When we meet Ashton Laurence,he looked composed and ready to serenade us . He did arrive in the accompany of a guitarist who also played as he sang along. He heard the following responses to the questions we paused to him.
QN: Kindly describe yourself…
Am a singer, songwriter and a percussionist.
QN: When did you start singing?
I started at a tender age. I was used to singing hymns. Professionally, I began composing music in 2010.
QN: How did you discover your musical talent?
I did discover my talent back then when I was young and I began singing hymns in church.
QN: How was your life growing up?
I kept writing songs in all schools that I went through. Sauti Academy came along. I was in Kenya Boys Choir after High School and auditioned for Sauti Academy.
QN: What was your experience at the Kenya Boys Choir?
I grew up listening to pop music. I learnt how to incorporate African Music into my sound and style. I did also learn on how to articulate words whenever I did songs. Kenya Boys Choir also helped me to learn on how to perform and dance at the same time on stage.
QN: How many songs have you written and what inspires your writing?
I have written about 400 songs in my notebooks. I got inspirations from everything from life, nature and daily happenings. One of my notable song is “Gun Shots.” (Sighs). Haya, Hedgehog and Captain are my other songs.
QN: Why are most of your songs emotional?
The funny thing everyone who knows me know that am cheerful but when it comes to music I just find myself writing the songs. I just express my anger towards certain feelings.
QN: Any big names that has come from Sauti Academy?
I just feel Sauti Academy is a hub of talent. Ben Soul, Kaskazini, Mordekai from Haart The Band,Ojuan’g, Jerai, Sero and Ashton (as he laughs) among others.
QN: Who is your role model currently in the industry?
Demi Lovato, Beyoncé Knowles, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert are the international acts that I look up to. Haart the Band, Sauti Sol , Blinky Bill.
QN: Have you encountered any challenges in your journey of music?
Definitely. One of the challenge is Kenyans haven’t soured into live music but they are accepting it. I reach places where my creativity gets watered down and I may find myself repeating. This is one of the challenges. I need to get off the hook.
QN: How have overcome challenges in your journey of music?
Am planning to collaborate to ensure I get a better buffet. In music, you can’t work alone. A single song can have many songwriters to ensure the output is awesome.
I have learnt to work with others especially the band and at this point, I have found the right team.
QN: What differentiates you from other musicians?
My sound genre style is neo-fusion. I do mix a variety of fusions in one song. We aren’t unique but how we sing them is what makes us different.
QN: What is your experience in performing live music?
My experience is quite different feel everywhere. I’ve performed to an audience that wants to listen to other sounds but ironically they accepted my music. Last year, Varcity Piknik was my highlight and I got a back up of a full of band.
QN: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 yrs?
I would be having a family in five years (as he laughs). Musically, my brand would be established.
QN: What’s the difference between those who studied music and those who just woke up with the talent?
I believe music education is very important. A talent is good though if you want to know how to arrange your music and perform on stage, write songs and marketing your music, you ought to go school. Talent can’t sell you fully, you need other strategies.
QN: What’s your view on deejays role in playing KE-Music?
There’s a lot of good music but the deejays do mixes of what the audience want to hear to make their sales. I will advice Kenyan musicians to package their music in such a way that the deejays and radio presenters can’t resist your music.
QN: Whose Music do you think is compelling currently in the music industry?
Blinky Bil and Muthoni the Drummer Queen. People may not know them but they have good music.
QN: What advice would you give people who would love to venture in music?
I would advise them to have short-term goals. They need to know who their target audience is and keep writing songs even though you won’t produce them immediately. Be consistent in what you do!
QN: Is music what you do, what you are looking for or what you are?
Music is what I do, what am looking for and what I am.
QN: Anything people don’t know about you?
Yes, I am writer and I do a lot of drawing.
QN: How can people reach you in case they want to invite you to their events?
They can access me through social media- @Eyeliner Monarch on Instagram and Facebook page.
QN: Parting Shot, please…
Music is coming and it won’t stop coming. My latest upcoming event will be at Alliance Francaise. Am calling on my fans to come through.
You can click the link below to watch his performance