This 22-year-old R&B artist makes music from her farm in Hawaii and wouldn’t have it any other way
Born and bred in Hawaii, Ashley Lilinoe, or Ash, is anything but conventional. The 22-year-old R&B artist lives on a farm with her girlfriend, where she enjoys being surrounded by abundant sun and water and gets to “eat colors.”
When asked about the mainstream music industry? You can have it. She makes music for everyone’s ears and is simply content being able to create sounds she loves for others and live her life in peace.
Even her music making process itself evades all convention: rather than listening to other artists for inspiration, Ash listens to hymns and the natural sounds she hears around her.
She creates her music on the basis of her relationship with her physical environment: she nurtures the Earth around her, and it nurtures her right back. It’s this reciprocal relationship that inspires her sound. Her name, “Ash”, was born of the idea that “what remains the same when all is set to flame.” Hence, the concept of rebirth is also a common thread within her music.
Ash’s upcoming single, “Naked,” is about traveling through areas of dark and light, a journey wherein your soul is completely vulnerable to anything and everything. The artist’s spirit is also particularly stripped down, down to Earth, and “naked,” if we do say so ourselves. Whether or not Ash intends it to, this spirit is certainly something that makes her stand out.
We talked to the artist about her unique lifestyle, her main philosophies, and how she fell into music. Check out the exclusive interview and photos below!
What’s it like living in Hawaii?
To live in Hawaii is to live anywhere, it is your connection to your spirit and the spirit of the island. It is home, it is warmth, it is nourishing, and it is healing.
It can also be a modern American product, busy, city, over population and reliant on imported foods and well, imported everything. Hawaii was completely self-sufficient at one point in time, creating an abundance of food and unlimited resources for over millions of natives at a point in time.
That is the Hawaii I like to live in.
More specifically: what’s it like living on a farm?
This is connected to the philosophy of my life in Hawaii; to live in a garden is my connection to the body of the Earth.
It is my purpose, my pleasure and highest honor to protect our mother, our everything; to love her, care for her, be and play with what magic you may create upon her — it is simply the greatest physical gesture of honoring my own body as the most precious temple I have ever been in. I am ever learning, growing and expanding, everyday, in the most beautifully powerful way, in the garden.
Do you ever feel the pressure to conform to a more conventional lifestyle and adhere to the music industry’s “scene”?
I understand that this exists for many, and I am in a way still being confronted with this sort of pressure, which is definitely not pleasurous or fulfilling to me.
These words, conform, conventional, adhere to a scene: I perceive this as feeling a deep sadness and constant struggle and reminded of when I was in and finished high school. Lost, still finding ground and a sense of what life is just by trying to keep busy; this kept me a numb state of conventional conformity.
I send love to that past self and can say with a gentle heart, that my life is filled with much richness and magic for such a conditional reality to exist.
Tell us about how your relationship with nature and the physical world has influenced you as a person and an artist.
I am here on this planet, with everyone.
We are all here on earth, at this time, experiencing the storyline of our bodies living in their own world, intermingling with the network of every body and every story that has ever existed here on earth.
It is all so complex and difficult to use words on this planet, and it is so much more enjoyable to relax and feel, to be silent and see what you may choose to be because you can be and be anything— to see how it all unravels and unfolds effortlessly….genuinely, kindly, abundantly, but really…
Earth is really fucking crazy and dense and you go through the shit, the death of being born pure, to being raised blind, being hurt, hurting others, being signed to the dark side, feeling the shit of the world when you can barely handle your own shit and the worse is when you actually awaken and realize that you gotta go through your own shit to actually give and shit and then the healing journey beings, from that point on it will not end.
Eventually life with begins and it will get lighter, and more beautiful. Sifting it down to what will matter the most: Love.
How did you get the name “Ash”?
I am ever being reminded that that is my name; it’s interesting, like saying your name out-loud to yourself, “who’s that?” try it.
There are many ways Ash came to be:
I started off as Ashley, and in retrospect, I have always felt more of a closeness to when others felt comfortable enough to naturally shorten, or nick name; to call me Ash was to have a closer bond to who I was in my personal experience.
The more in depth, the deeper, as the meaning of how Ash is coming to be is the evolution process and growth of me; it is very much a reflection of the journey of my fluid fiery nature: the end of an era and the birth of a new age.
Do you have advice for people who are looking to get more in touch with their physical surroundings but don’t necessarily live in a nature-rich environment?
You always have a choice. And naturally, you will choose. Nature is everything and everywhere, if you care, you will see her everywhere. And if you dare, you will be there.
How long have you wanted to be a musician?
I cannot say that I have ever wanted to be one. Our purpose is the greatest mystery of life, it just happens.
Have you managed to find your place in the industry?
What is the industry and who is running it? I have never met them and I have no idea of what is going on.
I’d much rather be covered in soil, eating colors, and soaked in water and sunshine.
What role has love played in your life?
I believe that which is love and life are one in the same. Without love, there is no life. With life, is to be, with love.
What is “Lover Friend” about?
“Lover Friend” is a story about my journey as a love being.
Finding myself through the reflection of others and falling in love with that which was me.
It is all healing, sensual, spiritual, kind and it is all about friendship being the strongest foundation that you can ever share with any other being.
What inspired “Naked?”
“Naked” was birthed and created with my friend and co-writer, Hollis.
The melody is the foundation and from there is another facet and interpretation of going through a journey of darkness to then dancing with the dark and the light. A course of vulnerability leaves the soul completely raw, shape-shited, and naked.
How would you describe your sound in three words?
Raw, kind, love.
I always wonder this with musical artists: do you often listen to music similar to your own?
It’s been a long time where I don’t really listen to music, or at least press play on a digital recorded track.
I do listen to the hymns and rhythms of the Earth and her children as my everyday track, I also have media files to play and on a rare occasion enjoy memorable oldies, mantras/meditation and instrumental tracks. I suppose I’ve never heard music like mine just yet: I think thats the “point.”
To whom do you want your songs to speak?
To whose hearts and ears that want to listen.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO ASH’S NEWEST SINGLE, “LOVER FRIEND.”