nzoa ad 0622


December/January 2014

by Hannah Brewer

Fresh Talent: Ash Graham

by Hannah Brewer

Fresh Talent: Ash Graham

When just four years old Ash Graham knew that he wanted to be a musician. At age six his family chipped in to buy him his first guitar. He took to it like a duck to water, and ever since Ash has been playing and creating songs as if it’s the most natural thing to do. Raised on the Kapiti Coast, he was immersed in jazz, funk and soul music from a very early age.

“I’ve always been a fan of the home talents,” he says, talking about his influences including the likes of Sola Rosa and Noah Slee. Playing with a lot of jazz musicians has also influenced Ash’s music and he seems to combine this with his own unique RnB flavor, intertwining both rock and hip hop beats.

Wellington-based jazz student Petra Bullock adds to the luscious vocals and soulful harmonies that can be heard throughout Ash’s debut ‘Sixth Street Soul‘. The EP is rich with memorable melodies and sentimental lyrics and is stylistically far beyond his 19 years. First single Glamour combines conventional melodies and rhythms with eccentric sonic elements, creating an interesting fusion of soul, pop and RnB that acts as a vehicle for his fresh lyrics that tiptoe around ideas of consumerism and image.

Having studied audio engineering, Ash not only has a creative background but a technical one also. The young musician writes, records and produces his own songs and speaks of how this is significant to his music and sets him apart from other artists. Being both the writer and producer means he can play with the order of how he develops his songs and the creative process. At times he starts with beats or samples and at others with his guitar. Either way, he is always looking to push the limits of what he knows and be musically innovative and adventurous.

Recently he set himself a goal to write, record and produce one song a day and achieved it without issue, writing and producing over 50 songs inside of just a few months.

This focus, hard work and creativity have already earned Ash numerous achievements including being placed in competitions such as Play It Strange, the University of Auckland Songwriter of the Year Schools Competition and the Teen section of the U.S. International Songwriting Competition. Now with an EP and single under his belt, playing many more shows and an album are next on the horizon.

support nzm