What comes to mind when you think of grunge-soul? Perhaps not an artist that looks like North London singer-songwriter Ashaine White, she suggests.
“I do find that people are used to something coming out of somebody that looks like me,” acknowledges Ashaine White (pronounced Ash-ay-nee) from her home in North London. “It's my ends,” she says of where she grew up. “It's what I represent. I class myself as a proper Londoner,” she grins.
With her new five-track EP, Ash, White (pronounced Ash-ay-nee) is proud to challenge these stereotypes and is carving out a sound that is unmistakably her own. Back to grunge-soul: White grew up inspired by legends of both opposing genres, citing Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Kurt Cobain and Radiohead as artists that made a lasting impression on her.
“A lot of amazing black musicians are making what people class as ‘UK black music’, and are doing it incredibly,” she points out. “I'm just trying to present myself as the most ‘me’ I can be; all my influences are what bleeds out of me. It's hard to be in a situation where you're being told that what you do doesn't make sense because of the way you look, or the way I sing or the way the music sounds, so I'm really excited to have Ash out,” she enthuses, adding that the EP’s name couldn’t be more her:
“Ash is my nickname. It's fully me,” she explains. “This is the type of music that comes out of me. I'm not thinking about what's in the charts, I'm not thinking, ‘I want to make a song that sounds like this person's song’. It’s more: we sit in a room, we make music and whatever comes out is what comes out.”