Ashley Anderson, sophomore commercial performance major, balances school and writing and recording her own independent music released her debut single in the spring of her freshman year, earning thousands of streams under the name The Roommate.
Anderson was inspired with name The Roommate by her roommate Belle Fuller.
“Every time I would be introduced to someone she knows, which is just about every day, they would call me Belle’s roommate,” Anderson said. “Then it translated to something deeper—we all are unknown by someone and we all are searching for our own identities in different things.”
Anderson’s roommate Belle Fuller, sophomore liberal studies major, said Anderson is one of the most talented people who she knows.
“Her love for creativity is so inspiring and encourages me every day,” Fuller said. “It was such a privilege watching her make her song. Her passion for music and her emotion that she puts in her music is so genuine.”
Anderson however, was not raised in a musical household or with many musical friends. She said she always had a love for singing but because she was shy when she was younger, she did not truly start singing until she was 14, and when she joined a church where she started to learn to sing and play guitar on the worship band.
“I did not realize I wanted to go the route of releasing my own music until I came to Cal Baptist,” Anderson said. “It was a sort of awakening for me. I realized I wanted to be totally immersed in the music industry.”
Anderson took a music entrepreneurship class with adjunct professor Katrina Frye, founder and CEO of Mischief Managed, a business development company for artists and creatives. She pushed her students to release a song before the end of the semester. She helped the students with marketing and getting started on their own brand, but the music and recording was completely the students’ responsibility.
“I have some really great friends in the music program, and I called upon them to help me out with the mixing and mastering and more production side of the song because I am still new to that side of music as well as some instrumentation on the song,” Anderson said.
Anderson released her debut single “Colorful Clothes” in April last spring and within a few months it gained thousands of streams. Anderson originally wrote the single on piano and her two friends Greyson Berzansky and Noah Fickel helped her make the song what it is now, bringing other instruments as well as mixing and mastering the track.
Anderson said this process was scary and required her to be vulnerable. In the process, she said she realized that making and recording music is her main career choice for her future and came to the humbling realization that she could not do everything herself and it is OK to ask for help, especially from people who care about you.
Noah Fickel, sophomore commercial performance major, and producer of “Colorful Clothes,” said he has loved working with Anderson.
“Ashley is a great person as well as a songwriter, and it was super cool to make a song with her. She’s got a fresh, new and catchy style to her music and I hope to do more work with her in the future,” Fickel said.
Anderson’s style of music is alternative with influences of folk, with listeners comparing her to names such as Kacey Musgraves and Maggie Rogers. She plans to go toward a more folky direction in the future.
“My goal for my brand is to capture what life and feeling things are actually like and to be honest and vulnerable with my emotions, but also how great and beautiful that can be and how complex each of us are as individuals,” Anderson said. “Ultimately, I want to be true and honest with my natural self and express myself and encourage others to do the same.”
Anderson’s focus is currently on learning more about the production, recording and audio engineering side of music in hopes to be able to write, record, produce and engineer all of her music herself in the future. She is also working on a four-song EP to release by the end of this upcoming spring.
“Ashley has natural-born talent, with a sublime undertone of humility,” Frye said. “Her band The Roommate is a marriage between Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile and The Lumineers. Her first single “Colorful Clothes” was an introduction to what is just beginning to be unlocked. Her melodic voice and thoughtful hooks make you feel at home even if you are a thousand miles away. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.”
Anderson said she deeply appreciates all the love and support she has been shown by people who have been listening and encouraging her, especially her friends and professors who helped her get to where she is today.
You can listen to her song “Colorful Clothes” on all streaming platforms and be on the lookout for new music and updates from The Roommate.