Writing well beyond her years, Mason Ashley masterfully crafts lyrics that tell timeless stories, melodies that capture raw emotion, and sings with an enchanting voice that lulls the listener to another time and place. At just eighteen years old, she is at the start of a blossoming career with a maturity of sound and sentiment that shines through in her upcoming single “Paper Planes” off her brand new EP “Strangers.”
Music has been Mason’s blood since birth. She could hear a song on the radio, march her seven-year-old self into the house, sit down at the upright piano inherited from her great, great grandparents, and begin to play the song she had just heard. She had an ear for music and could play nearly anything she picked up. After piano came the guitar. Her grandfather was throwing away an old Conn and when she saw it in the trash, she was mortified at the injustice of throwing away a piece of art. After rescuing it, she began to play, but something more happened. That old, throw-away guitar thrust her into a mystical world of songwriting at the tender age of just nine.
“Music has always been a part of me. I’ve been writing songs since I was nine years old and decided to learn guitar after attempting to teach myself chords on my grandpa’s old Conn until I couldn’t feel my fingers. I got my first guitar for my 10th birthday and the rest is history.” Growing up, Mason was greatly influenced by the music her parents listened to including early John Mayer, Matchbox 20, and Maroon 5. She later became infatuated with Bob Dylan’s writing style that went on to open up a whole new realm of songwriting for her.
Mason began to pour her heart and her pre-teen hurts, desires, wishes, angers into journals. She filled journal after journal with lyrics and melodies. She, her guitar, her pencil, and her journals could be found strewn across her bedroom floor most hours of the day. The pencil, paper, guitar, and her own voice gave her a venue to express herself and then move on. Her songwriting process truly has no pattern or order. “Like most things in my life, it’s pretty messy, but really the songs I end up loving are the ones that come out of nowhere from a moment of inspiration. I’ll get ideas in the car, in line for coffee, in the grocery store… I like the random, mysterious inspiration.”
Instead of trying to categorize her unique sound into specific genres, Mason describes her sound as “what she feels like writing, what she is feeling in the moment, and what she feels is honest.” Her music is her own journal of her life, just with melodies. The result; songs that anyone of any age who has ever felt love, loss, frustration, joy, romance can relate to.
She has experienced much of the United States from the backseat of a car as her family travels as often as they can. Mason’s travels have given her a glimpse of people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and she also draws inspiration from these people and places. “I’ve been all over the country in the back seat of my parents’ car with a cup of Starbucks and some kind of instrument. Oceans and people fascinate me. I could sit in a cafe with a cup of coffee and just watch people all day long or play ukulele on the beach forever and be perfectly content.”
Her upcoming single “Paper Planes” was inspired by a relationship she knew was bad for her. Struggling with a song title for months, it wasn’t until she was folding laundry and saw an old pair of pajama shorts with little white paper planes on it that she created the metaphor for this toxic relationship. She went on to finish writing the bridge a few hours before leaving for a show and performed the song live that same night for the first time.
The stunning music video visually captures the disastrous relationship she experienced through a series of metaphors. She wanted to subtlety capture the emotions of watching something fall right apart in front of you and trying to find your way through it without losing sight of who you are. The video follows Mason through an old building, which for her is a symbol of dangerous love. “You know it’s going to crumble, but you’re too intrigued to run away from it.”
Her full EP titled “Strangers” is truly a diary of the past two years of her life. Listening to the body of music, it is a tale of how Mason dealt with various situations while going through a transitional time. While trying to figure out exactly who she is, Mason wrote most of the songs in under an hour, late at night, during times of confusion and mixed emotions. The EP was a way for her to sort her feelings out on paper.
Mason is often found surrounded by extended family, all with instruments in hand, wrapped in a big comfy quilt on a porch in the starlight singing, laughing, and playing. Simplicity, faith, and family are of upmost importance to her. When she is not writing, recording, or performing music, she is working hard at cosmetology school to get her license. Having the opportunity to help women and men feel beautiful and confident through cosmetology is a truly inspiring experience for her.
Dedicated to using her voice and platform to make a difference, Mason is a huge supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association, a disease that her great grandmother has suffered with for over ten years. Watching her go through that since Mason was a child has had a huge impact on her – so much that she wrote a song about it when she was 12.
Her goal as a musician is to never stop learning. To always push herself and never let her career be something that she does because it becomes routine. When she was younger, she would ask for a different instrument every year for birthday. She wants to always have that mentality of her younger self that felt excited for a new challenge.
“My music is for that nine year old girl on her bedroom floor writing way too many songs in the key of G. It’s for the thirteen year old that thought she knew what love was. For the beautiful moments that you wish could last for more than just a moment. Finding out that loss is hard and that some ends will forever be loose ends. For the realization that relationships can be tricky and confusing and inconsistent and sometimes you like it that way. Above all, it’s for those nights of just hoping that someone will stay and believing that if they do, you can dance yourself into the song. But even if they don’t stay, you can still write an album about it.”