Exclusive: Ashton Shepherd Interview

Every year there is a group of new artists trying for country stardom and one of 2008's brightest newcomers is Ashton Shepherd.

It’s not often that a record label will go from the signing of an artist to releasing that artist’s album within one year but MCA Records did just that with their latest singing sensation Ashton Shepherd. Married and the mother of a child by the age of 21 Ashton kindly sat down and answered questions about how she got where she is, her opinions on country music, the internet and fans.

Roughstock: How does it feel to have your debut album out in the market?

Ashton Shepherd: It is truly amazing. It is a dream come true.

R: How would you describe your sound?

AS: I think it is mostly a traditional country sound; with a little bluegrass and a tiny touch of modern country.

R: As a songwriter what is your favorite type of song to write?

AS: I prefer to write sad songs or ballads.

R: Why?

AS: It just seems like I can put more (emotion) into them.

R: You seem to be a true ‘overnight success.’ What do you think has made your career take off so fast with MCA?

AS: A variety of things. One reason is because I had so many of my own original songs. MCA also believed in me and where I come from so much that they wanted to get things going as quickly as they could to capture who I am. Making the record in the studio was a fast process also. God has led me in the right direction through out all of this. Thankfully to Him, there have been no wrong turns to have to back out of.

R:Do you think the success of artists like Taylor Swift and Gretchen Wilson has helped newer artists like yourself?

AS: Yes. I believe it has. It shows just how very possible it is for newcomers to be successful.

There are many fans out there in the world who love the sound of the fiddles and steel guitar. It seems that these fans see you as ‘hope’ that Nashville hasn’t gone completely pop. What would you say to these fans? I would say that I appreciate that comment very much. And I hope that my music keeps pleasing them in that way.

R: On the other side of the coin there are fans that may say you’re ‘too country.’ What would your response be to them?

AS: I don't believe there is a "too country". Not when somebody is just being who they are. Too is a word for something that is overdone. And when you are country you just are.

R: If you could follow the career path of one country artist who would it be and why?

AS: I would say Alan Jackson. He started his career out with a bang and has held strong for so many years and is such a great writer.

R: Why do you think country music has some of the most loyal fans in the world?

AS: I believe it's because country music singers sing songs about the country music fans.

R: What are your thoughts on the internet and how it relates to country music?

AS: I think it's a great tool. I don't know how relatable it is to country music because I still know a ton of people like myself who still have dial up and don't know much about computers. LOL.

R: “Sounds So Good” seems to have songs on there for everyone. What are your favorite two tracks on the record? Why?

AS: "The Pickin' Shed" because it is written about a real true place and true feelings and true events that really happened. "Sounds So Good" because it relays the message of what we do here where we live and it's relatable to people.

R: Buddy Cannon has produced many great artists over the years. What was it like to be in the studio with such a legendary producer?

AS: It was unreal. It was awesome to get to work with Buddy.

R: Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. Any final thoughts that you’d like to say to our readers?

AS: I would like to say "Thanks" for taking the time to read this and I hope that it will make you want to go out and buy my album!