Asher Monroe is a multi-talent force. He’s a singer, dancer, actor and entrepreneur. Born in Arlington, Virginia in 1988, Asher is slowly but surely making a name in the US.
He started out in a boyband in the mid-2000s, then appeared on a whole bunch of TV shows, including Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101”, or NBC’s “Medium” and since 2011 he’s dedicated more of time to his true passion that is music. That year he launched an independent label, D Empire, that helped him take over the creative process of his music so that his fan would get the real Asher Monroe deal and not a sound ‘fabricated’ in a major label office.
Asher Monroe’ music is a blend of pop, R&B and urban and he’s made sure his style stays coherent for the time he’s solo career has extended. Ever since 2011 he’s released one-off singles but last December marked the first ‘official’ Asher Monroe coming. He dropped via iTunes an EP titled “On My Way Part 1”, and Part 2 arrived late last month. Both EPs feature 5 songs only and all 10 were co-produced/co-written by “Loyal” star Chris Brown, according to Asher Monroe himself. Breezy is a ‘vocal’ collaborator on one song only, though, on Part 1’s “Memory” and he even took part of the music video shooting as you can see for yourself at the bottom of this page.
Directlyrics.com recently caught up with 26-year-old Asher Monroe to discuss the “On My Way” era, working with Chris Brown and OneRepublic leader Ryan Tedder, how it feels being in total control of his music with D Empire, or what his favorite songs of the moment are and how he stays in great shape!
1. In December last year you released ‘On My Way Part 1’ and on the 27th last month you dropped Part 2. What can fans expect from this follow-up?
I feel that part two is a little stronger, but I think that’s because it has two of my personal favorite tracks, ‘Nobody Else’ and ‘Fucked Up’. I put Chris Brown on part one and Sean Kingston on part two, and made sure to even the EPs out sonically, so that one wasn’t heavily leaning towards up-tempo songs, and the other all ballads. I feel like part two is an equal feel and sound, but I personally think it’s the better of the two!
2. If you had to pick, which song from the new EP is your favorite or the one you have a special connection with and why?
Definitely ‘Fucked Up,’ because I think that tells a great story and it’s a little different of a sound than I’ve ever done. The song is very much an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. It shows that we all mess up in life and relationships, and the key to it all is getting back up on your feet, admitting to your wrongs, and fighting for the one that you love. It was also fun and different to do a more reggae style with this song, and Sean’s vibe definitely lent to that. It was Chris’ decision to bring in Sean because he wanted somebody with a young, but distinguished sound.
3. By the way, one of the songs from Part 1 is ‘Memory’ feat. Chris Brown. How exactly did the two of you get together and what was it like working with Chris?
We got connected through my label, D Empire. I was always a fan of Chris and his music. I wanted to partner up with someone like him - we’re the same age, both from Virginia, and have tons of other common interests. We originally set out to work on one song together, but ended up finishing 12 songs! Sometimes when you get in the studio and vibe with somebody, you can’t just do one song. That’s definitely what happened here. Chris really took me under his wing, and I’m really proud of the finished product.
4. One would ask: if Asher Monroe is yet to have a full length debut solo album, as fans are impatient, why splitting ‘On My Way’ into two EPs and not just combine the two and give them as one full length?
An EP, in my mind, is more of a sampler. It’s fun nowadays to split up content into pieces and give fans new material in waves. I wanted fans to be able to follow my journey as an artist and see how I’m constantly growing. There are no rules in the game anymore, so I feel like you can approach releasing music in different formats - singles, EPs, albums. These two EPs are also the first real body of work I’ve done as a solo artist. I started this a year and a half ago, and I think I’ve really grown in my sound and am figuring out the path I want to take. I released the two parts because I wanted fans to see my growth as an artist.
5. How soon until your debut album is released? Is it in the works? Would you like the sound of it to be something similar to your EPs?
There’s definitely a full-length album in the works, and I plan to release it this year! I want to follow up the EPs with new material, which has a different sound and feel to it. There’s a possibility that you’ll hear some similarities, but you’ll also really see a development. The EP leans a little more R&B and I still have hints of that in my full-length album, but it’s definitely more pop and soulful vibe. Soul is an ongoing theme in my music, and I wanted to bring more instrumentation to my music so that people can really relate to it when I perform live. The band brings that energy to the stage, and that’s super important to me!
6. I’m sure during the last few months you’ve recorded more songs than the ones you’re including on your new EPs. How many songs do you estimate were left out and was it hard choosing which made the track listings?
I did a total of 12 songs with Chris Brown, and I narrowed it down to the 10 that you see on the EPS. In terms of overall songs, I have somewhere between 30 or 40 songs that I’m narrowing down to a full-length album. Every song you work on may not best represent you as an artist, and that’s ok. It’s all part of being in the studio; you’re working a muscle.
7. A few years ago you started your own music label, D Empire, with Diana Jenkins. How does it feel to be in control of your own music and should a major label, say, makes you an offer tomorrow would you completely rule it out?
I would definitely not rule it out. I have been approached by a few labels, but at the time, I wanted to own my music and have control of my schedule. I needed time as an artist to explore, create, try new things, and figure it out on my own. I’ve been using this time to build my brand and my vision so I can be completely confident in exactly what I want to do. These last few years have given me time to figure out who I am as an artist, and where I want to go in my career. Now, it will be easier to meet with a label and say, “this is what I have, this is where I want to go, and do you think we can do that together?” I think I’m much more ready now to have those conversations.
8. We’ve read that you’ve worked with Ryan Tedder in the studio. Is the song you worked on in one of the EPs? What did you learn from your time with Ryan?
Ryan is a fantastic person in general; definitely one of the nicest people in the industry that I’ve worked with. I think he’s in his own class not only as a producer, but also as a writer and an artist. He’s juggling so many things at one time, and just to get the opportunity to go to his amazing home studio where he creates all of his music was a learning experience.
We wrote two songs together: ‘Here With You’ and another that hasn’t been released. I have nothing but great things to say about Ryan. I hope to work with him again in the future - he’s a master at his craft and can offer so much advice and words of wisdom for navigating the industry.
9. You’ve recently done collaborations with Chris and Sean Kingston, but if you could hit the studio tomorrow with anyone you could pick, what artist would it be, why and what do you think the song would sound like?
I’m being ambitious here, but I would want to do separate sessions with Adele and write a smash ballad with her, and then work with Bruno Mars on something up-tempo and fun.
10. You seem to be in great shape, Asher. What’s your routine secret?
Eating right is definitely the most important. I love to cook, and that keeps me eating healthy. Then I workout at least three times a week. is important too. I’m naturally pretty lean, so that helps a lot!
11. What are Asher Monroe's Top 5 songs of the moment?
‘Uptown Funk’ - Mark Ronson’s feat. Bruno Mars
‘All About That Bass’ - Meghan Trainor
‘I Don’t Mind’ - Usher
‘Thinking About You’ - Ed Sheeran
‘Not The Only One’ - Sam Smith.
12. Thank you for your time. Best of luck with everything! Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers at DirectLyrics.com?
Thank you so much for your support on my EP release. Get ready for all new music to come! I’ll be posting much more information on my socials, so you can follow me on my twitter, instagram, facebook and my website for all of my updates. Stay tuned!
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