Ashley Cooke is my newest musical obsession, ever since hearing ‘it’s been a year’’ on TikTok I've been hooked! I am personally always looking for a dose of new-age country, especially when it's a badass female artist, and that's exactly what you’ll find diving into Ashley’s debut album, ‘shot in the dark.’ I was lucky enough to get to chat with Ashley Cooke all about the record, I hope you all enjoy!
Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for talking with me! I want to dive into all things regarding ‘shot in the dark’ but first, could you describe your sound and the message you want to convey with your music to any of my readers that might be first time listeners?
I really hope shot in the dark is helping listeners understand who I am as an artist and as a human. All 24 tracks on the album give my fans a better look into my personal life and journey so far. I hope people listening for the first time enjoy my music and the stories I am telling as something they can relate to as someone in their twenties looking to navigate life and love just like I am.
Where did the album title ‘Shot In The Dark’ come from? Did the song come first?
The song “shot in the dark” came first. It actually came about when I was at a writing retreat with Emily Weisband, Jordan Minton and Corey Crowder. We were discussing how so much of launching a music career, particularly while working to gain listeners on TikTok, can be so volatile, and truly a “shot in the dark.” We immediately knew that would be the title of the song we were working on perfecting. It felt fitting for the album title because I am truly putting my personal work into the hands of fans and listeners and it can truly be a shot in the dark.
When you are choosing which songs to release pre-album launch what goes into making those decisions? How do you know when a song can stand alone?
Choosing the songs to release pre-album launch was definitely a challenging but exciting process. With 24 songs on the album, we had to make some tough decisions. Ultimately, it was about selecting the tracks that felt the most “me.” The songs that made the cut are the ones I felt would stand out on their own and give listeners a taste of what to expect from the entire album.
Releasing your debut album is a huge deal! What are the emotions leading up to this career highlight? Is there mostly nerves? Mostly excitement? A little bit of both?
Releasing my debut album has been an incredibly emotional journey. It's a huge milestone in my career, and I'm filled with both nerves and excitement. I've put so much of myself into these songs, and it's nerve-wracking to see how people will react, especially since it's my first album. But at the same time, I'm overjoyed that my music is finally reaching the hands and hearts of my fans. Now that the album is out, the excitement is taking over, and I can't wait to see how everyone responds to it. It’s so fun reading DM’s, comments, and talking to fans at shows and hearing what their personal favorite is!
When you look at the track-list for ‘Shot In The Dark’ is there a specific track that stands out as one you’re especially proud of the writing on? One that has always really stood out?
Out of all the tracks on the album, "next to you" holds a special place in my heart. I wrote it right after my Grand Ole Opry debut, and it was inspired by all the incredible things happening in my life at that time. It made me realize that the people supporting me on this journey are what truly matter and have gotten me to where I am today. It's a song that reflects the deep gratitude I have for my incredible support system.
And speaking of writing! I saw that Emily Weisband co-wrote on this record! I have always been obsessed with the way she conveys emotion! What has that partnership been like?
Emily is incredible! I really look up to her as a songwriter – the way she can go into a writing room and be exactly what the room needs is commendable. If someone is already on a really cool melody, Emily is already on to thinking about lyrics. If someone is onto a lyric, she thinks of a melody that can go with it. She’s a lyrical genius and I’m so grateful to have had her play such a big role in my debut album.
‘moving on with grace’ has been in my head ever since I heard a clip on TikTok, so I already have an idea of what song i’ll be the most excited to hear live, but is there a specific song that you can’t wait to see play out on stage?
I love ‘moving on with grace’ and it means so much that you do too! I really can’t wait to sing so many of my songs on stage, it means so much when fans are engaged and singing back to me. I am really excited to play ‘state i’m in’ for fans live. It really showcases where I am at in my life and journey as an artist, and how I have come to accept that and fully embrace the stage of life I’m in that I am so grateful for.
When you look back on music you grew up with if you had to throw a cover of a track you loved back then on this record with it remaining cohesive, what would that cover be?
This is a tough one! It would probably have to be “House that built me” by Miranda Lambert - the first time I heard it, it crushed me, and still hits you right in the gut to this day. Growing up, I moved all over the US for my dad’s job - I actually lived in 19 homes before I turned 18! It was tough moving from place to place, but at the end of the day I knew I always had my family.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers to look out for from you as the year comes to a close?
Thank you so much! You can stream ‘shot in the dark’ everywhere you get your music. We have an exciting music video out with one of my favorite collaborations on the EP, Nate Smith, in “see you around.” I will also be on tour starting August 23rd! Follow along with me on social media to see what city I am coming to near you – I can’t wait to see everyone singing along in person so soon!
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