A conversation with Ashley K. Davis

Today, we had a passionate conversation with composer, producer and touring artist: Ashley K. Davis.

Ashley holds a DMA & MM in Sacred Music/Organ Performance & a BFA in Recording Technology. He has worked alongside many artists, and has incomparable experience. It was only right to have a conversation with him, and to get to know him better.

Let’s discover his latest musical jewel, a melodic electro-pop instrumental, and see our conversation with Ashley K. Davis below.

Welcome to The-Further it is an honour to have you today. Could you tell us how you started to do music?

I am a 54-year-old father of 3 and grandfather.  I am a music professional with over 40 years of experience in the area of music education, industry and performance as a college music professor, administrator, concert artist, composer, producer & session musician.  I’ve served in a variety of prestigious positions:  Artistic Director of the Stax Music Academy, Associate Professor of Music for various colleges, and as a session/touring musician for Peabo Bryson, Shalamar, James Ingram, Kirk Whalum, et. al.   I started playing the piano at age 5. My mom was a musician and immediately identified the musical gift that I had.  My first piano teacher was Bill Dixon, the piano player for the great Louis Armstrong.   My gift was initially nurtured in the church.  Can you believe that I became the full-time weekly musician at my church at 8 years old?  I developed an interest in organ also & began to study pipe organ at 10 years old.  In addition to playing weekly at church, I played in the jazz band and concert band at school.  As a kid, I played on world-famous Beale Street. I was too young to get in the club legally, but because I was good on piano & keys, I was hired to play with a lot of different RnB & blues bands.   I played the Yamaha Organ Festival in Tokyo. I had my own band and we played fashion shows, backyard pool parties, socials, & sock hops.  I went on my first European Tour with the American Cathedral Choir at 17.  (9 countries in 32 days).  I even toured with the World-Famous Coasters right out of high school.  I’ve been doing it as a career for my entire life.

What are your main inspirations to write music?

Life and God are my primary inspirations and subject matter for composition.  All of my past projects (Introspection, A Soul’s Odyssey, & Passport were autobiographical to a degree and writing them and performing them have been a source of personal therapy and healing for me.  

Do you have a specific creative process? 

I’m a pianist by training, so my composition process always begins at the piano.  For my instrumental output, I always begin with a theme or some subject or idea.  Even though my music is primarily instrumental, I compose like I’m writing for a singer.  The voice gives a lyrical flavor as well as an emotional bent to the music.  With that in mind, I try to make the piano or synth lead lines “sing” as a voice would.  

Can you tell us more about your latest release? 

All of my projects have had a travel motif attached to them.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 30 countries and have lived in a number of different cities (London, New York, Vicenza, Dallas, et. al). The vicissitudes of life make for good songwriting and art.   I realize that the consistent thing that has maintained my life during years of travel, some bad relationships/marriages, etc. was the love of God.  His love is truly unfathomable and “wondrous”, if you will, hence my current offering “Wondrous Love.”  The song itself is an old hymn of the church that I arranged.  It is written in Dorian mode, so it has an exotic quality to it.  With the instruments I used for the melody, it sounds very Eastern.  This is also indicative of my travels.  

What are your plans for the future? 

I’m in the final stages of completing this full album project.  I am exploring unique opportunities to perform music.  My music is intended for healing, relaxation & personal reflection as well as being a soundscape for film, so I am open for those opportunities too.  In addition to being an artist/composer, I am a college professor, teaching piano & music theory and I am a musical director in theater, so I am busy, busy, busy.