What happens when a pop star who's hell-bent on empowering others with her sassy spark gets out of a toxic relationship? Ashley Zarah puts forth an explanation with "My Boyfriend," a fierce anti-venomous relationship single that finds her on the tail end of a breakup from a notoriously unpleasant S.O. —and is all the more fortunate for it. She gladly accepts the new packaged clean commodity that affords the clever song its title, achieved with an effortless rasp. At the same time, she's busy fantasizing about not being with that flunk for another waking moment.
Intricate like a brilliantly decorated painting, "My Boyfriend" packs some of the more potent punches in her catalog. Still, as an upbeat single that finds joy in exorcising sandbags from out of your life, it captures a most delicate flavor. "But if you didn't get that, I'll send a snap chat" she scoffs on the break-down section before a straightforward shot: "Just to remind you that you're not my boyfriend!" Ashley Zarah is essentially unequaled in discovering the better half in heartbreak and breakup. At the same time, she adds a satiric smirk with an edible touch of class to her musical unravellings this year with this track.
Hey there, Ashley! Welcome to BuzzMusic! We're absolutely elated to be featuring your single "My Boyfriend!” Can you tell us a bit about how you made such an empowering song out of a breakup? What was that process like?
Thanks for having me! It’s so humbling to be featured on BuzzMusic. For sure! I think ultimately, I was just exhausted about the situation – exhausted to the point that I was just laughing at it. I was much smarter than the decisions I was making, and I was tolerating this person because I didn’t want to ruin the “fun summer” that I was hell-bent on having. But once this thing broke off for good, it was like a cap exploded off a shaken champagne bottle and all the things I’d been holding in and wanting to say just came pouring out. This song seemed to be festering from the moment him and I had our first conversation, but it was waiting for me to be brutally honest. I’m a very empathetic person, oftentimes to a fault. So once I put this guy’s reputation aside, it allowed the ridiculous truth (but a truth nonetheless) to come out. Then the whole song was built around the sardonic tone of it – from the bubbly guitar riff to these triumphant ska-horns, just elevating the sarcasm. And the truth turned out to rhyme really well.
Who has had the most consistent influence on your life musically to date? Can you express some of the impacts this individual has had in terms of your ability to convey through music?
There are so many incredible writers and artists that I’ve learned from, but I’ve got to say Coldplay. I grew up with them in the 90s and have watched their messages take very eclectic musical forms yet still always impact me. Their emotional use of harmony, their autonomy from the genre, their ability to capture truth through figurative language but also simplicity… I feel like I’ve learned almost every angle of music from them because they don’t place boundaries on their art. I really learned how different feelings require different explanations, and what is important when performing those words to an audience. To this day, they’re the only ones that pull me back to Earth when I’m feeling scattered.
What are some of your ultimate aims to accomplish this year? Have you set your heart out of when you'll be releasing a new album?
I feel like artists are playing a bit of a guessing game with the industry right now, considering the condition that the world is in, but I think whatever goals we’ve had continue to remain. For instance, my main focus this whole year has been my upcoming project, the Better Mess – LP. I’ve always been deeply involved with every aspect of my work: writing the storyboards for the videos, designing the merch, making sure the music is authentic to its message – and now I’m watching it all come together for the LP release. “My Boyfriend” is the first single coming off the LP, introducing everyone to the Better Mess story. I can’t announce an exact date, but be on the lookout end of September…
It was great having you here with us! Do you plan on collaborating with anyone in the future? What would be your dream collaboration?
I started collaborating with a few new artists/producers this year that I feel so blessed to have created with. I’m delighted to say that “Let Go” with Electronic/Dubstep producer D-SAB will be out in August; another collaboration with Italian producer Sound Surfer later in the year; and a few bangers with a great friend of mine, PlotTwist. He’s leaned his beautiful mind to more than one song on the LP as well!
It would be an absolute dream to collaborate with BANKS and Jesse Rutherford/The Neighbourhood. Both of them combined is pretty much who I strive to be.
What will you be working on next Ashley?
After “My Boyfriend,” I’ll be focusing on the Better Mess experience, namely the visuals that’ll accompany several of the tracks. Since people are indoors, and rightly so, I want to make sure that audiences can still experience Better Mess in a medium that they can engage with from home. Live shows deepen people’s personal connections to songs. These visuals will provide that deeper discovery that’s found when looking at art through a different, and sometimes even more revealing, lens.