of that song."
Along with "Moral of the Story" and "Till Forever Falls Apart" with Finneas, Ashe sings about her heartbreaking divorce several years ago. (She's in a happy relationship currently.)
"I wouldn't call it a breakup album," she says. "I'd definitely say it's an album about my life, it's about my experiences and failed relationships are a part of my experiences."
"I think the lyric 'We've been living on a fault line' [in 'Till Forever Falls Apart'] is just a sick metaphor that relationships are fragile," she adds. "We kind of always build our relationships on a fault line that at any moment can kind of shift and everything falls apart."
Ashe also reveals that she and her team went through a few different names for the album, before landing on her real name as its title.
"There was just no other name. We were toying around with lyrics and A Matter of Time came up and The Faultline came up and I was just like Ashlyn is the only name that makes sense for this," she says. "I'm a little bit nervous about that. It was a little daunting that I'm making my first album my name. It's like not separation of church and state. It's completely me and me. So if people don't like it, it's like, they're like, 'I don't like you.'"
Ashlyn is out now.