The first time I heard that voice in person, it was a cool Thursday evening on the outdoor patio of Solé: an eclectic bar filled with modern ideas and hip people. Wood tones and deep reds adorn the décor, businessmen and women, students, artists, musicians, writers, and nomads fill the list of patrons which makes it the “IN” place to be. The restaurant is reminiscent of my time in New York City, when I would travel to SOHO from my Harlem apartment, drink liquors made all across the world and eat foods made popular by celebrities on television.
Ruminating on my time in the Big Apple, I can never recall hearing a voice with so much poise and power from a singer gracing their stages, not like I did on this night in Augusta, GA.
AE took the stage with the confidence of a Diva who has been performing for 30 years, yet with the humility of individual who just solely wants to just share her amazing gift with the world.
What a better way to begin a performance than to insist we “Call Tyrone”, the tremendous cover made famous by the Incomparable Erykah Badu. The energy from AE sizzled through the crowd as she indicated she was “…getting tired of your stuff, you don’t ever buy me nothing” After that first phrase I began to see communities of spectators begin to reach for cellphones in hopes to catch greatness in action. Backed up by Warren Brown, Brian Herrington, and Brandon Kelly; members of her band, “824”.
I was able to sit down with AE before her show this night and find out who she is, and what she has in store for us. An Augusta, GA native, though being born in Atlanta, GA she grew up in a family and community where integrity, honesty, spirituality, and faith were prominent pillars in her life. Not being able to listen to anything but Contemporary Gospel, without any Southern Gospel, R&B or Hip Hop at the will of her mother for most of her formative years, AE believes that it helped groom her into the singer she is today. It gives her a different perspective on what she believes music is supposing to sound like.
Every artist knows, at different times and instances when they came to the realization that their purpose is to be creating and performing music. For AE, it was when she very young, she used to pretend she was on a television show about singing with her siblings. Always having a song in her heart she grew up to release that gift to those around her.
This is a very complex woman, being only 23 years old she speaks with the wisdom at times of a soul that has traveled the world. In one moment she is this star that you see on stage, in the next she is your kid sister, your best friend, a mentor, cool girlfriend, or the girl sitting at the cool kids’ table. In her own mind, she is a Daughter, a Sister, an Aunt, A Musician, A Songwriter, A Friend, and a lover of music.
I had to get some more information on this complex woman so I trapped her into a “Quick Fire Question and Answer Session”. Ashley AE Elim is SINGLE, people! But if you are a musician thinking about throwing your name in the hat, you may want to think twice. She isn’t excluding anybody based on that factor she would rather be with someone who isn’t dealing with the same ups and downs as she in the World of Music.
“It could possibly be difficult to have someone who doesn’t have anything going on in their career, support you in yours when things are going great, and when they have things going great for them, you just feel like you want to be up there also.” Ashley “AE” Elim.
She wants someone that has just enough going on to keep them happy and busy but not too much that when she is free she can’t spend time with that person. All this being said, though she isn’t running from a relationship she isn’t actively searching for one either.
AE’s thoughts on the business of music is a little bit unorthodox as well when compared to how the industry would have you believe all artists act and portray themselves. You won’t be seeing this Afro-sporting dynamo removing any clothing or singing about something she doesn’t want to sing about just to get a record deal, make money, or gain fame. That is not why she is in this.
“…the goal is to touch as many people as I can with my music… You can’t say you love music and put the money first, it’s impossible.” – Ashley “AE” Elim
Music is the purest form of human expression in the chestnut colored eyes filled with the rhythmic passion of this Soulful Powerhouse. She has not and will not disrespect the music by changing who she is just to sell records.
Things are going wonderfully for AE she has a great following on social media and her music on SoundCloud is becoming some of the favorites of people around the world. I’m blessed to have been able to do this piece and I know that she has a bright future ahead of her and she has the drive, determination, and integrity to take this path and succeed where many have failed before her.
Keep your eye on this young lady, she has so many things in store for us! She will do great in this business and I hope to see her giving her acceptance speech on a Grammy stage in the future!