Late last year we heard rumors that Pharrell had signed a new artist. For a while we were all confused about who it could be, until eventually it was revealed that the artist was none other than youtube sensation Maxine Ashley. We caught up with Maxine so she could introduce herself and explain to the fans what to expect from the newest Star Trak signee!
TheNeptunes.Org: Maxine, for those who don’t know about you, can you give us a quick bio?
Maxine Ashley: I’m a weird 17 year old girl that sings and writes music to try and bring some happiness to the world.
TNO: How did you first get into singing?
MA: I’ve been singing ever since I saw the hospital light but no one really took me serious until one day my parents picked me up real late from school (thanks mom and dad) and found me singing on stage in the auditorium in front all the teachers and staff.
TNO: What were your influences?
MA: My family. I was spoiled when it came to music. I grew up around a real musical family so anything they did I would just try to imitate and make it my own.
TNO: I heard that your mother is also a singer, is that true? and if so did that play a big part in you choosing this as your career?
MA: HELLS YEA!! I remember watching her rehearse and I would always be like “CAN I SING ON STAGE WITH YOU!!” I would listen to her songs and imitate the track on the piano.
TNO: Last summer you were featured on Alex Gaudino’s hit single “I’m In Love (I Wanna Do it)” How did that collaboration happen?
MA: I was working with a producer at the time in the UK (Tim Powell) and he told me that some guy named Alex Gaudino was looking for a featured artist to be on one of his tracks and he thought it would be good for me. So of course I was like “Okay” and then baddaBOOM I’m In Love was born.
TNO: In the UK the track made it to #1 in the dance Charts, and was a hit all over the rest of europe. How do you feel about that?
MA: AH FREAKING AMAZING! It feels so good to know that my voice is actually being heard by millions. Just thinking that I could make someone feel happy for just 3 minutes makes me FREAKING happy
TNO: Did you get a chance to go over and see peoples reactions to the song?
MA: Not really. Half of the time I never saw day light because I was always in the studio and/or writing. I was a bat in London lol. Just recently I got a video from a classroom in Poland where they sang my song word by word and video taped themselves it was MIND BLOWING!!!!!
Alex Gaudino & Maxine Ashley – I’m In Love
TNO: You do a lot of videos on Youtube, it seems a lot of artists are using it to connect with their fans lately. How much of a part has Youtube played in your career and relationship with your fans?
MA: Youtube is home. That’s where I was discovered, That’s where I became more confident in my voice, that’s what helped me come out of my shell and that’s where I learned to work harder for what I want. I would spend my whole summer writing songs and making videos because I was SO determined to get noticed and to be heard. So yea youtube is a huge part of who I am. Youtube is what helped me be me.
TNO: And what are the positives and negatives of the public seeing you on youtube?
MA: Positives: Meeting people from all over the world, Connecting and interacting with people, being able to be yourself and the power to block “weirdo, creepy, stalker” people. Negatives: Weirdo, creepy stalker people
TNO: What do you think about all the crazy fake accounts that have been popping up pretending to be you?
MA: It’s weird.
TNO: Do you want to clarify which accounts are official?
MA: YES PLEASEEEEEEEE!!! LOL
TNO: You used to work with Xenomania as part of a girl group. How was that experience? and why did it fall through?
MA: I was signed as a soloist then asked to join a group. The experience was great! I was given a better opportunity and its were I am now.
TNO: So, you recently got signed to Star Trak. It’s all a little mysterious. Can you fill us all in on how that came about?
MA: I was called just days after arriving from the UK, and told Pharrell wanted to meet me and talk music. I have always been a big fan and was almost in disbelief. We met and automatically clicked, almost like I’ve known him all my life! A couple months later I was signed to Star Trak through Interscope. One of the best days of my life.
TNO: How was it meeting Pharrell for the first time?
MA: It was unreal. When it was happening mentally it wasn’t happening lol. He is such an inspirational man! Every time he’s around I just want to work 102938120 times harder!!
TNO: What did he say to you?
MA: The very first thing he said to me was “Hi” Lol. He was talking about how much he loved my voice and how he was a fan and in my head i was just like “He’s a fan of me?!!!!! I’M A FAN OF HIM!!” It was just unreal!
TNO: What kind of music can we expect from you?
MA: Something I like to call “Grimy Melodic Pop”, Grimy meaning Urban, Melodic meaning soulful and Pop meaning very Diverse. I want my music to appeal to anyone and everyone.
TNO: What’s it like working with The Neptunes?
MA: Inspirational!!! I always get amazed watching them work. There like super human robots when it comes to music
TNO: How much work have you done with them? and are they doing your whole album?
MA: I’ve done so many tracks I can’t honestly say how much but lots ;), No.
TNO: Which other producers have you been working with? and how much input have you had into the song writing process?
MA: I haven’t worked with anyone else yet. But I have a list of producers who I am and would love to be working with. When it comes to the song writing I love writing it myself but any input and/or help is fine with me 2 heads are better than one.
TNO: Being from New York, working with Pharrell & Chad, having Crazy hair, collaborating on dance tracks… it’s easy to compare you with Kelis in her early days. How do you feel about that comparison?
MA: I don’t see it but pshhhh it’s fine with me lol.
TNO: Do you have a single coming out soon?
MA: We’re in the process of creating banging material for the album so when a single drops we’re prepared for anything. It’s going to be hard as hell to pick the first single EVERY SONG IS SO GOOD!
TNO: What else can we expect from you in the near future?
MA: Expect me to leave my musical markings all over the the tree of music. Lol. More music, more art, more fun, more sounds, Pushing myself harder and harder everyday and maybe even blue hair. Lol. Expect the unexpected.
TNO: Anything else you’d like to say to fans, new and old?
MA: Dear fans, Thank you so much for helping me climb and reaching what I never thought before was ever reachable. I appreciate every single one of you whether you’ve been supporting me since youtube or just hopped on the Max train. We’re all in this together because with out you guys I’m just a weird girl from the Bronx with half pink hair that sings to a camera. Thanks LET’S KEEP BANGING!!
Click Here to get more Information about Maxine.
Maxine – Halo (Beyoncé Cover)