Interview: Maxine Ashley

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Interview: Maxine Ashley

From covering songs on YouTube to writing her own, Bronx native Maxine Ashley‘s new EP embodies a vulnerability and femininity tied with a personal style so unique only 90’s TLC and Aaliyah references seem appropriate. Recently relocated to LA, we catch up with Maxine to talk about her songwriting, newest works, and ventures in California.

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Dress, Finders Keepers. Bra, Eres. / Top, Phlemuns.!!!

Dress, Christian Dior. / Top and pants, Maria Dora.

Dress, Toit Volant. Ring, Gabriela Artigas.

Sweater, Maria Dora. Skirt, Phlemuns.

Jacket, Phlemus. Pants, Toit Volant.

Bikini top, Leah Shlaer. Pants, Y/Project.

Hi Maxine! Your voice and songs are so lovely! How has is been finishing your newest EP and what are you most excited about following the release?

I’m excited for people to hear a side of me they’ve never really heard. I worked on these songs a while ago and I’m glad they’re being released. This EP is a stepping stone to get my feet moving again.

What was your experience like working on your new EP?

The process was pretty insane. Each song is from a different time (meaning month, or even year) but somehow they fit together as if I made them all the same day. I can hear the build within myself, I can hear myself trying to get out of many crazy situations and manifesting my future. I can still relate to them but in different ways. The songs aren’t for one specific situation, they can be related to many. It’s all about perspective.

You recently shot your newest video, can you tell us about that experience and any plans for future music videos?

I made a music video for a song I did with the producer Bunx called She Wrote Murda. It’s a modern female twist on classic reggae songs. The experience was AMAZING. Everyone came through and supported. We threw a party in a bodega and it was just a heartwarming amazing experience to have so much support and love from my people. Hell yeah, I’m in the process of making way more and figuring out dates when to drop them.

You are freshly new to LA! How has the transition been from NY ?

The first two months here were a BITCH! I got into fights with girls I didn’t know, fights with my ex, five cops barging into my home with guns… the FIRST two weeks of me living here. But I have friends out here from NYC, the Bronx specifically, and they made it cool here for me, made it feel like home again. I realized I came here for a reason and it was to work, not party, or get into trouble. So I lock myself in my home and create. I feel crazy most of the time, and like I need to roast outside in the sun to make up for the vitamin D I’ve been lacking from staying home. But when a month passes and I look at how much I’ve done, I see that the insanity was worth it.

When did you first start writing your own songs?

I always have. When I was younger I used to take songs that I loved, use the melody and re-write the song with my own twist. As I got older, I started making my own melodies and my own beats with my friends. We would spend our summers in my room creating videos, music and writing skits. It took my friend and I a whole summer to complete a song when we were younger. Crazy to think now I have more resources and experience to create a demo in a day.

What are your major influences?

My family, parents, friends, surroundings, experiences, emotion, relationships… It may sound corny, but I love to listen to my songs and in a way try to top them. I feel like I have so much within me that I can’t stick to one genre, almost as if I have ADD but with sound.

So I just smile. Paranoid EP coming soon.

A photo posted by Maxine (@maxineashley) on

What has been your favorite song you have written? 

Such a hard question! But my song Easily [to be released with her new EP] is my fave so far. It’s about not giving up on anything you’ve been working all your life for. I’ve been through many cases where people tried to stop me from being who I am because it wasn’t mainstream, radio, or maybe not “cool” enough. It used to bring me down really bad, make me feel almost talentless or not good enough. But then I make a song and I realize – yo, I’m talented as fuck!! And then I get out of my funk.

Is there a type of character you like to emote while performing on stage?

I try to connect with the audience as much as possible. Just someone who can be your homie. Sometimes I get so nervous I can’t control what I do. My body and mouth just say and do what they want.

I love your Instagram posts about styling yourself and even use your own lipsticks as eyeshadow. What are some of your favorite pieces to wear when getting ready to perform on stage? 

I honestly don’t have much knowledge in fashion or even makeup. I just make do with what I have in my closet or hit up some friends who are willing to help me pull some items. I’m not really picky as long as it’s comfy. I love to dress super cozy and be in anything I can jump around in. I’ve made a lot of style mistakes on stage where I wasn’t even able to make certain moves because of my outfits. I’ve learned my lesson !