Ashley Kutcher: ‘TikTok can be a toxic place but it’s a great tool’

Baltimore native Ashley Kutcher talks about her journey into the music industry, the influence of social media, and what she wants all her listeners to know.

Ashley Kutcher

Baltimore native Ashley Kutcher talks about her journey into the music industry, the influence of social media, and the guiding theme that unites her music.

What inspired you to get involved in music? Was it what you always wanted to do?

My family is very musical so I grew up around a ton of music. My uncle plays bass and my dad plays drums so music and creativity was always in my life, but I was never intending on making a career out of it. There is no ‘how to become an artist’ major that you can take so the natural progression for me was to pursue a degree in nursing. Once I had graduated, an opportunity was presented and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

And how did you manage balancing your music alongside that nursing degree?

It was so weird. When music started happening more seriously, I was still in my last semester of nursing. It was during Covid so even though most of my classes were online, I had a student nursing job, so I was still in the hospital. And then meanwhile, my songs are getting noticed by labels, especially ‘Love you from a Distance’. So the days I had off work I would take label meetings.

I was living two lives. Some days I was in this music world deciding if I wanted to pursue music and some days I was in the hospital helping people and doing what I normally did. I worked really hard on this nursing career so it was a tough decision when it came down to it, but the amazing people on my team were the ones that convinced me to pick music. I couldn’t have done it without them supporting and working with me. It all became a perfect storm. I couldn’t walk away from this opportunity. I’m here now and I’m giving it my best shot.

Ashley Kutcher

What was it like playing small local venues? What did you learn?

When I was younger, I was so shy – especially around my extraverted family. It was only when I got to high school I started coming out of my shell, and my friends persuaded me to do this show in-front of the whole school. The thrill of being on stage and having people listen to me sing was so exciting. I then went to college and got a part time job as a waitress, so the music wasn’t as much a part of my life as I wanted it to be.

I was offered my first gig at this place called the Green Turtle in my local college bar town. The nights were hard work, the sets were often three hours long, but it was great practice. People liked what I was doing and started asking me to sing in other venues around town. I ended up playing all over the Baltimore area. Despite the long hours, I was earning a bit of money and it definitely made me a stronger performer.

Do you prefer writing or performing?

Performing has always been something I love. I didn’t start songwriting until I was in college, when I began meeting DJs and producers in the area. We would hang out and write and experiment with different sounds. That’s when I really began loving the songwriting aspect of music. Both are equally as important to me, but when I’m performing I feel like people are connecting and getting a memorable experience and ultimately, I guess that’s what I love the most about being a musician.

How did TikTok aid you in your journey?

It helped me gain the career I have today. I know people have mixed opinions about it. It can be a little toxic because of how brutal people can be, but for me, it was a great tool. It was a great way to go from absolutely nobody to somebody who could start a career in music. It gives a voice to people who, in the real world, might not have been given this opportunity. Even though it sometimes gives me a headache, it’s great for connecting with my audience and I still use it to play my favourite covers.


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How would you describe your music to those who haven’t heard it?

The music that I’m working on now, which is the music I’m really proud of, doesn’t necessarily fit into the pop genre. I’m experimenting more with live instrumentation and using the bands I used to love covering as inspiration. If I had to put a label on it, I would say my music is a mix of indie pop and a hint of country music, but it also changes depending on the song.

As for the lyrics, I would say storytelling is important to me. I want my music to have a narrative. I’m still discovering new sounds and ways to make music so there’s room to grow and my direction is becoming clearer as time goes on.

How did ‘Love You From a Distance’ come about?

I was at home at my parents house. I would always sit on the floor in my bathroom and write and play there because the acoustics were so good. I was getting people messaging me and requesting I write songs about specific themes. So I picked one and ‘Love you from a distance’ was born. The video got loads of positive feedback and people were impatient for me to release the song so I went into the studio with my friend Eric and he produced the song for me. It blew up and people loved it! I’m not sure what was different about this song, perhaps it was the storytelling aspect that helped people too relate.

What was it like performing in LA and NYC?

It was an experience I never thought I’d have. Two years ago, I was going to spend my life doing a nursing job with music on the side. To go from that to being on stage where people were paying to hear my music was so surreal. Its an experience that I’m so grateful to have. It was also really cool to be able to see people who had been following my journey online who had travelled to meet me. I have always had people that I look up to, so when people were coming up to me and telling me that they look up to me it was just so crazy. All the bar gigs in the world couldn’t prepare you for that.

Talk me through your new track ‘Emotionless’?

The meaning behind this song is a little more straight forward. I was going through something at the time and I remember desperately wanting to feel nothing so I could have a break from my thoughts. We all sometimes wish we could press a button and turn off the emotion so this is where the name ‘Emotionless’ came from. It’s a universal feeling that I think everyone can relate with. I’m excited to realise it, because it’s a little different. The music video is also a very important aspect of this song. We filmed it in New York City in the pouring rain. It’s very impactful and a big reason why I’m also super excited to release this song.

I heard you’re putting the finishing touches to your debut album – how does it feel creating something on a larger scale?

I’m not going to say the title yet because its really important to me and I want to wait until we get closer to the album release.

When it came down to it, the songs all ended up having the same theme. I guess it’s ultimately how to get through your own mind. Panic disorder runs in my family and I dropped out of school twice because of how bad things would get. I didn’t know how to deal with these emotions. Writing the title track of the album was a battle within myself as it was forcing me to confront these experiences head on.

This is the message that I want to say and it’s so important to me that I get this message out. Going through life with intense anxiety can feel so lonely and when you open up and make a platform for people to talk about their feelings we can feel supported by one another. People are going to listen to these lyrics and think ‘thank God’ I’m not alone in feeling this way. Here’s some real life shit and we are going to talk about it.

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