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Ashland Craft talks 'The Voice' -- Why I chose Miley Cyrus when Blake Shelton seemed like a no-brainer


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/04/2017 

Ashland Craft, a 21-year-old from Piedmont SC, advanced on The Voice's thirteenth season after singing an edgy rendition of "You Are My Sunshine."

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Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Miley Cyrus all pressed their buttons and turned their chairs around for Ashland during her Blind Audition. Miley revealed that while Blake is the "king of country," it needs a queen -- and it could be Ashland. Miley also said she'd like to see her transform into a "punk rock Dolly Parton."

Adam called Ashland "a powerful country, rock and roll singer" who would likely "transcend the necessity of going on Blake's team," adding that he'd "work double time" to make sure he'd never let her down on The Voice. Blake, however, warned Ashland that it wasn't time to experiment on the show, as she belonged on his team.

Ashland was "dead set" on choosing Blake as her coach initially, but after hearing from the panel, she joined "Team Miley."

During a recent conference call with reporters, Ashland talked about her The Voice experience so far. Below is what she had to say.

In your bio package, you said you've been watching The Voice since Season 1. Could you tell me why now is the right time for you to audition?

Ashland Craft: Yes, absolutely. So like I said, I've been watching The Voice since Season 1 and I've always loved the show, but I never really felt that I was exactly ready.

So now that I'm 21 and I'm really trying to figure out my career path, I felt it was the right decision to just take a leap of faith and try out. Clearly that landed me a spot on the show, and I'm just excited to finally get to do what I've always wanted to do.

Talk to me about your song choice. Why did you pick "You Are My Sunshine?"

Ashland Craft: The song I chose, "You are My Sunshine," was actually in the style of Chris and Morgane Stapleton, and I've always loved the song since they released it.

And I especially loved it because it kind of incorporated everything I wanted to be as an artist. I am clearly a soulful country artist, but I also have rock influences, and I felt like this was the perfect song to show every aspect of my voice. And I would say that it did exactly that.

What was your thinking behind choosing Miley's team over Blake's team given he's an established country singer and works with the majority of country artists on The Voice?

Ashland Craft: So originally, coming into this competition, I was so headstrong on picking Blake just for that simple reason, that he is such a well-known country music artist. But I also came into this competition with an open mind that if it did come down to it, I would be open to listening to everybody's little sales pitch or whatever you'd like to call it.

And for some reason, it's just when Miley told me how old she was -- because I didn't realize she was around the same age as me -- when she told me how old she was and she told me how she moved, how it felt to be in this industry at such a young age, it really kind of stuck out to me and honestly made me feel a little bit more comfortable with the whole process.

Because coming into this, I was extremely nervous. I have only ever sang in bars and small little restaurants and stuff. So this was something huge for me, and for her to give me that sense of comfort that I would get through this with ease was like having her as a coach, and it made me feel a whole lot better.

So it was a very, very hard decision for me, because like I said, I was so headstrong that I was going to choose Blake. I feel like when your gut tells you something, you should always go with it, and that's exactly what I did.

Do you write original music? And if so, how would you describe it?

Ashland Craft: So original music is actually something that I've honestly been struggling with for a while. I started trying to write when I was around 14-years-old, I believe, and when you're that age, you don't really understand a whole lot about life. 

So at that time, it was more just heartbreak music and stuff like that. But as I've grown, I would definitely say my music now is more along the lines of basically like the honky-tonk music that you would hear. I would love to bring back the older music in a new way.

So I would like to say lyrically, my songs are very similar to '90s country, but sound-wise, it's more relatable to today's generation.  So it's a good mixture of both, and I like to write about life experiences.

I've written a song about my life working as a house-band singer and I've written about just being a southern girl -- just feel good music -- and I feel like it's something that everybody can kind of relate to on some different kind of level. So I'm still currently working on trying to get more original music out there.

Have you released any original music yet? Are you planning to soon?

Ashland Craft: I have not released anything yet, but yes, I plan on releasing hopefully an EP very soon.

To read more interviews with The Voice's thirteenth-season contestants, click here for Reality TV World's show page.



Ashland Craft/Twitter

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