10 Questions - Ashley Henry

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Ashley Henry is one of a small crop of acts leading the way in the current resurgence of UK jazz. His major label debut, the Easter EP, was released in back in January and drew widespread acclaim for its unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and punk, and he’s set to perform at Rich Mix on the 18th May, which will mark his first headline show since signing to Sony Music. Ahead of the release of his first full studio album later this year, we thought it only right to offer him the 10 Questions treatment…

Contestant, what’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?

My name is Ashley Henry. I’m a jazz musician and I’m based in South East London

How would you describe your sound?

I like to pay homage to the history of jazz in my unique way, with influences ranging from Hip Hop, future soul, and Grime. 

Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?

I could spend hours answering this question. Some of my idols include Ahmad Jamal, Pharell Williams, and Madlib just to name a few. I am heavily influenced by my Jamaican roots `and draw a lot of inspiration from Jamaican jazz musicians that changed the face of UK Jazz such as Joe Harriott, Dizzy Reece and Jackie Mittou. Besides musical influences I’m inspired by the people I meet, day-to-day life experiences, and the many places I’m fortunate enough to travel to.

What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?

One of my proudest moments so far was being able to tour with one of my favourite musicians/composers, Terrence Blanchard. He was very encouraging and it opened so many doors for me musically. He’s also is a great film composer so I got to pick his brain about his approach to film composition and arranging. Got some really good advice.

Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?

Always be true to your art and to yourself. Never try to tell anyone else’s story but your own. 

Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?

Lianna La Havas- One of my favourite singer/songwriters out at the moment. Very unique style and voice! 

Skepta- I grew up listening to this guy! Would be great to see what come out of a Grime/UK Jazz collab!

Bobby McFerrin- One of the best vocalists/improvisers… Would love to do something with him duo completely improvised. I think the outcome would be pretty insane!

What have you got planned for the not so distant future?

I’ve got an album coming out on Sony and a bunch of tour dates for the rest of the year!

What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?

Boy In Da Corner - Dizzee Rascal. That album came out when I just started secondary school and I had the first ever iPod. Used to listen to that every day, even in class!

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?

That’s difficult. But putting all aspects into account I’d have to say Stevie Wonders “Songs in the Key of Life” concert in Hyde Park, London a few years ago. It was historical… reminded you how many hits the man has written… Nearly every musician I knew in the UK was there too.

Name 3 things you can’t live without?

Tea

Record Player

Being able to travel!

Any last words/shoutouts?

I'll be playing some brand new music from my upcoming album at my Headline show this Friday 18th May at Richmix! It’s going to be a great night! Tickets available here

For more on Ashley, make sure you check out his website, Twitter and Instagram

Mike PattemoreComment