We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Toman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, I started my songwriting business after experiencing a lot of let downs and disappointment in this field. I took a negative feeling and turned it into something positive. I’ve been a singer my entire life, songwriting came later on. I believe songwriting was a gift from God that I found later on in life. I was always a singer, from as early as a I can remember I was singing all the time. Songwriting was something I fell into, something that came to me. I took my pain and turned it into something beautiful through my lyrics. Fast forward to 2019, I wrote a song for Chaka Khan where I was in the music video with her, I got to sit on a panel at South by Southwest Music Festival during a Q&A where the video was premiered. After that experience I had a lot of “almost” situations. I was told certain songs would be for A-list writers that didn’t quite happen. I was frustrated with false promises and decided to start my own business. I realized there are individuals all over the world who could use my services, so I did just that. In the span of one year, I started my own songwriting business where I offer songwriting/co-writing/ consultations/vocal production & arranging and vocal coaching. Navigating this industry is tough, and I want to make it easier for upcoming artists who want to release music and bring those records to life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The story is still unwritten as Natasha Beddingfield once said. It’s been a journey- a lyric from one of my own lyrics “journey” one of my favorite unreleased records produced by Grammy award winning Luney Tunez and one of my favorite producers I’ve worked with. My story is complex, I’m still on the journey, but it’s a beautiful one with many ups and downs.
I definitely would not describe the journey as “easy.” I started in musical theatre as a kid at Theatre Under
The Stars (T.U.T.S) went to college in Nashville and pursued country music but it wasn’t until 2013 that I believe I really found myself and was walking in my purpose. I give a lot of thanks to Mathew Knowles for believing in me in a time when I really didn’t know how to believe in myself. I entered a contest at the House of Dereon judged by Knowles and others and ended up making it to the finals. Fast forward, I started pursuing my own artistry and went to every single open mic, performed every night and made sure the city of Houston knew my name. I must have done the job right because I was awarded Houston Press Best New Artist in 2017. I owe my own city of Houston a lot of thanks for believing in me as well. Fast forward to today,
I’ve written for Chaka Khan, Disney and Lifetime TV network. I started my own business last year offering my songwriting services /co-writing /vocal arranging & production to aspiring artists. It’s been quite the journey. I want to grow clientele and continue working with amazing people and creating great music. And of course continue releasing my own music.
I really want to be remembered by being an honest story teller. I want to take my pain and things in my life that may have felt messy and turn it into something beautiful. I want to walk away knowing I was always honest with my truth. Which is a big reason I believe my destiny is to use my voice and pen collectively to share my truth. It’s honestly all I could ever ask for and
I’m grateful I’m walking in my purpose.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow! So many! The best brunch spot in my opinion is definitely cyclone Anaya’s, preferably the midtown location. The bottomless mimosas are amazing and the salsa is pretty great too. Hearsay Gastro & Lounge on Travis St is also great for brunch and also dinner. Henke & Pilot is one of my favorite bars for happy hour or a night out with friends. They also have one of the most amazing open mics on Tuesday, check it out if you’re a singer or musician. I think cha-chos is the best “hole in the wall” for inexpensive/delicious Mexican food. The quesadillas and queso are top notch and you can’t go wrong the margaritas!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh wow. So many. First and foremost, my vocal coach of 15 + years Charles Dotson. He paved the way for my career and helped me tremendously in my life during a time I needed someone like him. I was 15 and knew I had this gift but wasn’t sure exactly how to use it. His coaching was so much more than the technique itself. His coaching helped me with my own struggles. He was my life coach. Weather he knows it or not. He was my friend, my mentor and singing coach.
Aside from Charles, I would say my parents just for believing in me. Believing in my gift my entire life. Without them, I’m not sure I would be where I am today.
To be honest, the people in this field who let me down or disappointed me or didn’t believe in me actually helped me the most. I used to need the validation from others to see my own gift and now I realize the more people didn’t recognize it, it helped me recognize it within myself. All along I had the magic inside, I just needed to figure that out for myself. So looking back, I’m grateful for the negative experiences and negative people who came my way, because it made me dig deeper and find the beauty within.
Linkedin: Ashley Toman
Youtube: Ashley Toman Music